A new organic bill appears to breach the constitution, by allowing the current National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) chair, who has a close connection with the junta, to continue in office despite being constitutionally ineligible. Over the past week, the Thai public has questioned the NACC over its ability to investigate corruption allegations surrounding the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), given that NACC Chair Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnratchakij has close ties with Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the NCPO deputy chairperson.
Anon Nampa is a human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist who is renowned for his sense of humour. Today the police accused him of contempt of court and violating the controversial Computer Crimes Act over his Facebook posts that criticised the prosecution of pro-democracy activists. If found guilty, Anon will face up to five years in jail for violating the Computer Crimes Act and up to seven years in jail for contempt of court.
A vague anti-corruption bill and influence over the National Anti-Corruption Commission make up the latest in the junta’s efforts to ‘cleanse’ Thai politics. But with corruption scandals plaguing the NCPO itself, how pure are its intentions? The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), a Thai elite network against corruption, has released a list of the ten most egregious corruption cases of 2017.
Today (25 December) Artiwara Kongmalai or “Toon Bodyslam” is scheduled to finish his charity run from Yala to Chiang Rai to raise money for public hospitals. The run has exceeded its goal; it has received over 1,000 million baht. However, Thailand’s healthcare is a structural problem that needs a sustainable solution. Still, the charity run has raised a debate on healthcare funding in the face of an anticipated budget cut under the junta government.
This year, Prachatai recognises the People’s Health System Movement as its Person of the Year, for its relentless efforts to protect Thailand’s universal healthcare scheme from the junta’s threats. Who is the People’s Health System Movement (PHSM)? The PHSM emerged almost two decades ago under the leadership of Dr. Sanguan Nitayarumphong.
As the general election is scheduled less than one year from now, people are wondering whether the Thai junta will allow more freedom of association and assembly ahead of the election campaigns. We saw mixed signals last week. Meanwhile, a legal adviser to the junta has suggested ways to amend the election law, which may result in the postponement of the election.
Citing political unrest, the junta has shown its reluctance to allow more political freedom for politicians to prepare for the long-awaited election. Even the chairman of the junta-appointed charter drafting committee has expressed concern. Though the Organic Act on Political Parties was endorsed on 8 October, the military government still prohibits politicians from campaigning and preparing for the long-awaited election in November next year.
Despite its efforts to regain mass support, the junta is facing a backlash for cracking down on anti-power plant protesters and a series of ham-fisted statements. Southerners used to play an active role in the anti-election movement, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), that paved the way for the 2014 coup. However, over the past three years, the ruling junta has put in place various policies that have affected the livelihood of southerners, such as regulations on fishing and plans for coal-fired power plan
As the death of a freshman cadet continues to trigger public outrage, Thai cadets are taking to social media to defend brutal corporal punishment at military academies. Thai social media last week was overwhelmed by the death of freshman cadet Phakhaphong Tanyakan, whose internal organs were inexplicably missing from his corpse when returned to his family.
In a move that raised eyebrows among human right advocates, the junta announced on 21 November, after three years in power, that human rights would be incorporated into the regime’s so-called Thailand 4.0 sustainable development initiative.