Statement on the National Reform Council
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Respected fellow Thai citizens,
Amid the ongoing political conflict, I would like to express my gratitude to academicians, businessmen, and fellow citizens from various sectors who wish well for the country and have given opinions in order to find a resolution out of the present conflict cycle for our beloved country.
From different discussion forums, seminars or various opinions expressed through mass media during the previous two weeks, I gathered that most do share similar opinions, particularly on public participation in making political decisions, the inspection of the use of governmental power at all levels, strengthening the political system and political development, and protection of democratic system under constitutional monarchy.
In various reform forums, an idea of establishing a body for national reform has been proposed which could be carried out in parallel with the general election to be held on February 2, 2014, as scheduled in the Royal Decree.
I fully agree that it is now time to develop a mechanism to push forward and mobilize national reform. I, therefore, would like to propose to establish a forum so called “National Reform Council”.
As to who will become members of the National Reform Council, I would like to affirm that the National Reform Council is not a government’s forum. And if parties agree, the government will only establish the council by an order of the Prime Minister’s Office and will be acknowledged by the Cabinet to ensure that the process can begin immediately.
The National Reform Council will be a genuine council of the people’s representatives. Selection of members of the National Reform Council will begin with the recruitment of 2,000 representatives from various professions. Then, the 2,000 representatives will select 499 members of the National Reform Council.
Qualifications, criteria, application method, recruitment and appointment of representatives of professional groups, as well as selection of members of the National Reform Council will be determined by a commission comprising qualified and knowledgeable persons comprising of the following members:
1. The Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces or a representative of the Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces which may be either the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army, the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, or the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force
2. Two Permanent Secretary-level persons nominated from the meeting body of permanent secretaries of the ministries and head of agencies.
3. The Secretary General of the National Economic and Social Development Board.
4. One university president nominated from the meeting body of the Council of University Presidents of Thailand.
5. Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce or representative.
6. Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries or representative.
7. Chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association or representative.
8. The Chairperson and two experts will be nominated by the above commission members.
This committee, thus, will comprised of 11 members.
The responsibilities of the National Reform Council are:
1. To study and prepare proposals for amendment of the Constitution, which may include preparation of draft amendment of the Constitution.
2. To study and prepare proposals for the national economic and social restructuring, and to study and prepare proposals on people’s participation in public administration.
3. To study and prepare proposals for amendment or abrogation of law, rules, regulations or commands in order to ensure fairness and transparency of elections in every level, selection and appointment of persons for various positions, exercise of government authority, and inspection of government’s use of power.
4. To study and prepare proposals for prevention and suppression of corruptions and misconducts in public agencies, both of political officials and permanent officials of state agencies.
5. To study and prepare proposals for improvement of decentralization of power, knowledge promotion on laws, preparing and strengthening of communities, regulation structure of state administration in all levels, improvement of budget system and procedures, and human resources management in public sector.
Once the National Reform Council’s work on one of the above points is done, the National Reform Council must submit a report to the Prime Minister, and publicly disclose the report in order for the subsequent implementations of concerned parties. The time frame of the process will be determined by the National Reform Council.
As for the concern on continuity of National Reform after the general election on February 2, 2014 and after the assumption of the new Government, there will be stipulation that once the new Cabinet assumes the office, Secretary-General to the Cabinet must present the Prime minister and the Cabinet for their approval of the implementation of the above based on the intent and direction approved by all parties.
What I have said is a format aiming for exchange of discussions and dialogues from every sector. The Government will compile comments and suggestions for further improvement and issuance of command before the end of this year.
I would like to invite all to be aware of the mission on national reform, which is a duty of every Thai citizen. This mission is for the sake of all Thai citizens’ happiness, benefits, peacefulness, reconciliation, unity, and prosperity, as well as for our future posterity.