Demand for lawmakers to disclose meeting on land tax bill

A civil society group is pressing the junta’s lawmakers to disclose the content of a meeting on the new land tax bill.

On 16 November 2017, representatives of Land Watch Thai (LWT), a group monitoring land issues, submitted a letter to Surachai Liengboonlertchai, Vice President of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).

The letter demands disclosure of the report of the 2 November meeting on the Land and Building Tax Bill.

The NLA unanimously agreed not the reveal the content of the meeting.

LWT pointed out that as the law will have a great impact on the people, the NLA must reveal what was discussed during the meeting, adding that the land tax should be progressive.

The group said that information on land ownership should also be made public.

Surachai responded that the NLA will disclose the content of the draft bill later in the legislative process, and that the purpose of the law is to reduce inequality.

A law to reduce inequality through reform of land ownership was proposed in 2011 by the National Reform Commission chaired by former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun. The Commission proposed a progressive land tax and a cap on private land ownership as solutions to improve land distribution.

According to LWT, the value of land owned by NLA members amounts to about 9.8 billion baht. Therefore, the public should closely monitor the legislative process of the land tax bill.