Tue, August 16, 2022


Real reform must involve citizens: Abhisit

The reform process could hardly become a success if the people did not feel they were part of it, said Abhisit Vejjajiva, a former prime minister and leader of the Democrat Party on Thursday.

He is concerned that there has been insufficient inclusiveness in the reform process, dooming it to failure.
The remark came after the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) had dissolved on Monday, following the enactment of the reform law which would set up another 11 panels to take on the reform issue.
Politicians had been urged to nominate candidates to sit on the panels.
The democrat leader, however, expressed that the more important thing was to find ways to allow elaborate public participation.
“I am concerned more about how or how much people will be able to participate in this. Politicians already have the chance to work in the executive or legislative branch in the future anyway,” Abhisit said.
The former PM pointed out it would be difficult for genuine reform to come to fruition if the people did not feel it was theirs.
Also, some points in the reform would take a long time to materialise, he added.
Some stakeholders afraid of losing their power or influence would likely try to get in the way, Abhisit explained. It would need mutual agreement of people in society to overcome such obstacles and drive reform, he said. 
The Democrat leader went on to say that the 20-year national strategy, which was in the same legislative package with reform, must also be in line with the people’s desires.
Personally, Abhisit said, he didn’t think a scheme of such long duration fits attitudes of our current generation of citizens. He would like participation to be open to everyone to avoid future problems. 
Asked to reflect on the work of the defunct NRSA, the politician said that he wished it had not work on each reform issue individually.
Rather, they should have come up with a grand scheme, with a clear and solid principle and foundation, he said. For example, the main principle could have been to decrease state power and empower the people. By starting from stated principles, the necessary reform policies would have been clearer, he added.
In addition, Abhisit noted that he has always stressed that the NRSA did not have authority other than to propose suggestions to the Cabinet and the National Legislative Assembly, which have the power to decide whether to take or drop any plan.

Published : August 03, 2017

By : The Nation