THE 200-STRONG Reform Steering Council (RSC) will carry on with the same reform agendas of its predecessor, the National Reform Council (NRC), to ensure that they are effected before the general election, some members said yesterday.
“We have to get everything done within a year,” Wanchai Sornsiri said.
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, another RSC member, said the new reform council would enforce the 37 reform agendas in 11 sectors as proposed to the Cabinet by the NRC.
The RSC is different from the NRC since it functions like a task force to work closely with the Cabinet, he said.
Alongkorn and Wanchai are two of the 61 NRC members selected to sit on the new council. Of the 61, 40 had voted down the draft charter, which ended the role of the NRC and the constitution drafting committee.
The provincial provisional charter imposed by the junta last year stipulates that if the draft permanent charter were rejected by the NRC, the National Council for Peace and Order must pick members for a new drafting committee and reform council.
Wanchai said he also wanted to have the NRC tasks carried out for continuity and success of the reform process.
The new council will act as an instrument for the Cabinet to enforce and move forward the reform measures, he said.
Ex-education minister Chaturon Chaisaeng said the RSC was mainly made up of the same old faces, who had lobbied the junta to get reappointed. “I believe they will not be able to push any reform in the country,” he said.
Enforcing the reform agendas before the election is undemocratic, since the process lacks participation by the people, he said.
“It is not reform but the piling-up of problems for the post-election government,” he said.
The combination composition of the new reform council includes members from many political parties such as Pheu Thai and the Democrats. Most of them said they were not representing their party but were motivated to work for the good of reconciliation.
Former Pheu Thai member Sucho Chaleekrua said he had quit the party to join the reform council to set himself free from political interests.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha defended his new reform team, saying their selection was based on their experience and expertise.
Prayut was responding to questions from the media on how the 40 anti-draft members of the now-defunct NRC were chosen to join the RSC. Some wondered whether this was a “reward” for the 40.
“Whether they passed or didn’t pass it, you say they are on my side. Are you crazy?” he said.
“I had to get some members with knowledge from previous work. I also got several from political parties to create a balance. Don’t say that you can’t see this.”
Yesterday, 64 RSC members showed up at Parliament House to take up their duties.