Fixing fears over NRC nominees

national August 18, 2014 01:00

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Some governors "not following rules," Prayuth to propose budget bill today

THE National Reform Council (NRC) selection process has been marred by fixing allegations at provincial level – with National Legislative Assembly (NLA) vice president Peerasak Porjit warning that the unfair selection process could lead to the reform effort failing.

Peerasak said yesterday he had been told some provincial governors had not followed selection-process procedures. 

For example, he said the Tak governor had instructed each of the five selection committee members to nominate one candidate each, while the Uttaradit governor had instructed selection committee members to nominate two candidates each. 
He said that was unfair to other people who had eyed a nomination. 
“I want to warn the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) that if the selection process is not fair, the NRC members would be just representatives of provincial governors and we may not get the truth of what is happening locally,” he said. 
“It is worrying that with such an unfair selection process, the NCPO will not be able to achieve reform.”
The NRC will spearhead national reform when it is formed shortly. Its main tasks will be to propose a reform framework to the NLA, the Cabinet and the NCPO, and give input to the Constitution Drafting Committee. The NRC will also approve the new charter.
The 250 NRC members will be selected by two methods. First, each of the 77 provincial committees nominates five candidates, one of who will be chosen by the NCPO. 
Second, legal entities nationwide nominate candidates for 11 selection committees to consider, with a shortlist of 50 candidates for each of 11 key areas of reform (550 in total).
The NCPO will select 77 provincial representatives and 173 representatives from the 11 selection committees.
Earlier, critics voiced concern over the 11 committees, which were appointed by the junta. They pointed to the fact that advisers to the ruling NCPO has been appointed to all of the committees in what was seen as a move to allow the junta to influence the NRC line-up.
King endorses NLA heads 
Deputy Democrat leader Nipit Intrasombat said it was likely the nominated candidates would be representatives of selection committee members in the provinces and as a result there would not be diversity. 
In a related development, His Majesty the King yesterday issued a Royal decree to endorse Pornpetch Wichitcholchai as NLA president and Surachai Liengboonlertchai and Peerasak as NLA vice presidents.
Also yesterday, Senate secretary general Norarat Pimsen, the acting NLA secretary general, told fellow members to attend a meeting today in which the 2015 budget bill is due to be debated. 
NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha will propose the bill as |acting prime minister, although the PM and Cabinet have yet to be appointed. The NLA is expected to vote on the PM on Thursday.
Two NLA panels – one for drafting meeting regulations and one to handle NLA affairs – are slated to be set up at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Phra Buddha Issara, the abbot of Wat Or Noi and a former People’s Democratic Reform Committee co-leader, said his temple would meet next week to discuss nominating NRC candidates for all 11 sectors earmarked for reforms.
He said he would like to continue his role of protecting the country’s interests and take part in the reform process but would not be a candidate. The abbot met Election Commission deputy secretary-general Boonyakiat Rakchartcharoen yesterday to inquire about the selection process. 
He feared that most people on the selection panel for the energy sector are former PTT board members. He felt if his temple nominated candidates for that sector, they would not be selected because he had led protests against PTT during “Bangkok Shutdown”.