A high-profile activist has launched a petition to review the junta’s order, made through Article 44 of the interim charter, that granted multiple legal exemptions to the controversial Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project.
Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for Protection of the Thai Constitution, submitted a petition to the Ombudsman’s Office on Monday for the Constitutional and Administrative courts to review the order, saying the legal exemptions would affect Thailand’s sovereignty.
According to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the order is aimed at removing existing legal obstacles to speed up the Bt170-billion project. The first route will run from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Srisuwan said some of the NCPO measures would run counter to Article 52 of the interim charter, resulting in a loss of Thai sovereignty. And at least seven Thai laws would be negatively affected due to the legal exemptions, especially with regard to public procurement and competitive bidding.
The junta’s order also violated the interim charter that empowers the NCPO to exercise its sweeping powers only in national security matters, Srisuwan said.
He believed the high-speed railway project with China should be regarded as an agreement with a foreign country subject to approval by the National Legislative Assembly.
These issues should stir the Constitutional Court and Administrative Court to review the NCPO’s order, which was equivalent to an act of law, the activist said.
Srisuwan said he would continue to fight the project if a contract for the project was signed, by petitioning the National Counter-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Comptroller-General to look into the issues.