Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Get Adobe Flash player

Meechai seeks PM meet on charter job

Posted by pakin On September - 29 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Legal expert Meechai Ruchupan wants to meet for talks with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha before deciding whether he will chair the new Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Monday.

Mr Wissanu said Mr Meechai will discuss the matter with Gen Prayut after the prime minister returns from the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

Mr Wissanu earlier admitted he had asked Mr Meechai to head the new charter drafting panel. Media speculation about Mr Meechai taking the panel’s helm has been rife.

Mr Meechai did not set any conditions for his participation, Mr Wissanu said.

He only wanted to ask the premier who will also be appointed to sit on the 21-member charter drafting committee.

Gen Prayut, in his capacity as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief, has 30 days to pick new charter drafters after the National Reform Council (NRC) on Sept 6 rejected the draft charter written by the now-defunct charter drafting committee led by Borwornsak Uwanno.

The NRC itself was also dissolved.

Mr Wissanu said the charter drafting process is a major task and charter drafters will have to race against time to finish their jobs. In light of this, it is natural for anyone who might chair a committee to want to know about the other members’ background so they can work as a team, Mr Wissanu said.

If Mr Meechai accepts the invitation to head the drafting committee, he can also propose some charter drafting candidates for Gen Prayut to consider, the deputy prime minister said.

Mr Wissanu said three or four other people have also been approached to chair the drafting panel if Mr Meechai declines the offer. Mr Wissanu refused to disclose who they are.

Mr Wissanu said there are about 30 potential panel members, adding the list of potential candidates will be cut down to 21 before submission to the prime minister for a decision.

Mr Wissanu also said the chairman of the new drafting charter panel will not necessarily be a legal expert.

Anyone who has made an honest living can be a candidate for the position, he said.

He added the interim charter also prevents the charter drafters from holding any political office for two years after finishing their job, to prevent any conflict of interest.

When asked if Mr Meechai, who is also an NCPO member, can help shorten the charter-drafting process, now set at six months, if appointed to lead the drafting panel, Mr Wissanu only said the role of NCPO members is different from that of charter-drafting panel members. His experience in working for the junta is regarded as an asset, as it could speed up the process.

Meanwhile, National Legislative Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said Monday he knew nothing about a report the NCPO would approach Gen Jira Komutpong, a former NRC member and a former Judge Advocate-General, to chair the new CDC if Mr Meechai turned down the offer.

Mr Pornpetch also said it is up to the prime minister to decide whether to appoint NLA members to sit on the new CDC.

Trust the junta not to hog power, says Prayut

Posted by pakin On March - 12 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

WIssanu InsIsts substantIal changes can stIll be made to the new charter

PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday asked for public trust in his government and reiterated that members of the junta would not stay in power after the new constitution comes into effect.

The junta and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday acknowledged the first draft of the new constitution completed by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).

He urged the public to trust the “driver of the Thailand car.”

“We have replaced the brakes and other spare parts,” he said.

Prayut was speaking at the Army Club on the sidelines of yesterday’s meeting of the five post-coup bodies – the NCPO, the Cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), the National Reform Council (NRC) and the CDC.

‘Gear up for next elections’

He said yesterday’s meeting was aimed at reporting the progress of the five bodies in their efforts to solve the country’s problems.

He urged the relevant agencies to gear up for the next general election after the new constitution comes into effect.

He called on all parties not to cause conflicts for the country and said that his government was working on ensuring social justice.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said changes can still be made to the new constitution.

The National Reform Council (NRC) will next month deliberate the final draft before referring it to the government.

“More changes can still be made at that time, even on the major principles of the constitution,” he said.

Wissanu, a legal expert, said any of the five junta-appointed agencies could even make substantial changes to the draft charter, such as deleting or adding entire sections.

Wissanu, who also attended the meeting, was responding to concerns that members of the junta might attempt to stay in power after the new constitution comes into effect.

The meeting was attended by key leaders of the five bodies, including Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, NLA President Phornpetch Wichitcholchai, NRC President Thienchay Kiranandana, and CDC Chairman Borwornsak Uwanno.

