Somsak calls for monarchy reform on King's birthday

The prominent historian in exile has called for reform of the monarchy on 28 July, the birthday of King Vajiralongkorn.

Somsak Jeamteerasakul, the prominent historian, posted on Facebook a 7-step proposal to reform the monarchy. He insisted these steps can be taken according to the law.

Proposal:

1. Abolish Section 6 of the Constitution. Add an article similar to the version of 27 June 1932 (Parliament considers the King’s guilt).

2. Abolish Section 112 of the Criminal Code

3. Abolish the 2018 Crown Property Act. Separate the property into two clear categories. (Crown property comes under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance.)

4. Abolish the royal agencies. Abolish unnecessary agencies (the Privy Council), the agencies which have duties (the Royal Security Command, etc.) should be transferred to be part of other agencies.

5. Abolish royal donations/receipts.

6. Abolish the royal power to express political opinions.

7. Abolish all one-sided propaganda and all one-sided education about the monarchy.

All of these measures are consistent with the law.

28 July 2019

The proposal has been one of Somsak’s talking points since he proposed a similar reform ten years ago.  Only minor changes have been made, due to changes in the laws. Section 8 of the 2007 Constitution corresonds to Section 6 of the 2016 Constitution which says “the King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated.” Article 112 of the Criminal Code, which states “whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years,” remains unchanged. 

According to Business Insider, King Vajiralongkorn is the richest monarch in the world with a net worth of US$30 million with income from the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand. The Crown Property Act passed in November last year, which granted His Majesty full power to manage crown property, led to significant transfers of shares in large Thai corporates into King Vajiralongkorn’s possession, including Siam Commercial Bank and the Siam Cement Group. 

Somsak Jeamteerasakul is a historian who has fought for reform of the monarchy for decades. In exile since the coup in 2014, at least 300,000 followers rely on his page for alternative information to official propaganda. The number is based on the latest record. The figure is no longer available because he has made it invisible for the security of his followers. He disappeared from Facebook for ten months between August 2018 and June 2019 due to a haemorrhagic stroke. He has come back online, but his posts are shorter than in the past due to his health.