ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Thai junta to consider public opinion in reform
Publication Date : 05-06-2014
The working group on reform under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will focus on gathering the opinions from people all over the country, including those from rival camps.
"Two months will be spent on hearing views from the public, and we hope to get a lot of them. We have some ideas on reform already. Our team will summarise what we get and present it to the NCPO for its consideration," General Surasak Kanchanarat, the acting permanent secretary of the Defence Ministry and head of the group, said yesterday after the group's first meeting at the ministry.
Reform was necessary for Thailand after repeated attempts to instigate violence among people with different ideologies, he said.
Prayuth, while chairing an NCPO meeting with state-agency heads yesterday, expressed concern about the rising cost of living. He saw the need to cap the prices of daily necessities in order to help affected people.
The NCPO seized power on May 22. The coup leader, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, cited the need to stop the political violence and reconcile the conflicting parties.
"We believe that the NCPO's reform format will be accepted by the public because the ideas will come from the people in general," Surasak said.
A law would be drafted based on the ideas gathered during the public hearings, which would be hosted by the Office of the Defence Ministry's Permanent Secretary, said Surasak, whose panel's full name is "Working Group for National Reforms to Return Happiness to People in the Country".
"Political reform is the most difficult component and needs the cooperation of all parties. The NCPO director only ordered that any initiatives should be taken to make Thais comply with the law," he said.
Political reform will make politics more acceptable to all stakeholders. And reform of the natural resources sector will give everyone equal access to national resources. People's reform will make citizens abide by the law and legal reform will emphasise law enforcement leading to fair legal treatment.
Surasak presented a four-stage plan to restore public happiness and the national reform roadmap of the NCPO. The four stages are holding public hearings, reporting the findings from those forums to the Internal Security Operations Command, which handles reconciliation for national reform, analysing people's opinions and submitting proposals to the NCPO.
National reconciliation campaigns were launched in Bangkok and the provinces, including Chiang Rai and Lamphun. In the capital, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Second Cavalry Division and Metropolitan Police organised many activities at Victory Monument to foster public well-being.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva asked the junta to reveal details of its national reconciliation plan. He voiced support for the NCPO's plan to promote reconciliation from the local level up to the national level.
Seven public-sector organisations unveiled seven measures to tackle corruption in Thailand. The group, which also suggested some legal changes to help curb graft, would later submit its proposal to the NCPO, said Pramon Sutivong, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand.
He noted that the NCPO's roadmap did not mention any steps to tackle the chronic corruption problem.
Among the measures suggested by the coalition are strictly enforcing the law against corruption to prevent bribe-taking, developing effective mechanisms to punish corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, encouraging more public participation in the fight against graft and promoting an anti-corruption culture, especially among the younger generations.