August 05, 2014 01:00
By Chanikarn Phumhiran,
Activist's complaint says conflict of interest likely in choice of members
Activist Srisuwan Janya yesterday filed a complaint against the appointment of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), saying it was unconstitutional.
The complaint was delivered to the Office of the Ombudsman, which will forward it to the Constitutional Court if it is approved by the Office.
Srisuwan said the NLA members only included certain groups of people who are mainly relatives and associates of former generals.
They will receive better returns and welfare for their work in the NLA than normal public duty.
The NLA consists of mostly generals and retired generals, which was within the scope of conflict of interests, he said, mentioning names like Lt-General Preecha Chan-ocha, brother of junta chief Prayuth, who put together the NLA list, and former police chief General Patcharawat and Admiral Sitthawat, who are younger brothers of former Army chief and defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who used to be the boss of the junta chief.
Meanwhile, speculation was building that Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, a key adviser to the NCPO, was tipped to become NLA president.
Former senator Somchai Swangkarn said he believed former Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboon-lertchai would step aside if the NLA proposed military-backed Pornpetch as the candidate for NLA president.
The former senators in the NLA will not lobby for Surachai, as they are willing to cooperate and work as a team, he said.
Poor representation of women
Assistant Prof Suchada Thaweenit, a lecturer at Mahidol University’s Institute for Population and Social Research and president of the Sexuality Studies Association, expressed disappointment at the poor representation for women in the NLA.
In the 200-member body, only 12, or 5 per cent, are women. Suchada said she had hoped that as many as half would be women. What’s more, none are particularly knowledgeable about gender issues.
“They didn’t really care about the proportion [of women],” she said.
General Thawatchai Samutsakorn yesterday resigned from the NLA, saying he did not meet the qualifications.
Under the regulations, NLA members must not have belonged to a political party for three years. Thawatchai was once a member of the Chart Pattana Party and a chief of the Second Army Region.
Aziz Phitakkumpon, the Chula-ratchamontri, has officially withdrawn from the NLA. He said it conflicted with his role as the spiritual leader of the Islamic community in Thailand.
Today is the last day for registration of NLA members. As of yesterday, 191 members had signed in.