Infrastructure bill allows govt to avoid parliament dodging normal govt spending examination.
A boy holds two flags at Asoke protest site on Wednesday evening. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
Court hears B2tr loan bill castigation
The government’s plan to borrow 2 trillion baht for transport development projects is illegal, dodges normal spending examination and will lead to losses to the nation, financial figures told the charter court.
The court was earlier asked to rule on the constitutionality of the government’s bill to authorise the Ministry of Finance to borrow 2 trillion baht to pay for transport development projects.
Opponents argued the special borrowing bill would enable the government to borrow money without including it in the national budget. As such, parliament would not be able to examine the spending.
The court listened to comments from financial figures yesterday, among them Pisit Leeahtam, former deputy finance minister and charter drafter. He told the court the borrowing bill violated the 2007 constitution which required that government spending must be included in its annual budget bill so it would be transparent and subject to examination. He also warned the borrowing bill could result in tax hikes as the government moved to repay the debt.
The Constitution Court asked Mr Pisit about the pros and cons of the borrowing bill. He said it showed the government intended to develop modern mass transit systems and improve national development but it also would make the spending non-transparent and violate the constitution.
Testifying next was former finance minister Thanong Bidaya. The court asked him if the borrowing constituted ''national money'' as defined by the government loan act.
Mr Thanong said the bill was written with the intention of making the sum not national money because the borrowed sums would not be included in any national budgets.
It would enable the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance to withdraw money without being examined under normal budgetary procedures, including examination by parliament. They would be required only to report their spending for parliament’s acknowledgement, the former finance minister said.
Mr Thanong said money under the borrowing bill should be considered national money and he wondered why the government wanted to keep it outside the normal budgetary process.
"If the bill is passed, other ministries will follow suit, which could have serious impacts on debt management, Mr Thanong said.
"The constitution says the government's economic plans must be based on the sufficiency economy and the national interest. Now is not the time for a high-speed railway.
"The money would be better spent on trains for the masses and agricultural and educational development,'' he said.
"High-speed trains really need really straight routes. That is impossible on our winding terrain. If the money is invested in better trains for the masses that reach the outer provinces, we can save 400-500 billion baht," Mr Thanong said.
Former finance minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala said the passage of the 2-trillion-baht borrowing bill would harm the monetary and fiscal systems, fiscal discipline and the nation' s credit rating.
Negative impacts on the national credit rating would make it difficult for the government to sell its bonds and woo investors, he said.
The court yesterday told parties involved to file their closing statement by Feb 27.
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acknowledgement: when someone shows that they received or accept something - การยอมรับ, การแสดงความขอบคุณ, การแสดงว่าได้รับ, การรับรู้
Act: a law passed by a country’s government - กฎหมาย
agricultural: of the science or practice of farming - ที่เกี่ยวกับเกษตรกรรม
annual: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด, ประจำปี
argue: to give reasons why you think that something is right/wrong, true/not true, etc, especially to persuade people that you are right - ห้เหตุผล, อ้างเหตุผล
authorise: to give official permission for something, or to give someone official permission to do something - ให้อำนาจ, มอบอำนาจ, ให้สิทธิ
based on: information or facts used to make calculation, judgement or decision - ตั้งอยู่บน,ยึดเป็นหลัก
bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย
bond: a way that companies and the government borrow money from many people each of which owns one or more "bonds" which are usually traded on securities exchanges - พันธบัตร
borrow: to take money from a bank, financial organisation, person, etc. and pay it back over a period of time - ยืม
borrowing: taking money from a bank, financial organisation, person, etc. and paying it back over a period of time - การยืม
budget: an amount of money able to be spent on something - งบประมาณ
budgetary: related to the budget or the amounts of money that an organization, a company or the government plans to spend during a period of time - เกี่ยวกับงบประมาณ
castigation: a severe criticism or fault-finding; severe scolding or verbal attack - วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง, วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง, เทศนา
charter: a constitution - รัฐธรรมนูญ
charter court: the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution - ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ
closing statement: the final speech or statement given by each side in a legal dispute in court -
comment: expressing an opinion - แสดงความคิดเห็น
constitute: to be considered to be something - ถือว่า, เห็นว่า, ประกอบด้วย
constitution: the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ
Constitution Court: the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution - ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ
