The amnesty bill proposed by Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema might be pulled from parliament's agenda amid concern about protests, a parliamentary source said on Friday.
The bill is currently scheduled for House deliberation on Aug 7 and 8, as agreed earlier by government whips. The new parliamentary session is scheduled to start on Aug 1.
However, parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont told Senate speaker Nikom Waiyarachpanich that he had yet to include the Worachai bill on the agenda, the source said.
Mr Somsak is concerned that anger could erupt among opponents of the bill, which critics say would allow fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return to Thailand a free man.
PM Yingluck Shinawatra heads to the Defence Council meeting yesterday. APICHART JINAKUL
Mr Nikom has proposed a new plan and asked all senators to stand by for a possible joint parliamentary sitting on Aug 6-7. It would deal with draft amendments to Section 111 of the constitution regarding the origin of senators.
The governing Pheu Thai party is pushing to expand the Senate to 200 members from 150 and for all 200 senators to be elected. As well, spouses and children of MPs would not be barred from running.
Government whips earlier had reached an agreement that Mr Worachai's amnesty bill would be first on the parliamentary agenda. It would be followed by the budget bill for fiscal year 2014, and then the bill to approve borrowing of 2 trillion baht for megaprojects.
There are six amnesty and national reconciliation bill drafts awaiting parliamentary deliberation.
The first one, sponsored by Matubhum Party leader Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, would grant amnesty to protesters, their leaders and state security officers handling political protests between 2005 and 2011.
Gen Sonthi's bill also aims to restore political rights to members of parliament who lost them as a result of party dissolution.
The second bill, backed by Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar, would grant amnesty to all political protesters during the same period and to the state security officers who handled the protests.
This bill, however, excludes those who face terrorism charges and protest leaders from amnesty coverage.
The third bill was proposed by MP Samart Kaewmeechai and has similar content to the first two. The three other bills were proposed by Niyom Worapanya, Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, and Mr Worachai, respectively.
The Senate speaker, meanwhile, said he strongly believed there would be no violence either inside or outside parliament during the deliberation of the amnesty bill on Aug 7.
He said he did not want those who were concerned about the bill to relax because it would have to go through three readings. When the bill reaches the House committee vetting it, it should be altered to the point where all sides could agree on it, he added.
One should never expect the bill to become a serious problem as it should simply be like any other item of legislation, Mr Nikom said.
"I believe the amnesty bill will bring about reconciliation, even though it won't be a hundred percent ... don't just think this draft law will only benefit the one who is far away," the Senate speaker said, apparently referring to Thaksin.
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Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth and Wassana Nanuam