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Govt moves cautiously before seeking the endorsement of NBTC nominees

Sep 08. 2011
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By Usanee Mongkolporn,

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday that the Cabinet's secretariat would study how to proceed legally with seeking royal endorsement for the 11 broadcasting and telecom commissioners after a probe was launched into their selection.

The government is ready to consult with the Council of State, she said.

The Special Case Committee agreed on Tuesday to assign the Department of Special Investigation to look into the alleged irregularities in the process of nominating the final candidates for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

This might make Yingluck hesitate about sending the list of the 11 NBTC members for royal endorsement. She might prefer to wait until the probe is finished.

The NBTC will meet on Monday to elect a chairman and two vice chairmen, and later set up a telecom committee and a broadcasting committee, each with five commissioners and chaired by one of the vice chairmen.

A political source said the election for NBTC chairman was expected to be between Air Chief Marshal Thares Punsri and General Sukit Khamasundara.

If Tharesh does not get the nod, he might be chosen as the vice chairman in charge of the broadcasting committee, while either Colonel Natee Sukonrat or Colonel Settapong Malisuwan would likely be chosen as the other vice chairman heading the telecom panel, the source said.

The National Telecommunica-tions Commission (NTC) will hold the meeting for the NBTC to select the chairman and vice chairmen - a process that must be completed within 15 days after the new members were appointed by the Senate last Monday.

The NTC will discuss with the Senate Secretariat on which of the NTC or the secretariat will officially submit the NBTC name list to the prime minister, acting NTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit said.

The list will likely go to her on September 19, he said.

The NBTC replaces the NTC in regulating both industries and working with the government to supervise them.

The telecom and broadcasting businesses have been waiting eagerly for the NBTC to be formed so new spectrum licences can be auctioned off, especially for the much-vaunted third-generation high-speed cellular service.

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