Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"The Nation" gets it all wrong

On November 7, village and subdistrict headmen from all over the country plan to stage a protest at the Royal Plaza to protest against the amendment of the Local Administration Act, which is scheduled to be discussed in parliament that day. Now this won't be noteworthy as I already reported about similar protests earlier, but what is striking is the article published by "The Nation" on this topic.
Kamnan and village headmen nationwide will rally in Bangkok next month to demand that their terms end at the age of 60 rather than after five years in office, as is the case at present.
Apparently "The Nation" lives in a different time, as the current active law has the headmen end their term at 60, it is the amendment in the legislative process right now which would change that. That sentence would have been true between 1999 and 2008.
He said he expected a large gathering, as there are about 250,000 Kamnans and village headmen nationwide.
There are 74956 administrative villages in Thailand as of December 2011. Not all of these have a headman - Muban within a town or city municipality (until Amendment 12 of the Local Administration Act this was mandatory), thus there are definitely less than 75000 headmen. Subdistrict headmen are also village headmen, so there don't add to that number. Only if including the (non-elected) deputy headmen - every Muban has two deputies, not sure about the Kamnan - one could reach to the number of 250,000.
At present, each kaman and village headman works to a five-year term, replacing the previous rule that allowed each to stay in the position until reaching the age of 60.
As already stated, this is totally bogus.
Kunae said that they wanted to back to the previous rule, claiming that the present rule did not respond to continuity of work and caused widespread corruption.
It's interesting that every change is claimed to lead to corruption or electoral fraud, and of course every interest group claims that in their proposal it will have less of these evils. Since there were 10 years with short terms already, why has nobody thought about doing a survey if there was more or less corruption during these times than in the last 4 years.

In my humble opinion, how can one have more corruption if an office holder has to stand re-election every five years, and at that time has to explain his actions and performance or any wealth accumulation to the electorate. Even though such a check by the electorate isn't working well in Thailand yet, it is still better than to hope for the superiors to remove bad headmen from their office. Besides, if an election is for twenty or thirty years instead of five years, then the stakes are much higher and thus also the temptation to use illegal ways to get elected.

But as mentioned in the last posting on this topic, as long as the transitory clause to keep those headmen currently in office till aged 60, the amendment is not worth much, and the current headmen don't need to worry about their investments into gaining their post.

1 comment:

tom isaan said...

Thanks for that the # seemed bogus.
Thailand's Nearly English Language Dailies do not really get to interested in facts