constitutionality: whether or not a law, activity, etc. follows what is allowed in the constitution - การเห็นชอบตามรัฐธรรมนูญ
court: the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล
credit rating: a judgement made by a bank, etc. about how likely somebody is to pay back money that they borrow, and how safe it is to lend money to them - การจัดอันดับความน่าเชื่อถือ
debt: an amount of money that you owe - หนี้, นี้สิน
define: to describe clearly and exactly what something is - กำหนด, ระบุ, ทำให้ชัดเจน
deputy: a person who is given the power to do something instead of another person, or the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา
development: the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา
dodge: to avoid someone, especially someone who is trying to stop you - หลบหลีก
drafter: a person or group who write a document for consideration, but which not yet in its final form - ผู้บร่าง
educational institution: a school -
enable: to make someone able to do something, or to make something possible - ทำให้เป็นไปได้
examination: inspection, investigation, looking closely at the facts and details in a case in order to make a decision or judgement - การตรวจสอบ, การพิจารณาอย่างละเอียด
examine: to look at somebody/something closely, to see if there is anything wrong or to find the cause of a problem - ตรวจ
figure: someone who is important in some way - บุคคลสำคัญ
file: to take official action like making a complaint - ยื่น, ยื่นคำร้อง
finance minister: the minister in charge of managing the country's money กระทรวงการคลัง - รัฐมนตรีกระทรวงการคลัง
financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน
follow suit: to do the same thing as someone else - ทำตาม
former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
hike: an increase - การเพิ่มสูงขึ้น
illegal: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
impact: an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
impossible: something that cannot happen - เป็นไปไม่ได้
intended: planned; wanted to happen - ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
intention: a plan in your mind to do something - ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
invest: to spend money on something in order to make it better or more successful - ลงทุน
investor: a person or organization that invests money, i.e., uses money with the aim of making a profit from it, for example by buying property or buying shares in a company - นักลงทุน
management: the act or skill of dealing with people or situations in a successful way - การจัดการ
mass transit: involving the movement of large numbers of people, using buses, trains, etc. - การขนส่งมวลชน
masses: large numbers of people; mobs - ประชาชนจำนวนมาก
modernise: to make a system, methods, etc. more modern and more suitable for use at the present time - ทำให้ทันสมัย
nation: a country considered as a group of people with the same language, culture and history, who live in a particular area under one government; all the people in a country - ประเทศ, คนในประเทศ
national: for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
national interest: what is best for the country as a whole - ประโยชน์แห่งชาติ
negative: bad - ที่เป็นด้านลบ
normal: typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ
opponent: someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you - ผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม
parliament: the group of people who are elected to make and change the laws of a country; the building where members of parliament meet. - รัฐสภา
passage: the process of discussing/approving a bill in a parliament so that it can become law - การผ่าน
procedure: a way of doing something - ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ
project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
pros and cons: advantages and disadvantages - ข้อดีและข้อเสีย
protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง
province: on of many divisions of the government of a country into smaller parts - จังหวัด
require: to make somebody do or have something, especially because it is necessary according to a particular law or set of rules - บังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย) กำหนด
route: the roads, paths, waterways, etc., used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง
rule: (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision - ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
site: a place where something is located - สถานที่
straight: going from one place to another in a line without moving around or winding back and forth - ตรง, ไม่โค้ง, ไม่เบี้ยว
subject to: affected by - ได้รับผล
sufficiency economy: an economic principle under which the people of a country are able to meet their own needs by living moderately and in harmony with the natural environment - เศรษฐกิขแบบพอเพียง
sum: an amount of something, especially money - จำนวนเงิน
system: an organised set of ideas or theories or a particular way of doing something - ระบบ, หลักการ
terrain: an area of land, usually one that has particular physical features - ภูมิประเทศ
testify: to make a statement about something that you saw, know, or experienced, usually in a court of law or an official investigation - ให้การเป็นพยาน
transparent: not keeping anything secret; open - โปร่งใส
transport: moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
trillion: the number 1,000,000,000,000; one million million - ล้านล้าน
violate: to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
wind: to have many bends, curves or twists - หมุน,ม้วน
withdraw: to take money out of a bank account - ถอนเงินจากธนาคาร
woo: to try to get the support of someone - หาเสียง, ขอคะแนน
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