Charter 'must keep business out of politics'

national July 13, 2014 00:00

By The Sunday Nation

5,638 Viewed

Constitutional Court judge Jaran also wants agency to oversee politicians and state officials

The new Constitution should separate business from politics while an independent agency should be set up to oversee politicians and government officials, Constitutional Court judge and former deputy chief drafter of the 2007 Constitution Jaran Pukditanakul told Nation Multimedia Group in an exclusive interview recently.
“Business and politics must be separated, as politics is dedicated to the country’s interests while business people still want profits. Therefore, they should not be involved in politics,” he said.
He said politics involves controlling power and formulating rules for the country’s administration so that all the players, including businesses and interest groups, follow the rules and maintain the balance while at the same time leading the country to the best position. 
“It’s not like that in our country. We see our style of liberalism as ‘take all you can grab’. Our style of capitalism and liberalism, therefore, allows people with lots of money, who are from business sector only and only the big players, dominate politics. We can see that from political parties’ leaders. The political parties whose owners are not billionaires are poor parties,” he said.
Jaran threw his support behind an “iron rule” that there must not even be nominees in politics.
To ensure that, he suggested that political parties must not receive donations from any one source while businesses could donate money to political parties within a limit. Businesses also should not select anyone to be in the party’s executive, he added. 
“The new constitution should state clearly that state power and business must be definitely separated,” he said. “Not only politicians but also the bureaucratic system, the administrative, legislative and judicial branches, the judges and executives of the constitutional independent agencies including the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. 
“You are working for society and the country, therefore are you free from business connections? If you are not satisfied with the wealth you have, you should not come into politics,” he said. 
Jaran said the penalty for violating that rule should be disqualification from political involvement, including political positions and movement, plus criminal penalties.
Moreover, Jaran said the section on morality and ethics in the charter should be upgraded and a system set up properly so it can really be implemented. 
The enforcement mechanism, initiating of investigation and the penalties must be clearly realised as a norm in society, he said.
“An independent agency should be established to look over the morality and ethics [of political office holders and government officials] section. It must be identified in the new constitution and the organic laws. The 2007 Constitution says the Ombudsmen are in charge of morality and ethics but in reality the Ombudsmen have said they could not [complete their tasks] as they did not have the power to punish anybody by themselves,” Jaran said.
A third proposal by Jaran is that the justice system and corruption fighting must be reformed. 
He said the measures and process must be reformed regularly to keep up with the changing world. 
“All related agencies, including police, attorneys, the courts, lawyers, correction and probation agencies as well as law schools, must be reformed. In the past, we did not produce ‘people of justice’ who took care of ensuring and protecting justice in the country but we turned out people to make a living according to their respective professions,” he said. 

Most view