The man who brought about the downfall of Sira’s career as an MP, former National Police Commissioner General Sereepisuth Temeeyaves says that it may not have had to happen at all if he was less abrasive and more friendly towards colleagues and other officials during his tenure as an MP and Chairman the House of Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee.
The wife of deposed Bangkok MP and anti-corruption crusader Sira Jenjaka is putting herself forward in the by-election to replace her husband on behalf of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party due to be held on January 30th next. Saranrat Jenjaka is campaigning on her husband’s track record of service to the people of District 9 in Bangkok and says the local people already miss his presence in the House of Representatives on their behalf. Mr Sira was removed by the Constitutional Court on December 22nd after a petition was submitted by the leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party, Police General Sereepisuth Temeeyaves pointing out that the former MP had been convicted of fraud in Pathum Thani in 1995.
On New Year’s Day the wife of former MP Sira Jenjaka, whose status as an MP was nullified by the Constitutional Court on December 22nd last, Mrs Saranrat Jenjaka, was busy in the Laksi area of Bangkok campaigning for her candidacy in the by-election to replace her husband due at the end of January.
She was making no secret of her appeal to the local electorate on the matter.
While monks gathered with local traders and supporters, Mrs Saranrat told the media that she often, in the past, visited District 9 of Laksi-Chatuchak to do merit and assist the monks or for constituency work on behalf of her husband who has represented the area since being elected as an MP in the March 2019 General Election up until December 22nd last.
Sira’s wife praises the people of District 9 in Bangkok as she explained her campaign on New Year’s Day
‘I have been talking to people for the past three years working here. They continue to fight shoulder to shoulder, no matter how difficult the situation is. Today, brothers and sisters in the area are complaining in unison that they miss MP Sira and want him to continue his duties. Because I have been here for almost 20 years, no one has been as sincere and takes care of the villagers without ever denying them. As a congressman named Sira, therefore, we are confident that he will definitely receive an opportunity from his brothers to continue working for them. Because choosing Saranrat is like getting the money back,’ said Mrs Saranrat as she explained the ticket she is campaigning for.
Mrs Saranrat is running as a candidate for the ruling Palang Pracharat Party in the former constituency of her husband but is offering the electorate the chance to see her husband who made a name for himself in the House of Representatives as a campaigner against corruption as the high profile chairman of the House Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee, return to service albeit on an ex-officio basis.
Sira was removed from office on December 22nd after the Constitutional Court accepted a petition on January 21st last alleging a prior conviction for fraud
Mr Sira was removed from office by the Constitutional Court last month after it accepted and then reviewed a petition lodged on January 21st last by the leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party, Police General Sereepisuth Temeeyaves.
The 73-year-old party leader and former police officer brought the case under Section 98 (10) of the 2017 Constitution which means that a citizen may not stand as an MP if he or she has been convicted of a crime before a Thai court.
This followed the revelation that Mr Sira had been convicted of fraud before a court in Pathum Thani in 1995 and sentenced to eight months imprisonment which was halved to four months on the basis that he had entered a guilty plea.
Mr Sira subsequently argued that he had not spent time in prison concerning the matter and did not consider that he had been punished or convicted before the court.
The court handed down its decision on December 22nd but had, before this, declined to order the politician’s suspension as a constituency MP.
Made a name for himself as a fiery and fierce anti-corruption campaigner and committee chairman
After his election as an MP in 2019 for the ruling Palang Pracharat Party, Sira Jenjaka went on to become Chairman of the House of Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee and emerged as a fierce and fiery critic of government officialdom at all levels in relation to corruption.
That year, he caused some controversy when he travelled to Phuket to inspect an illegally constructed resort on the island.
During the trip, the MP became embroiled in a standoff with a local senior police officer.
At one point during a hot-tempered exchange when the police officer questioned his behaviour, Mr Sira replied: ‘This is my character. I don’t care. I am working for the benefit of the country.’
Led the charge as the public outcry grew louder in 2020 over the Red Bull heir investigation fiasco and scandal following the 2012 death of a policeman
In 2020, the crusading MP took a leading role in channelling public outrage over the Red Bull heir fiasco and did not mince words with witnesses called on behalf of the Royal Thai Police as he demanded accountability in a scandal that continues to raise disturbing questions in the public mind.
In August 2020, a former Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman and campaigner, Vicha Mahakun, delivered a report to the Prime Minister’s Office on the affair which confirmed both the certainty that corruption was involved in the botched prosecution of Red Bull scion Vorayuth Yoovidhya or ‘Boss’ in 2012 and the scale of what went wrong.
