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Former PM seeks justice as she appears before NLA

Posted by pakin On January - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday said she has already been “impeached” three times.

The ousted former premier made the comment as she faced the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) during her impeachment proceedings in the case hearing filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. She is accused of dereliction of duty in the rice-pledging scheme that led to corruption and billions of baht in losses.

“I come here today to seek justice,” she said.

She added that she no longer holds any positions of which she can be stripped.

“The impeachment [against me] will not only affect me but also dim farmers’ hopes,” she told the NLA during the impeachment proceedings that could see her banned from politics for five years.

Five law students of Khon Kaen University on Wednesday greeted visiting Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha with anti-coup gesture before being escorted out of the hall.

Prayut, who was visiting Khon Kaen province to observe the drought situation, was speaking on the stage, when the three students showed no-coup gesture and tore off their shirts revealing black tshirts emblazoned with “No Coup”.

Prayut seemed unperturbed, saying, “it’s okay, they did not understand,” and suggesting they file their complaints with Damrongtham Centre, which has been set up to receive complaints from the public.

Before continuing his speech, Prayut asked the audience, “is there anybody else wanting to protest?”

The five were taken to an army camp for registration of their protest.

They are members of Dao Din group, an non-governmental organisation in the northeastern region.

Prayut will travel to Kalasin province this afternoon to review the drought situation there.

Deputy PM insists charter ‘not a script’

Posted by pakin On November - 6 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Public referendum not needed, says Wissanu

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam denied rumours Wednesday that charter drafters would draw up a new charter based on a “prepared script”.

“That is not true. The country has seen a number of charter drafting processes. And every time a process is about to begin, there will be speculation like this. There is no prepared draft. The process is being closely watched by the whole country,” he said.

Mr Wissanu said he did not consider a public referendum a necessary step in the writing and endorsing process.

Some believe that without a referendum the draft charter may not truly belong to the public and may in fact reflect the coup-makers’ agenda.

The deputy prime minister said a referendum is often cited in modern-day politics to justify “public participation”. He said it is more important to engage the people by calling on those representing various sectors to give their views rather than the public at large.

He also said the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) are expected to appoint a panel to monitor the work of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).

The panel will help the government and the NCPO, which are required by the interim charter to study the draft, he said.

The members of the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) led by Borwornsak Uwanno Wednesday took a vow to perform their duties with honesty and impartiality in the best interests of the people.

They made their vow as they paid their respects to the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram and the City Shrine.

After that they went to parliament for an unofficial meeting to get to know each other. Two CDC members did not attend as they were abroad. (Story continues below)

Mr Borwornsak called on the public and political parties to take part in the drafting process by forwarding their opinions to the CDC and an NRC committee on public participation.

He said the CDC members had made an initial agreement on division of work and how to complete its task.

Six deputies will be appointed and the working panels of the CDC will be divided into two groups. One will be involved in the drafting process and the other with the content, he said.

However, this is just a proposal and the details will be finalised at today’s official meeting. He said he did not mind if reporters sat in during CDC meetings but they would have to understand that some issues could not leave the room.

Also on Wednesday, charter drafters reaffirmed the public would not be left out of the charter drafting process. Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said public input would be gathered to ensure a draft charter, which is expected to take shape in April next year, reflects the views of the people.

He said the gathering of public opinions would go hand in hand with the drafting process due to the tight time-frame. He said the content of the constitution would be based partly on previous charters, especially the 1997 and 2007 versions and the current interim charter.

Mr Kamnoon said all 36 CDC members should make it clear when they are voicing personal opinions about the draft charter to avoid creating confusion. Their personal views could be misunderstood as the CDC’s proposals.

PM admits reform will face delays

Posted by pakin On October - 16 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

One-year time frame deemed unrealistic

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted Wednesday certain areas of reform might not be accomplished within a one-year time frame and have to be left for the next government to pursue.

The prime minister was addressing a question about the possibility that the third stage of the road map to democracy set by the National Council for Peace and Order would be extended.

“If they [the National Reform Council (NRC) members] fight and argue with each other and can’t conclude or agree on anything, do you think it [the next step] can proceed? An election will take place when there is a new charter and national reforms,” Gen Prayut said.

Under the military council’s road map toward democracy, a new constitution must be in place by October next year. During this one-year period, the NRC is required to draw up guidelines and proposals for reform in 11 areas.

“If the new charter is completed and reforms start to take shape, then we have our first step. It is impossible to accomplish all the tasks. Some areas take time to materialise. The next government will have to take over,” he said.

Gen Prayut did not elaborate on which areas are likely to cause delays but political observers believe reform of the political arena — which will involve the election and the formation of an elected government — will be the most challenging.

The premier also called on the media to stop pressuring him to give an answer on when an election will be called, saying the road map was set in place. He noted he is neither a member of the NRC nor part of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) which has yet to be set up.

“I’ve already talked all about this. Look at the road map. The question is, can they implement following the road map? I am not part of the NRC or the CDC,” he said.

Asked about a remark by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam that a general election may have to wait until early 2016, the prime minister said it would depend on when the charter is completed and it would take time to prepare for a poll.

NRC member and political scientist Sombat Thamrongthanyawong said it is too early to say which of the 11 required reform areas will be completed by the NRC and which will have to be implemented by the next government.

However, he said one of the NRC’s top tasks as required by the provisional charter is to offer suggestions to the CDC within 60 days from the date of its first meeting. The NRC is scheduled to convene on Tuesday.

He said the NRC will have to gather public opinions and submit them along with the NRC’s suggestions to the CDC.

“The tasks of political reform lie in the hands of the NRC. Giving recommendations to the CDC is one of them and the other involves proposing organic laws on elections, political parties and public independent agencies,” Mr Sombat said.

NRC member Anek Laothammatat said political reforms are likely to be completed within one year because they will have to be part of the new charter.

Other areas of reform, especially on the economy, education, corruption and good governance will take much longer to implement and materialise, he said.

“Making recommendations in every area within one year is what we are required to do. But I have to say they are unlikely to show results. The best approach is to make reforms dynamic,” Mr Anek said.

“We should have a good charter in a year. People across all sectors will be brought into the reform process. We should fix the flaws of all organisations as much as we can.”

Several NRC members played down Gen Prayut’s comment that the NRC should refrain from voicing their opinions in public and keep them for NRC meetings.

Manit Suksomjit, who is keen on media reforms, said NRC members should be able to voice their opinions as long they are useful to the public.

“The prime minister can say what he thinks. There is nothing to it. I think the NRC can express their views if they carry substance,” Mr Manit said.

However, NRC member Ticha na Nakhon said NRC members should not be barred from voicing opinions in public.

“The NRC members should not forget they are not elected by the people. So they have to encourage public input and bring them to the NRC,” she said.

She doubted national reforms would materialise within the limited time frame.