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Parliamentary Reform

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Proposed laws require MPs and those called to testify before parliament take their responsibilities seriously. 

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This is an extract from a larger article which can be read here.


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THAI PARLIAMENT: The power to demand, and be given, accountability by Mongkol Bangprapa


...What makes it difficult for parliament to fulfil its duties are the parliamentarians themselves. The quality of MPs is central to this issue, given that many walk into the lower house after successfully bribing voters in the election, or riding in on the financial backing of influential figures in their constituencies, only to become their voices in the lower house. The local sponsors are careless about the qualifications of their nominees. So long as they can represent their interests in parliament, that is good enough.

It is not surprising to see these groups of MPs paying no attention to their duty of checking what the government and the government agencies are doing. They show no commitment to attend assembly and panel meetings. That is why many sessions in the house were forced to adjourn on several occasions due to the lack of a quorum.

Many House committees have few panellists in the room because some only signed up for the session simply to pocket the per diem for the meetings and then disappeared. That is why several House committees cannot function properly.

MPs could argue against this point. For them, panels in parliament do not work because they have no power to force officials to be summoned to the forums. They can send letters asking cabinet ministers or senior officials to appear before any panel to give them information on the issues under investigation. But those officials almost always send their subordinates who have little or no knowledge at all about the issues being looked into. Sometimes the person called does not even bother to send anyone to represent him before the panels. One MP once aired this frustration on the floor. A House committee probing suspected irregularities at Thai Airways International had sent a letter to an airline board member asking him to appear before the panel. That letter was passed on from the board member to his subordinates and eventually the person assigned to meet the panel was an airline staff member in charge of selling tickets to passengers. That made the committee look rather foolish, the same MP complained...

Mongkol Bangprapa reports on political affairs for the Bangkok Post.

(Source: Bangkok Post, THAI PARLIAMENT, The power to demand, and be given, accountability, 20/01/2011, Mongkol Bangprapa, link

parliament
(noun) - the group of people elected from the different cities and regions of a country to make laws of and debate national issues (See Wikipedia) รัฐสภา
parliamentarians (noun) - a member of parliament elected to represent people who live in some area of a country (constituency), also called "legislator" สมาชิกรัฐสภา
parliamentary (adjective) - having to do with or related to parliament
MP - same as "parliamentarian"

reform -
improving the way the government operates, especially changes to make the system more fair or work more effectively  ปฏิรูป
testify -
to make a statement about something that you saw, know, or experienced, in a court of law or to a parliamentary committee, to give evidence to support the claim that some event happened เบิกความ, ให้การ, ให้ปากคำ, ให้ถ้อยคำต่อศาลในฐานะพยาน

power - ability to control and influence events อำนาจ, อิทธิพล
demand - ask forcefully for something to happen or to be given you, say it must happen 
accountability - a situation where people have the right to ask you about or criticise you for something that has happened ความน่าเชื่อถือ

duty -
some task you must do as part of your work or job ความรับผิดชอบ, หน้าที่รับผิดชอบ, หน้าที่
fulfil duties - complete your duties (the tasks you must do)
central - most important
central to this issue - the most important thing in this issue
issue - a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
lower house - House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament which has elected representatives from relatively small areas (constituencies), as opposed to the Senate which is the upper house of parliament and represents larger areas or is partially appointed สภา (See Wikipedia on bicameralism and lower house)

bribing - giving money or presents to someone so that they will help you by doing something dishonest or illegal ติดสินบน
election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง
financial backing - support, giving money for some business or project สนับสนุน
influential - can control events because they are powerful ที่มีอิทธิพลต่อ
influential figures - powerful people (who control events)

constituencies - the voters who elected an MP, for whom the MP is working for, to satisfy their needs
become their voices -
speak for them and act for them, represent them

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
qualifications - the abilities, qualities, degrees, etc. that you need for a particular job or activity
long - to want something very much ต้องการ ปรารถนา
represent - to act, speak or be present officially for another person or people เป็นตัวแทน
interests - connections that you may benefit from (gain or lose from depending on how events turn out), therefore affects your attitude to it and the way you deal with it

pay attention -
listen or watch something very carefully (not letting the mind wander)
pay no attention - not listening or watching carefully
duty - something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ
checking - controlling and limiting
commitment - a promise to continue something, a requirement; something that you must do ข้อผูกมัด, ข้อสัญญา, ความรับผิดชอบ การใ้ห้คำมั่น
panel - a group of people brought together to discuss, investigate, and give advice on a subject
adjourn - to temporarily end a meeting or law trial (until the next day, for example)
lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
quorum - the smallest number of people who must be present at a meeting to allow official decisions to be made องค์ประชุม, จำนวนบุคคลที่กฎหมายกำหนด
lack of a quorum - do not have enough the people who need to be at the meeting, to start the meeting or make any decisions
session - a formal meeting of an institution such as a parliament or a court การประชุม
per diem - the amount of money given each day to cover expenses to a person doing some work
pocket the per diem - take the per diem, get the per diem

function - to work or operate in a normal way เป็นปกติ ใช้การได้ปกติ

force - require or make people do something, even if they do not want to do it   บังคับ
summoned - officially ordered someone to come to a place, especially a court of law เรียกตัว
issues - subjects that need to be considered, discussed and debated about ประเด็น
investigation - the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
subordinate - a person who works for or under another person, who has less power  
look into - check out or investigate a situation

not bother to - (because it is not important)
frustration - an annoyed or discouraged feeling because you cannot do or have what you want ความผิดหวัง, ความไม่พอใจ
air frustration - express your frustration, show or tell people that you are unhappy or unsatisfied about something
probing -
gathering information about and investigating something that happened, looking for irregularities (same as "look into" above)
suspected - thought to have happened to to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
irregularities - a situation in which the rules, laws or usual ways of doing something have not been followed (and may indicate wrongdoing or corruption) ความไม่สงบ

board - same as "board of directors"
board of directors - the group of people elected by the stock shareholders of a corporation to oversee the operation of a corporation at a very high level (See Wikipedia)
director - a member of a company's board of directors
corporate governance - the policies and procedures used by a board of directors in overseeing the operations of a company (See Wikipedia)

eventually - at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
X in charge of Y - X manages and controls activity or project Y

affairs - events and activities relating to the government, politics, economy etc of a country, region, or the world ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างประเทศ

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