Mr Vorayuth was involved in a hit and run incident in 2012 in which an on-duty policeman was killed in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok.
Threatened to call cabinet ministers before his committee in April this year as the Delta virus outbreak was linked to Thong Lor nightlife venues
In April this year, Mr Sira was again front and centre in exposing the origin of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the most lethal outbreak to date which is thought to have emerged from a supercluster linked with high-end nightlife venues in the Thong Lor area of Bangkok which was also linked to a number of cabinet ministers.
The MP threatened to bring ministers before his committee if necessary to clarify their roles.
On the case of the Ferrari Joe outrage in August
Mr Sira showed his capacity to detect the pulse of the people again this August when he travelled to Nakhon Sawan province to speak to the father of the victim in the Ferrari Joe outrage when a high flying police colonel appeared to have murdered a drug suspect in custody.
Colonel Thitisan Utthanaphon or Ferrari Joe, the station chief at Nakhon Sawan appeared on a video clip using several plastic bags to suffocate 24-year-old Jeerapong Thanapat who was arrested earlier on August 5th 2021 in relation to drug offences.
Mr Sira met the troubled father of the victim, Mr Navin Thanapat, who had earlier been persuaded by the senior policeman to support his version of events before the video became public and he knew he was being lied to.
At the time, Mr Sira used the occasion to criticise his own government’s Police Reform Act, moving at a snail’s pace through parliament, which he described as not comprehensive enough particularly to prevent the abuse of suspects such as that seen in Nakhon Sawan.
Former police chief and leader of the Thai Liberal Party, another anti-corruption activist, ultimately blamed Mr Sira’s abrasive style for his downfall
After the Constitutional Court verdict on December 22nd last, the man responsible for the downfall of Mr Sira’s parliamentary career, Police General Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, at the end of a statement calling for the criminal prosecution of the Bangkok based Palang Pracharat Party former member of the House of Representatives, admitted it would not have come about but for Mr Sira’s abrasive style particularly the former House Chairman’s attitude towards the Royal Thai Police.
The Seri Ruam Thai Party or Thai Liberal Party returned 10 MPs to the House of Representatives in 2019.
Police General Sereepisuth is a former National Police Commissioner serving from February 2007 until April 2008.
He was appointed by the Council for National Security, the military junta which seized power in September 2006 as part of its efforts to reform the Royal Thai Police.
He replaced Police General Kowit Wattana who was appointed by ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2004.
Accuser known also for his campaign against former Minister Thamanat Prompow over drug trafficking
Police General Sereepisuth, a highly respected figure, is also known for his trenchant pursuit and criticism of Palang Pracharat Party Secretary-general Thamanat Prompow formerly Deputy Minister of Agriculture who was cleared by the Constitutional Court in similar circumstances this year despite having served a prison sentence in Australia for drug trafficking.
Thamanat gets the all-clear from the Constitutional Court in relation to Australian drug allegations
Police General Sereepisuth described Mr Sira in the House of Representatives as ‘swarming all over the place’ and failing to cooperate with other members.
He also took issue with the Palang Pracharat Party MP’s treatment of former senior police officers.
MPs removal would not have happened if he was more friendly admitted Police General Sereepisuth in December after the court’s decision was handed down
‘It’s not difficult for me to find information about Mr Sira. Only if, you know yourself, he was friendly with this guy or friendly to the police, friendly to me then this probably would not have happened,’ the Seri Ruam Thai Party leader told reporters after the court’s clear decision in December.
Police General Sereepisuth has now called on Thailand’s powerful Election Commission to initiate a case against the former MP for making a false declaration when he submitted his candidacy in 2019 under the kingdom’s strict electoral laws which could see Mr Sira jailed for up to 10 years and suspended from politics for a further 20 years.
Calls for payments and expenses to be recovered
In addition, the former police chief is insisting that all monies including salaries and expenses paid should be recovered from the former MP who should never have been elected in the first place.
The by-election for the seat is due to take place on January 30th next with many parties in the running to take Mr Jenjaka’s place in the House. Under the law, the election had to be held by February 4th at the latest.
People must decide says Mrs Saranrat
In Bangkok’s 9th district on New Year’s Day, Mrs Saranrat acknowledged the right of the people of Don Mueang and Laksi to choose their MP but she expressed hope that the people will remember the sincere and strenuous efforts of her husband to represent them over the last 3 years.
She said she was urging volunteers to come out and help her campaign on behalf of the people and said her decision to run for election was only because people in the district had asked her to do it.