August 02, 2014 01:00
By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
Private sector gets assembly seats
Representatives from the business sector named on the National Legislative Assembly have begun promoting draft bills designed to facilitate “doing business”.
Key draft bills to be given priority for consideration relate to customs procedure, cross-border trade, telecommunications, information and technology, secured transactions and life insurance.
Some of the amended laws awaiting consideration include trade competition and the securities and exchange law.
“I will focus on trade laws that should be amended and implemented to facilitate the country’s business growth, as well as promote the country’s stability,” said Isara Vongkusolkit, who is among the some 10 business sector representatives on the NLA.
It is believed most business sector members have been appointed in accordance with what they represent in the sector. About 10 businesspersons have been appointed to the assembly.
They include Issara Vongkusolkit, chairman of Mitr Phol Sugar and chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, and Boontuck Wungcharoen, chairman of The Thai Bankers’ Association.
Poj Aramwatthananont, chairman of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, Suwannee Sirivejchapun, executive director of Colgate Palmolive (Thailand) and president of Thai Soap, Detergents and Personal Care Manufacturers’ Association, were also appointed.
Also named were three people who do not head a private organisation – including Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chief executive officer of Toshiba Thailand, and Prasert Bunsumpun, chairman of PTT Global Chemical Plc and a board member of PTT.
They were joined by Boonchai Chokwatana, chairman of Saha Pathanapibul.
Boonchai’s nephew Vathit Chokwatana, an executive overseeing the retail business of the family’s Saha Group, was recently made a member of the National Council for Peace and Order’s transport advisory board.
Another NLA member is Som Jarusripitak, a former commerce minister and banker who is an advisor to Boonsithi Chokwatana.
Supant said he aimed to propose and introduce legislation that would enhance the growth of industries and improve some of the outdated laws in order to foster domestic and foreign investment.
“The urgent issue concerning legal matters and the industry are the laws that govern customs procedure, foreign investments, and the problem of double-taxing,” he said.
Sompol Kiatpaiboon, chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and a NLA member, said there were many draft bills related to the life insurance and financial industry awaiting consideration as well as the amended securities and exchange law.
Boontuck said the secured-transaction draft bill should be considered urgently so it could help businesses get access to liquidity, especially small and medium enterprises.
First emerging in 1998, the bill was never passed for legislation.
Under the bill, businesses could receive loans with collateral covering movable property including goods inventory – buildings and machines.
Boonchai said Thailand had many problems that needed to be urgently solved and priority should be given to stimulating the economy.
He said even though confidence in the country had been restored, consumers’ spending power had not yet fully rebounded and that had resulted in an economic slowdown.
The government should further invest in the country's basic infrastructures by considering important and appropriate projects like double-track railways.
“Some laws and regulations should be amended by focusing on details,” Boonchai said.
Narongchai Akrasanee, former Commerce Minister , who is also an advisor to the NCPO on economic affairs, declined to comment on which draft bills should be considered urgently.