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Ex-NRC member sceptical of reforms under new council

Sep 16. 2015
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A FORMER member of the National Reform Council (NRC) has suggested that the high proportion of civil servants and military officers proposed for the new National Reform Steering Council needs to be reduced, saying they were part of the reason for the impa
Rosana Tositrakul expressed her concern that reform might not happen because of the high proportion of security officers and civil servants – totalling 90 out of 200 members – in the steering council.
The number should be cut, as public servants had obstructed reform work in the past, she said. She doubted whether reform could be carried out with them sitting on the council, as they would also be fully occupied with their full-time public service.
She suggested that the steering council include more members from the public sector because they represent the people and know what the problems are.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday confirmed that about 50 of the members would be military officers and an additional 60 would be former NRC members, plus some others from political parties and groups, lawmakers, and academics. 
Niran Pantarakit, another ex-NRC member, said the new steering council should include at least 100 former NRC members.
He said former NRC members could help push the reform strategies well. Niran also suggested that another 100 steering council members come from a mixture of public servants and politicians. He said the reform work, especially on politics, should be undertaken by the real players and these people know well how reforms should proceed.
Wanchai Sornsiri, another former NRC member who had campaigned against the charter draft, said the number of former NRC members sitting on the steering council would be Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s decision.
He said the PM knew well how to manage everything, including deciding who the members of the steering council should be.
Regarding the inclusion of politicians in the council, Wanchai said anybody with a good approach towards reform could join, but remarked that those with ill intentions to obstruct the process should rather make way for others who wish to contribute.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party, said he could suggest politicians’ names to sit on the council if asked, but they would not represent the party, as it has not had any meetings to kick off the official nomination process.
Akanat Promphan, the secretary of the People’s Democratic Reform Foundation, meanwhile said it was a good idea to invite representatives from political groups to join the council. But he said he had no idea whether the junta would nominate political groups into the steering council. However, he said that if the foundation were contacted by the military, it would consider the offer.

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