It was the third meeting of the five organisations, which came into existence following the coup last May.

Security was tight at the meeting, with a joint force of police and soldiers guarding the area around Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road.

POLICE released on bail the four leaders of a group that gathered on Saturday night to mark last year’s February 2 general election. They had been arrested for organising the rally by more than 300 people in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

Three of them were re-|leased after depositing Bt20,000 in cash each as a guarantee. Another was released after a lawyer gua-ranteed him. They were identified as Sirawait Serithiwat, Phansak Srithep, Wannakiart Chusuwan and Anon |Nampha.

The rally breached the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) rule 7/2014, which prohibits any gathering of more than five people.

The incident took place on Valentine’s Day at the Pathumwan intersection – |in front of the Bangkok |Art and Cultural Centre – |when the Resistant Citizen group gathered to commemorate last year’s February 2 general election, which was nullified.

The gathering was under the theme “My Beloved Election” and was joined by around 300 people. It also attracted some attention from passers-by in the vicinity.

The group began the event by imitating the action of going to the polls, saying they were preparing for the upcoming election, which is due to be held next year.

The four leaders will be summoned for an investigation on March 16 before the case is filed with the Military Court.

NCPO ‘needs to reveal motive for bombings’

Posted by pakin On February - 3 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Private sector calls for True picture as incident occurred during martial law

The private sector yesterday urged the government to reveal the real reason for Sunday’s bombing of the skybridge to the upscale Siam Paragon shopping complex for fear that investor confidence and tourism could be seriously set back if the attack was repeated.

“Nothing is clear at the moment regarding the motive of the culprit and we will have to wait and see what the motive for such an action is,” said Stanley Kang, chairman of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce.

The minor explosion from the homemade device would not frighten foreign investors or ruin investment sentiment, but the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has a duty to clearly explain to the international community what is going on.

“But since the incident happened when martial law is still in effect, the NCPO must clearly clarify and explain to foreigners about the current political situation and the ongoing investigation to maintain visitors’ confidence,” he said.

Whenever there is such an incident in Thailand, the tourism industry is the first to feel the impact. It was fortunate that no one was seriously hurt, he said, but the government still has to explain what is really going on.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said he believed the government would be able to control the situation.

Supant, who made the remark on the sidelines of the 23rd meeting of the Thailand-Japan Joint Trade and Economic Committee, said he is still waiting to see how things pan out and will follow developments very closely.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand, said he thought the government could control the situation. The private sector will keep watching the situation.

He said he was still waiting to see what was the real cause of the incident. First it was said to be a transformer exploding but then it was reported to be a bombing, so he is still waiting to see what the real cause was.

If this kind of thing happens again, it might impact the investment climate. At the moment, the investment climate is not affected and one could say the political situation in Thailand is calm, he said.

Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said that with the cause of the bomb blast in Bangkok unclear, it would only raise concerns among Thais for a short time.

The disturbance would only affect foreign tourists for a short spell if nothing happens again, while Thais may be more wary about travelling in crowded areas.

However, if the incident is repeated, it would destroy consumer confidence and create greater uncertainty about the political situation, which would weigh on the country’s growth in the long run, he said.

No specific comment

Siam Piwat Co, operator of Siam Paragon, said in a statement that the incident occurred on Sunday night outside the mall area, but management does not want to make any specific comment about the issue.

“Our security measures have been normally intensified, and we will maintain such intensive measures continuously,” said the statement.

The shopping mall will be open as usual and the situation will be evaluated day by day, it said.

Anat Arbhabhirama, spokesman for Bangkok Mass Transit System, said the company has put a high priority on security over the past 15 years of operating the Skytrain, and intensive security measures have been launched to ensure that all passengers will be safe during their transport by the BTS system.

“From a business point of view, we don’t have any serious concerns as passengers are still confident in our mass transit system and the strict security measures we have implemented all the time,” he said.

The Skytrain serves 700,000-750,000 passengers a day during the week and 600,000-650,000 passengers a day on weekends.

The security measures include checks by officials of all bags and baggage handled by passengers, metal detectors at all entrances and more than 1,000 closed-circuit television cameras throughout the Skytrain system.