'Seek opinions from NGOs, experts on govt projects'

national August 22, 2014 01:00


NON-GOVERNMENT organisations (NGOs) are jointly calling on the new government to engage the people's sector when reviewing government projects.

“It’s necessary that the new government listen to the opinions of people and NGOs. It’s also essential that it recruit experts from the private sector and the civil society to committees reviewing big projects,” environment activist Harnnarong Yaowalert said. 
He also voiced regret that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) had recently pushed through the long-opposed Pak Bara Pier Project, adding that he was really worried that the government might consider it necessary to approve projects left pending for a long time. 
“Careful review [of every project] is a must,” Harnnarong said. 
‘Don’t rely only on bureaucrats’
He also pointed out that the NCPO has, so far, only recruited bureaucrats to screening committees and seemed to only rely on their opinions. 
“I don’t have anything against bureaucrats, but when handling certain issues, the government should consult experts and address concerns voiced by other sectors too,” he said. 
Meanwhile, retired General Ekachai Srivilas, director of the Office for Peace and Governance at King Prajadhipok’s Institute (KPI), said General Prayuth Chan-ocha had to be firm if he wanted to succeed as a prime minister. 
Judging from their time together in the Army, he felt Prayuth was relatively open-minded and quick at grasping issues that went beyond the traditional concerns of a military officer. 
He also advised Prayuth to exercise his power with transparency. 
Green Politics coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said under current circumstances, it was no surprise Prayuth was named prime minister, as the NCPO’s sincerity in running the country had been made evident. But Prayuth now had a tough job ahead. 
“People are keeping a close watch on the direction reform will take, and the new government has many sensitive issues to deal with,” he said.