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Constitutional Court orders investigation of 32 MPs in media share row

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Constitutional Court orders investigation of 32 MPs in media share row | The Thaiger

The Thai Constitutional Court has agreed to accept a petition against 32 MPs from the military-aligned coalition over alleged media share holdings. But the Court has allowed the MPs to continue their parliamentary duties. This dispensation was not offered to anti-junta politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit from the opposition Future Forward Party who is being investigated over the same allegations.

The court said this case was different from that of Thanathorn, in whose case the junta-appointed Election Commission had already conducted an initial investigation to confirm wrongdoing before the case was forwarded to the court.

The Constitutional Court reasons that the 32 MPs should not be suspended because it was still unclear if the businesses in which they had invested could in fact be considered media.

There was no committee investigating the 32 new cases before they were submitted to the court, the judges said, adding since the matter was still unclear, the MPs should not be suspended from their parliamentary duties.

Nine other MPs who had also been subject to complaints for possibly breaching the Constitution by holding media shares, were spared in yesterday’s decision. The court turned down the petition to examine their cases. The MPs spared included six from Palang Pracharat and three from the Democrats.

The court said its examination of the documents presented by the plaintiff showed that the companies in which these nine MPs had invested had no objective to run a newspaper or any type of media business.

The total of 41 MPs, like Thanathorn, had been accused of holding shares in media companies. The petition had been filed by Future Forward MPs through the parliamentary mechanism and submitted to the Constitutional Court with endorsement by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

The 2017 Constitution prohibits shareholdings in media companies for MPs and MP candidates. Violation of the rule is punishable with disqualification of the MP, imprisonment and fine, as well as a 20-year ban from politics.

The court’s decision to allow the embattled MPs to continue their work in the lower house favours the pro-junta bloc, which has only a slim majority over its rival bloc. If the Palang Pracharat MPs had been suspended from their duties any lower house vote, including a vote of no confidence, would have been lost by the pro-Junta government.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs

Greeley Pulitzer

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10 billionaires among Thailand’s 500 MPs | The Thaiger

Thailand has 10 billionaire MPs, while the poorest MP has just 5,064 baht in his bank account, according to reports from the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Of the 10 billionaire MPs, Mrs. Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, of the Bhumjaithai Party, wife of Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat, is the richest, with declared assets of about 4.675 billion baht.

The other nine billionaire MPs are:

Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Bhumjaithai party leader, deputy prime minister and public health minister, with 4.249 billion baht (including two planes, two boats, Buddha images worth 121 million baht and 395 million baht in bank deposits)

Bhumjaithai MP for Satun province, Mr. Piboon Ratchakitprakarn, with 2.342 billion baht

Mr. Suriya Juangroongruangkit, industry minister and Palang Pracharat MP, at 2.198 billion baht

Mr. Apichaiubon, Democrat party-list MP, with assets of 2.048 billion baht

Mr. Nataphol Teepsuwan, Palang Pracharat party-list MP and education minister, with 1.985 billion baht

Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, deputy education minister and Democrat party-list MP, with 1.785 billion baht

Ms. Supamat Issarapakdi, Bhumjaithai party-list MP, who has 1.609 billion baht

Mr. Kittisak Khanasawat, Pheu, Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, with 1.529 billion baht

Democrat party-list MP Korn Chatikavanich, with 1.097 billion baht

PM’s Office Minister and Chart Pattana party-list MP Tewan Liptapallop, who has 1.03 billion baht

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has assets of about 8 million baht

Of the 500 MPs, it appears that Mr. Phisanu Polatee, Bhumjaithai, MP for Pathum Thani province, has the least assets. There was, at the time reporting, only 5,064 baht in his bank account.

Earlier, he reported that he earned 14,000 baht a month from the Provincial Administration Organization. His earnings as an MP since May totaled 829,700 baht. He said he is living in the house of his mother and the car that he has been driving belongs to a friend.

Several MPs have not yet declared their assets to the NACC’s Office, including Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Future Forward MPs Pannika Wanich and Pitha Limcharonrat.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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Politics

Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care

The Thaiger

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Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care | The Thaiger

The majority of respondents to a Super Poll survey, say that they are still waiting to see where they will put their future support. For now they’re saying they neither support the Government or Opposition, preferring to wait to assess their performance.

Super Poll conducted the survey on 1,069 people from a wide range of occupations nationwide between October 1519.

The director of Super Poll, Noppadol Kannikar, says that one interesting finding was that 67.2% of respondents admitted that they prefer not to take sides, with the Government or Opposition, because both are currently under-performing and they want to wait to assess their performance.

But 16.9% of the respondents are supportive of the coalition Government, compared to 15.9% who oppose it.

On the question of Government spending, the survey showed 65.9% want quality health care as their top priority, 59.8% want good and secure jobs, 54.3% want security for their lives and property, 50.8% want increased road safety, 48.2% want government help for small and medium-size enterprises and 37.0% want government to provide them with housing.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Bangkok

PM will act on opposition’s recommendations

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM will act on opposition’s recommendations | The Thaiger

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Saturday that he was satisfied with the deliberations over the budget bill in the previous two days and promised to act on the constructive suggestions offered by opposition parties.

Regarding the 400 billion baht allocated for the Central Fund, the Prime Minister admitted that the figure seems high, but it actually isn’t when measured against various urgent issues requiring immediate attention, such as flood relief, pensions and critical projects proposed by local administrative bodies during cabinet meetings.

Defending the increased military budget, the PM said that the mission of the military isn’t just to defend the country from invasion, but also the interdiction of smuggling and non-military activities such as disaster relief operations.

Tens of thousands of troops are deployed along Thailand’s borders, with many of them stationed in the deep south to maintain peace in the often restive region.

He defended the need for new armaments, including navy’s plan to procure new vessels to protect Thailand’s marine resources and enhance the navy’s overall capacity. He pointed out that Thailand isn’t the only country in the region enhancing its military.

He said that about 2,000 projects have been proposed to address the flooding issue and that budgetary constraints mean the government must be selective, priority being given to those which are most urgent.

Regarding the 300 billion baht investment budget, the PM said that since investments in various major infrastructure projects are, and will be undertaken by the private sector, the funds will be used as seed money from the government to supplement private investment.

He said that public debt, now 41% of GDP, is not a serious concern as Thailand has the ability to service the debts.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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