Saturday, November 28, 2020

Top exec suggests use of previous charter provisions to heed protesters' demand for monarchy reform 

Oct 24. 2020
Banyong Pongpanich
Banyong Pongpanich
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By THE NATION

Businessman Banyong Pongpanich has proposed using provisions in a previously used charter to reform the monarchy and end the ongoing standoff between the government and pro-democracy protesters.

In his Facebook post on Friday, he suggested restoring provisions on the monarchy in a previous constitution and laws related to Palace affairs, which were in force during the time of King Rama IX, and undoing the changes made by the junta.

The protesters are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and reforms to the country’s monarchy.

Banyong is executive director of Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group, and has held other important political positions in the past, including being a former member of the State Enterprise Policy and Supervisory Committee.

In August, pro-democracy protesters of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration had made 10 demands as part of reforms to the monarchy, including:

▪︎annulling Article 6 of the Constitution, which prohibits any legal action against the monarch;

▪︎scrapping the lese majeste law, which shields the King from criticism; 

▪︎separating the King’s personal wealth from assets under the Crown Property Bureau, which are estimated to be worth many billions of dollars; 

▪︎cut the Palace's annual budget in line with economic conditions;

▪︎ end donations to the Royal Family;

▪︎end one-sided education that praises the royal institution;

▪︎investigate the suspected forced disappearance of individuals who had been outspoken against the monarchy.

“Although I do not fully agree with the 10 demands of the protesters, I would like to propose a way that could help reform the monarchy,” he said. “It is evident that the late King Rama IX was a righteous ruler whose royal projects have overwhelmingly benefited the country and Thai people during his 70-year reign, while using his power and assets that existed under the previous constitution. "Therefore, we should go back to use that constitution and undo all the changes made by the National Council for Peace and Order, the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand, and the current government.

“It is true that everything needs adjustment from time to time to suit the changing world, but during this time of disagreement and confusion, we must at least find common ground so we could start at the point where everyone agrees that it works,” he added.

“I hope that my proposed way will be considered kindly by both protesters and royalists, and finally lead to the end of disagreement before it escalates into violence that could bring regression to our country,” said Banyong.

His proposal drew support from many people, including prominent figure Piyasvasti Amaranand, a former energy minister and member of the Thai elite. Piyasvasti said the Crown Property Bureau law, and laws related to the Palace administration, should be amended.

 

 

 

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