By Juthathip Lucksanawong
ANUSORN UNNO, SOCIOLOGY LECTURER AT THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY AND KEY MEMBER OF THE THAI ACADEMIC NETWORK FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
If the draft is accepted, then the relationship between Thai people and the state will change. The state will become superior to the people, having sweeping powers to arbitrarily control the people and the country in various aspects such as social welfare, rights to national resources and healthcare privileges.
CHALITA BUNDHUWONG, SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY LECTURER AT KASETSART UNIVERSITY AND A MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY’S POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION
Once the draft is approved, I will have to talk with my network of academics to see what moves we should make to fight for democracy. We will also have to monitor the junta’s moves after the referendum before we take any steps.
SOMSONG WATTANA, MEMBER OF THE NETWORK OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY ARTICLE 44
If the draft gets approved, Article 44, which gives Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as head of the National Council for Peace and Order, sweeping powers, will automatically remain.
The PM will continue enforcing Article 44 to handle different issues. However, the excessive use of this power apparently will affect people’s way of life and environment. For instance, the premier has allowed an exemption in city-planning laws for gas plants in reserved agriculture zones in Chachoengsao province. More and more people and areas will be damaged due to this.
AKKANUT WANTANASOMBUT, INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER
I think as a member of the middle class, the new charter will not affect my personal life because I, like other middle-class people, am self-reliant. However, the bureaucratic and centralised system under the new charter will devalue participation in politics at the grassroots level.