Deputy House speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai and other MPs are struggling to explain the appointment of unqualified outsiders to work as advisors.
Critics are using words like "cronyism" and "nepotism" to describe the appointment of many ill-qualified outsiders to work on parliamentary committees.
President inquires into questionable hirings
Deputy House speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai explains how he decided to appoint red shirt leader Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphum as on of his advisers.
Outsiders appointed to work on parliamentary committees are to be investigated by a panel to see whether they are qualified for their posts or have been hired as a special favour.
The inquiry, ordered by parliament president Chai Chidchob, follows growing criticism of the questionable background of some appointed staff and nepotism by committee members.
Scepticism was raised when Democrat MP Watchara Petthong reported that a chief red shirt guard, Aree Krainara, who faces charges of terrorism in connection with political violence, served as an academic attached to the lower house panel on political development, mass media and general public participation.
That set off a string of allegations that some appointees are family members or close associates of politicians and have nothing to contribute to a committee.
Mr Chai said yesterday he would raise the issue with government chief whip Witthaya Kaewparadai and opposition chief whip Witthaya Buranasiri and work out ways to prevent inappropriate appointments.
"The issue has cast the parliament in a bad light and made it a subject of criticism," he said.
Mr Chai said the heads of all house committees would be asked to be careful when appointing outsiders to serve on their panels to succeed those whose terms expired on Sept 30.
Mr Watchara yesterday questioned the appointment of red shirt leader Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphum as adviser to deputy house speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai. He said Mr Wiputhalaeng served on Col Apiwan's political working group in 2008 and 2009 with a monthly salary of 10,000 baht.
Mr Wiputhalaeng is among four red shirt leaders indicted on charges of laying siege to the Si Sao Thewes home of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda in July 2007.
Col Apiwan said yesterday Mr Wiputhalaeng was removed from the committee on May 1 when political tension heightened.
Col Apiwan said he did not know the red shirt leader until he was detained in connection with the siege of Gen Prem's home.
"I could sense that he was a good man. He is an upholder of democratic principles, which is the reason I asked him to work," he said.
Puea Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan yesterday defended Mr Aree's track record, saying he was a former staff member of Ramkhamhaeng University and was qualified to hold an advisory post.
He said Mr Aree was considered a suspect, not a convict, so he was qualified to hold the job.
"But as of now he no longer serves on the panel. His term expired and he has not been reappointed," he said.
Parliamentary statistics show almost 3,000 people work for MPs and are on the lower house payroll.
Each MP can employ five personal assistants and one academic, which brings the total number of personal aides of MPs to 2,844. There are 474 serving MPs.
These personal aides include drivers and private secretaries. Some are party staff members seeking extra income or businessmen establishing political connections.
critic – someone who does not like something and states their opinion about it นักวิจารณ์
cronyism – the practice of giving jobs and other advantages to friends, especially in politics ระบบพวกพ้อง การเล่นพรรคเล่นพวก การเอื้อประโยชน์ให้แก่คนใกล้ชิดของตน
nepotism – the practice of using your power and influence to give jobs to people in your family instead of to people who deserve to have them คติเห็นแก่ญาติ การเล่นพรรคเล่นพวก
ill-qualified – not having the right experience or skills for a job ที่ไม่มีความคุณวุฒิพอ
inquiry – an official examination of a crime, accident, problem, etc., in order to get information or the truth การไต่สวน
questionable – involving doubts about whether something has been done properly ที่น่าสงสัย
hiring – a person who has been appointed to a paid position คนที่รับจ้าง
investigate – to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
panel – a group of people who make decisions or judgments คณะกรรมการ
post – a job in a company or organisation ตำแหน่งการงาน
favour – something you do for someone in order to help them ความช่วยเหลือ, ความเอื้อเฟื้อ
scepticism – doubting that something is true or useful ความสงสัย,ความแคลงใจ,ความระแวง,ความไม่เชื่อ
charge – to accuse someone officially of committing a crime ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
terrorism – the use of violence to achieve political aims การใช้ความรุนแรง
academic – someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job นักวิชาการ
mass media – radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group and aimed at a large audience การสื่อสารมวลชน, สื่อมวลชน
string – a series of similar or connected events that happen one after the other การเรียงต่อเนื่องของเหตุการณ์หรือสิ่งต่างๆ
allegation – a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved ข้อกล่าวหา
associate – someone you work with, especially in a business ผู้ที่มีความสัมพันธ์กัน (เช่น เพื่อน, ผู้ร่วมงาน, หุ้นส่วน)
contribute – to be a part of a group or an activity and help it to be successful สนับสนุน
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
whip – an official in a political party or government whose job is to make certain that other members go where they are needed and that they vote in the correct way วิป
opposition – of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government ฝ่ายค้าน ผู้ต่อต้าน
inappropriate – unsuitable ซึ่งไม่เหมาะสม
cast in a bad light – to make people feel less sure about or have less trust in something or someone ลดความเชื่อถือ
succeed – to replace someone in an important or powerful job or position
expire – to come to an end or stop being in use หมดอายุ
salary – a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job เงินเดือน
indict – to officially accuse someone of a serious crime ฟ้องร้อง
lay siege to – (of a group of people) to surround (go around all sides of) a building or place in order to protest about something or to force the people on the inside out เข้าห้อมล้อม เข้ายึด
Privy Council – the group of appointed advisors to the King of Thailand สภาองคมนตรีไทย
tension – the feelings caused by a lack of trust between people, groups or countries who do not agree about something and may attack each other ความตึงเครียด
detain – to keep someone in a police station or prison and not allow them to leave กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
upholder – someone who defends or keeps to a principle or law ผู้พิทักษ์รักษา ผู้ยืนหนัด
track record – (your reputation what people think of you), based on the things that you have done ภาพรวมของผลงานที่ผ่านมาซึ่งเป็นที่รับรู้
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
convict – someone who is in prison because they have committed a crime นักโทษ, ผู้ที่ถูกตัดสินว่ามีความผิ
payroll – the number of people employed by a company or organisation ;a list of all the people that a company or organisation employs and the money that each of them earns บัญชีเงินเดือน
aide – someone whose job is to help another person in their work ผู้ช่วย