Little confidence in Thai govt's reform moves

Little confidence in Thai govt's reform moves
Royal Plaza.

THAILAND - The Government initiated reform process may not be completed within the term of the Pheu Thai-led administration.

Last week, key figures such as former prime minister Banharn Silapa-archa turned out in force to attend a second reform session.

After 10 hours of debate among 150 participants, the session could only manage to review seven past reports on reform. It adjourned after forming 20 subcommittees to work on various issues.

The first session, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, took place in August and appointed three working groups.

However, the two sessions have had no tangible results other than naming taskforces to look into unresolved issues.

Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana said he was optimistic about the outcome of the reforms. The government would definitely welcome and implement any recommendations presented to PM Yingluck in December.

Criticism of the slow progress was too harsh, he said. Consensus on reform would take time. If the reform process appeared to progress too quickly, critics would just suspect the government of introducing "rubber-stamp" solutions, he said.

Reform advocate Kramol Tongthamachart said he disagreed with a myriad of committees being set up to tackle issues. A former judge of the Constitution Court, Kramol said the prime minister should name and empower just one main committee to take charge of any changes.

"I frankly admit I don't know what I am supposed to be doing," he said, noting the confusion caused by forming of so many committees.

The People's Reform Council, organised by 65 organisations, had managed to set up hearings across the country, yet the government had nothing to boast of after more than a month, he said.

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