The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

NACC stands firm on asset rule

BANGKOK: The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has refused to back down on a new rule that requires mandatory asset declaration by university council chairpersons and members, but said it is likely to postpone its enforcement.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 13 November 2018, 09:13AM

Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission: All university council members, including monks, must comply with the new law to produce lists of assets. Photo: Bangkok Post / File

Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission: All university council members, including monks, must comply with the new law to produce lists of assets. Photo: Bangkok Post / File

NACC chairman Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said yesterday (Nov 12) that senior government executives are legally required to submit lists of assets and debts, but the anti-graft body will consider delaying the enforcement after it triggered threats of mass resignations, which could affect the running of university affairs.

The issue will be further discussed today (Nov 13), and the enforcement of the regulation is likely to be put off, possibly for 30 days, to give university councils and their members time to prepare.

The asset and liability regulation was issued under a new anti-corruption law that also covers judges and other state officials, their spouses and children, including those who are not yet of age.

Published in the Royal Gazette on Nov 1, the rule will take effect on Dec 2.

The regulation caused an uproar in academic circles, with some university council members threatening to quit out of concerns over excessive paperwork.

"Exactly how long the enforcement will be postponed will be clearer tomorrow. If it is delayed by 30 days, it should give university councils enough time to prepare to comply with the regulation. This approach will not cause disruptions," he said.

According to Pol Gen Watcharapol, the postponement, if agreed, will be applied across the board, not just to university council chairpersons and members.

However, he added that the Supreme Patriarch, who serves as chairman of the Mahamakut Buddhist University council, is not required to declare his assets and debts, but other senior monks who are members of university councils are.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (CAT), has voiced support for the NACC, saying the rule is needed more than ever.

Citing a report by the Office of the Higher Education Commission (Ohec), Mr Mana said corruption adversely impacted the quality of education, as some university executives and council members allegedly operate based on reciprocity.

"The NACC must forge ahead with this new regulation," he said.

However, he also urged the NACC to sit down with academics to find out why they are reluctant to declare their assets and work out a solution.

According to Mr Mana, some 40,000 people are currently required to declare their assets and debts to the anti-graft body.

HeadStart International School Phuket

The new rule means an additional 3,000 people will have to do the same - including those in public organisations and state enterprises - but the dissent came from some 500 university council members, he said.

"The NACC should take a proactive approach by talking to them and finding out what their reservations are. If it is really about paperwork, perhaps the NACC can work something out," he said.

Mr Mana said Thailand has signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), while the 2017 charter and the 20-year national strategic plan have championed for greater transparency.

He said the new regulation must not be abolished because it will negatively affect public confidence in state efforts to combat graft.

"The fight against corruption demands collaboration from the people. It would be a waste if the regulation is dropped, and the public will start to question our efforts," he said.

Somlak Judkrabuanphol, a former member of the NACC, urged the anti-graft agency to streamline the declaration process to avoid excessive paperwork.

She said she is opposed to a proposal that Section 44 should be invoked to exempt some position holders from declaring their debts and assets, adding that the rule is in line with the constitution and the organic law.

Paisal Puechmongkol, an aide to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, called on the government to seize the opportunity to reform university councils in case of mass resignations.

He said on Facebook that the NACC's regulation will reveal vast conflicts of interests in universities and that the time is ripe for the government to overhaul the system.

Meanwhile, public support is mounting for the NACC's new regulation.

Dr Suthee Rattanamongkolkul, of Srinakharinwirot University's faculty of medicine, launched a signature campaign on Nov 9 which has drawn almost 1,500 supporters.

According to Dr Suthee, universities are particularly vulnerable to abuse and graft due to their size and interests, and it is hoped the asset declaration rule will promote good governance and transparency.

Read original story here.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.


Be the first to comment.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
COVID-19 and tourism: Can domestic travel address the slump in emerging markets?

The short answer is no. Of course it can't and it would be disingenuous to suggest so. ...(Read More)

Lockdown eased from Monday

Ok so will the beaches be allowed to open for swimming , diving etc ...(Read More)

Thailand aiming for complete end to lockdown on July 1: NSC Chief

It’s not clear to me, according to this last decree International travels will be allowed again fr...(Read More)

As annual rains arrive, Phuket health chief issues dengue warning

Dr Thanit should starts 'precaution' measures herself first. She forgot to 'order' d...(Read More)

Thailand aiming for complete end to lockdown on July 1: NSC Chief

@harald: so you are obviously a subject matter expert? is life so boring that dark conspiration th...(Read More)

Lockdown eased from Monday

What's missing yet again? Airport and beaches....(Read More)

Lockdown eased from Monday

What about the beaches? The Bangkok Post reports you can Ballroom Dance, but a swim in the ocean???...(Read More)