BANGKOK: Thailand´s jailed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra could act as adviser to the new government, the ruling party said on Friday, a move likely to raise hackles among the billionaire´s critics.
The 74-year-old, ousted by a military coup in 2006, returned to the kingdom last month and was immediately jailed for historic convictions for graft and abuse of power. New Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, of Thaksin´s Pheu Thai party, said earlier this week that the two-time premier could still serve his country.
Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said on Friday he supported the idea of having Thaksin as a government advisor. “It would be a good thing because he has six years of experience in the government. It would benefit the country,” he told reporters at the government house.
Another party source confirmed to AFP that the new coalition government led by Pheu Thai plans to consult Thaksin, once he is freed from prison. Srettha said Thaksin -- whose “Thaksinomics” policies in the early 2000s saw rapid growth -- could help as the government seeks to boost the economy by five percent a year. “I believe he has value to add to the government and to the people of Thailand,” Srettha told Bloomberg TV in an interview on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.