By THE NATION
SEVERAL BOARD members of key health organisations have been giving up their posts reportedly to avoid the new asset-declaration rule.
At least four members of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) have already quit and many board members of the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM), the Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI) and the Healthcare Accreditation Institute (HAI) have said they will follow suit.
Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn yesterday urged those who had not tendered their resignation yet to wait at least until the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) clarifies the rule.
“Let’s wait a bit. Things should get clearer before the end of this month,” he said. “Probably, after you declare your assets/liabilities to the NACC, the said information will be kept confidential”.
Promulgated in the Royal Gazette on November 1, the new rule will go into effect on January 31. Under this rule, it will no longer just be political-office holders who will be required to declare their assets/liabilities to the NACC.
Presidents of state universities and their council members, as well as top executives of public organisations and state funds, and the chiefs of Armed Forces including the police force, for instance, will also have to declare their assets.
Dr Jiruth Sriratanaban, Chulalongkorn University’s medical lecturer, said he had decided to quit the board of HAI because he did not want his finances becoming public knowledge.
It was reported that HAI board members Dr Surachet Satitniramai, a former deputy permanent secretary for Public Health, and Dr Boonruang Triruangworawat, a former director-general of the Mental Health Department, will also be stepping down.
HSRI director Dr Nopporn Cheanklin, meanwhile, revealed that two board members of his institute have also expressed their intention to quit. “But no official resignations have been submitted yet,” he said.
The NACC has postponed the start of the rule’s validity from December 2 to January 31 in response to stiff protests from members of state-run university councils.
Initially, it was believed that university council members were the strongest opponents against the new asset-declaration rule. But now, it appears that board members of several health organisations are not happy with the rule either.
A source said that three NIEM board members have said they will step down to avoid the asset-declaration requirement.
“One of them is a representative of non-profit organisations,” it added.
NHSO yesterday convened a meeting to select four new board members to replace the four specialist board members who have decided to leave.
“We have received resignations from two more board members. We don’t have to select their replacements because these two are representatives of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Pharmacy Council. Their organisations have already named their replacements,” Piyasakol, who chairs the NHSO board, said.