Chula student club opposes honorary degree for tycoon Dhanin

SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2021

The Student Government of Chulalongkorn University (SGCU) has posted an open letter, requesting a review of the decision to grant an honorary doctorate of science degree to business tycoon Dhanin Chearavanont.

The student club said the university's regulations on granting an honorary doctorate degree, BE 2555 (2012) should be adhered to.

The rule states that "such a degree shall be to honour qualified and virtuous individuals who have served the common good through their academic competence".

When considering the qualifications of Dhanin, he may be seen as successful in doing business at the national and international level, but it is still doubtful that Dhanin has served society as a whole based on social justice, they argued.

They said that Thai society is suffering heavily from shortage of vaccines that are effective in preventing this epidemic because CP Pharmaceutical Group, one of Dhanin's CP Group companies, is related to the company Sino Biopharmaceutical, a company that owns a more than $515-million, or 15.03 per cent stake in Sinovac Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Sinovac Co. They argued that the tycoon not only held shares in related companies, but also has a relationship with the founder of Sino Biopharmaceutical, which is the founder of CP Pharmaceutical Group as well.

In addition, all businesses in Dhanin's subsidiaries are businesses that affect small and medium enterprises, including small farmers, service workers and labourers who are the majority of the people of the country. The awarding of an honorary doctorate of science degree to Dhanin without considering the aforementioned circumstances may not be consistent with the objectives of awarding an honorary doctorate in accordance with the regulations, the SGCU argued.

On Saturday, Charoen Pokphand Group pointed to a statement it had already issued on May 25, that it had nothing to do with the government's direct or indirect purchase of the Sinovac vaccine, saying the Sinovac vaccine procurement is a government-to-government transaction, and CP Group was not directly or indirectly associated with it.