April 25, 2014 00:00
By Chanikarn Phumhiran
Former prime minister Chuan Leekpai has extended moral support to the Constitutional Court judges, calling on them to carry out their duty with righteousness and without fear of intimidation or being wavered by bribery at this critical political juncture.
He was speaking at an event titled “Political reform under the rule of law” to mark the Constitutional Court’s 16th anniversary.
“The present situation is not normal,” he said. “Stay true to your cause. Each situation is a test of your ideology and commitment.”
The Constitutional Court is about to issue a landmark verdict to decide the fate of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for the charter violation over the unlawful removal of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri.
The verdict may bring the country to the brink of civil strife, with political rival camps threatening mass protests in a show of force.
Chuan said 16 years of the Constitutional Court had proven the professionalism of the judges.
“But the judges and their families also face threats and intimidation that they had never faced before,’’ he said.
Chuan said the rule of law and good governance were what the country must highlight in political reform. “The cause of the 1997 economic crisis was that the country was run without good governance,” he said.
“The violence in the South is an example of how the ruler did not adhere to the rule of law.
“The summary execution of drug suspects is another similar example.’’
Dr Borwornsak Uwanno, secretary-general of King Prajadhipok’s Institute, stressed the need for the country to manage its interests and resources so that every citizen has equal access to the resources and then gradually replace populist policy with state welfare.
“The charter leaves loopholes that allow politicians to solicit votes from populist policies,’’ he said.
To improve the checks mechanism, he said, the lower House should remain elected but the upper House should be appointed professionals and the regulations that force MPs to come under a party must be scrapped to allow independent MPs.
The charter must be rewritten and the Constitutional Court must check the draft charter before the draft goes through a public referendum.
Borwornsak said the reform should initiate legislation on public rallies and restructure the justice system, starting with the police.
He said media reform was also needed given the country had “red, blue and yellow” media.
“We must stop the media that instigate violence or those that provoke a political divide,’’ he said.
He said the current Constitution had laid a good foundation but needed to have more tools to create strict law enforcement.
“The government itself must respect the law and conform to court verdicts, otherwise the country will plunge as a failed state. If the law is sacred, we do not need to have militia forces,’’ he said.