12 July 2024

The Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT) has voiced its objection to a draft charter amendment, seeking to protect both elected MPs and non-elected senators from punishment for their interference in budgetary management and in officials’ rightful performance of their duties.

In a statement, issued Sunday, the ACT said that the deletion of the punitive clauses, in Sections 144 and 185 of the current Constitution, as proposed in the Palang Pracharat party’s draft amendment, will cause a huge setback in the fight against corruption committed by politicians and pave the way for legislators to be able to meddle in the affairs of permanent officials with impunity.

The ACT,  a foundation committed to the fight against corruption in public affairs, also pointed out that the Palang Pracharat draft amendment contravenes the principles of good governance and constitutes a conflict of interests, as defined in the United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption 2003, to which Thailand is a signatory.

It said that allocations of national budgets in the past several years have been riddled with misplaced priorities and corruption, due to the interference by legislators.

For the fight against graft to be effective, it needs a clear strategy with clear-cut principles, means and all-encompassing measures which can be put into real practice, said the ACT.

Deleting the punitive clauses demonstrates the lack of sincerity in the fight to contain corruption in Thailand, which will only serve to embolden corrupt politicians and bureaucrats to engage in even more graft, said the ACT, adding that the Palang Pracharat party’s draft charter amendment is totally unacceptable.

The parliament is to convene between Tuesday – Thursday (June 22nd – 24th) to debate and then vote on 13 constitutional amendment drafts submitted by both government and opposition parties.