Thailand

Bฺฺanker tipped to be new finance minister

Predee Daochai, president of the Thai Bankers' Association and co-president of Kasikornbank, is tipped to become the new finance minister, according to Thai media. (Kasikornbank photo)
Predee Daochai, president of the Thai Bankers' Association and co-president of Kasikornbank, is tipped to become the new finance minister, according to Thai media. (Kasikornbank photo)

Thai Bankers' Association president Predee Daochai is tipped to be the next finance minister, according to Thai media.

The name was mentioned after the resignation of four ministers who make up the economic team of the cabinet led by Somkid Jatisripitak.

The 61-year-old banker has reportedly been advising the government on several issues, including the 1.9-trillion-baht borrowing decree for Covid-19 economic rehabilitation.

Mr Predee, who is also a co-president of Kasikornbank, graduated with law degrees from Thammasat University and a master's degree in law from the University of Illinois.

He joined Kasikornbank in 1982, working mainly in the legal and risk management field for the lender.

In October 2016, Mr Predee was appointed as a member of the National Legislative Assembly, an appointed lawmaking body created after the 2014 military coup, probably in his capacity as the president of the Thai Bankers’ Association.

In 2018, Mr Predee served as an adviser to the policy committee on the Eastern Economic Corridor, an ambitious connectivity and development project launched by the government to boost growth and investment in the East.

Thai media also reported the energy portfolio will likely go to Pailin Chuchottaworn, a former deputy transport minister in Gen Prayut’s previous cabinet and ex-CEO of oil-and-gas conglomerate PTT Plc.

Other advisers to the prime minister who may join the economic team could be Supattanapong Punmeechaow, a former CEO of PTTGC, a petrochemical arm of PTT; Karn Trakulhoon, a former Siam Cement president; and Boontuck Wangcharoen, a new Thai Airways International director and former TMB Bank president.

From the public sector, an official who works closely with the prime minister, Tossaporn Sirisamphan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, is also rumoured to join the new economic team.

In any case, it remains unclear whether the MPs of the core coalition party Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) would welcome the news, given the quota system used in allocating cabinet seats based on the number of MPs.

After the 2019 election, Gen Prayut, who is not a member of the PPRP even though he was its prime ministerial nominee, was believed to be given a quota for his own men, who are non-MPs. His quota was given to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Mr Somkid and his four men. 

Gen Prayut’s quota is part of the PPRP’s because the main coalition parties — Democrat and Bumjaithai — would not accept a cut on their ministerial quotas to accommodate Gen Prayut’s choices.

His quota has reportedly caused bitterness and rifts among several factions of PPRP’s MPs.

Gen Prawit’s increased role in the PPRP after he was elected the party’s leader is reportedly aimed at keeping potentially disgruntled MPs in line when a cabinet reshuffle comes over the next few weeks.

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