Defence ministry defends appointment of junta leader's nephew

The Ministry of Defence has defended the appointment of the junta leader’s nephew to an army post, saying that it is normal for the army to replace retired army personnel.

Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich, spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence, on Sunday, 17 April 2016, announced that the appointment of new army officers with certain skills or qualifications to replace retired officers is normal.   

The announcement was made in response to the appointment of Patipat Chan-o-cha, 25, son of Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, former Army Chief and brother of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, to the post of second lieutenant of the Royal Thai Army.

A leaked secret document revealed the appointment last week.  It was viewed as nepotism by many and sparked criticisms on social media.

The Defence Ministry spokesperson added that such appointments are necessary to maintain and improve the capability of the Royal Thai Army.

Responding to criticisms on the appointment of his son, Gen Preecha on 15 April said “My son graduated with a bachelor’s degree and he must work. There is a vacant position, so I put him in it. Many people in the Army do the same. It’s not only my son who does it.”

According to Isara News, it often happens that relatives of high ranking military officers are appointed to certain public posts in the military without having to undertake examinations.

Isara reported that such appointments occur via a process in which the military authorities set job qualifications in accordance to the qualifications of certain people connected to high ranking officials, ensuring that certain posts are reserved for the well-connected.  

Such special appointments are in many cases unfair to army officers who might possess similar skills and qualifications, but have to climb the ladder through normal procedures, added Isara.

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