Yellow shirts accuse ‘junta pack’ of risking national territory under draft charter

A group of people dressed in yellow shirts have filed an accusation with the Administrative Court against agencies allied to the junta -- the PM, cabinet, charter drafters, lawmakers, and Election Commission -- for risking Thailand’s territory under the draft constitution, adding that the referendum should be postponed until the problematic articles are fixed.    
 
On Monday, 13 June 2016, Lt Col Kamolpan Cheewapansri, a member of the National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Committee (NSRRC), accompanied by 17 followers in the People’s Network to Protect the Nation (PNPN) who all dressed in yellow shirts, filed a petition with the Administrative Court against Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha (the Prime Minister and junta head), the Cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), and the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT), Matichon Online reported
 
The petition accuses the defendants of drafting a charter with two problematic articles. The first is Article 178 which in summary states that any agreement that may lead to a change of national territory must be discussed by Parliament within 60 days, but if Parliament cannot reach a decision within this time, the agreement will be automatically approved.
 
The second is Article 54, which says that the state must provide free compulsory education for 12 years including 3 years of kindergarten and grades 1-9, while the previous charter covered grades 1-12.   
 
The group claimed that Article 178 could possibly lead to the loss of national territory and Article 54 allegedly contradicts international laws. However, the petition does not state which international laws the article has violated. The group, therefore, asked the court to urgently postpone the August referendum until the two problematic articles are fixed, reported Matichon Online. 
 
Kamolpan told Prachatai that Article 178 will make it easy for the government to sell national resources and national territory to foreign investors within 60 days. She also added that Article 54 will pave the way for the privatization of public high schools, just as occurred with most public universities.
 
Kamolpan is an education activist who participated in the pro-establishment political movement that essentially led to the 2014 coup. The PNPN is a civil society organization which monitors government policies on various issues such as the rule of law, energy reform and education.
 
“They (the junta) keep insisting that the charter is anti-corruption. In fact, they are making corruption lawful”, said Kamolpan. 
 
Although she once opposed Thaksin Shinawatra and his affiliates, she supports the red shirt’s referendum watch campaign, saying that people should be able to protect their own rights no matter what ‘colour’ they are.
 
“I agree with the red shirts running their referendum watch campaign. People should be allowed to join a polling watchdog and this is not a colour issue,” Kamolpan told Prachatai. “The reason that we wore yellow shirts is just to celebrate to 70th anniversary of the King’s throne”
 
 
Kamolwan Cheewapansri files a petition with the Administrative Court (source: Matichon Online)