Thai parliament quarrel escalates in ‘Heil Hitler’ salute

Originally published at Siam Voices on May 3, 2012 

After last month’s public misbehavior involving a Thai MP peeking on a pornographic image on his phone (we reported), another crass misdemeanor played out for everybody to see in the Thai parliament. This time, a heated debate escalated in one MP giving the Hitler salute and screaming “Heil Hitler” at the top of his lungs on the House floor. [See vid below from 3 min mark]

On May 2, in yet another preliminary parliament session debating the allocation of a 99-strong committee to draft amendments to the constitution, the opposition are objecting the role of the House speaker in this process, as they accuse him to have the power to pre-select 22 non-MP committee candidates (such as academics and NGOs) before the parliament decides on them.

Late into the night after 14 grueling hours, House speaker Somsak Kiartsuranont was about to wrap up the session, only to be interrupted by MP Boonyod Sukthinthai of the opposition Democrat Party:

ผู้สื่อข่าวรายงานว่า อย่างไรก็ตามก่อนที่จะมีการลงมตินั้นเกิดความวุ่นวายเล็กน้อย เมื่อนายบุญยอด สุขถิ่นไทย ส.ส.บัญชีรายชื่อ พรรคประชาธิปัตย์ได้ยกมือประท้วงว่านายสมศักดิ์ พยายามรวบรัด แต่นายสมศักดิ์ก็ไม่อนุญาตพร้อมตัดบทให้สมาชิกได้ลงมติ ทำให้นายบุญยอดตะโกนเสียงดังก้องห้องประชุมว่าจะขอประท้วงจนกว่าประธานจะได้ยิน พร้อมกับตะโกนว่า“ประธานเผด็จการ ไฮ ฮิตเลอร์”* ซึ่งนายสมศักดิ์ยังตัดบทเช่นเดิมว่าตนไม่ได้ยินพร้อมสั่งให้ลงคะแนน

Reports say that before parliament was about to decide [on a proposal], a little bit of chaos ensued when MP Boonyod Sukthinthai of the Democrat Party raised his hand to protest House speaker Somsak’s hasty attempts to end [the session], but the latter refused to listen and proceeded to the voting, leading to Mr Boonyod yelling loudly that he will protest until the speaker will listen to him, as he then shouted “Heil Hitler, Mr Speaker of the dictatorship! Heil Hitler!”* – to which Mr Somsak still refuses to listen and requests the parliament to cast in their votes.

สภาลงมติ337ต่อ50 ผ่านมาตรา291/6“, Krungthep Turakij, May 2, 2012

As you can see clearly in the video above the shouting match started with the clearly annoyed Boonyod remarking that another five minutes to listen to his complaint won’t hurt, since the session has been going on all day. Ignored by the speaker, the Democrat’s tantrum ensues.

This arbitrary and erratic display of Godwin’s law evidently shows the still volatile political climate that is being maintained, if not even increased by the parliamentary infighting over amendments to the constitution, to which the opposition fears potential abuse of power by the government (and most of all a carte blanche for Thaksin). Nevertheless, it also shows an unacceptable behavior by our elected representatives, who think that any rough measures for this political discourse is legitimate.

*NOTE: It should be noted that I was translating that part directly from the news article. However, in the video itself it could not be heard was said before the “Heil Hitlers”!

h/t to a reader

Saksith Saiyasombut is a Thai blogger and journalist currently based in Hamburg, Germany. He can be followed on Twitter @Saksith and on Facebook here.