Education Minister Teerakiat takes leave following his controversial remarks in London

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin opted out of the cabinet meeting today (Feb 13) following his return from a visit to England this morning.

Instead, he went straight to the Education Ministry and refused to talk to the media anxious to ask him about the controversial remarks about Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon’s “borrowed” expensive wristwatches he made to Thai students and Thai businessmen at a party held the Thai embassy in London last Friday night (Feb 9) and his subsequent interview with the BBC Thai.

Talking about the conscience of Thai politicians and administrators, Dr Teerakiat reportedly told the Thai students that Thai politicians and administrators would never follow in the footstep of British Conservative MP Michael Bates who resigned from the House of Lords in January because he felt ashamed of being late at a parliamentary meeting.

“In Thailand, having 25 wristwatches is still OK,” BBC Thai quoted the minister as saying.

In an interview with the BBC Thai, the education minister reportedly said that if he was exposed for just a single wristwatch, he would have already resigned.

He said he was not afraid to speak out. “Why afraid? Will I be fired?,” he was quoted to have said, adding that even his own children think differently from him.

It was reported that Dr Teerakiat had asked for a business leave today. He spent about an hour at the Education Ministry and left at about 10 am.

However, it was reported that he would meet with the press after a private meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this afternoon at the Government House.