Academics oppose Section 112 change
A group of academics has voiced its opposition to any proposal to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, and the constitution, saying that amendments could endanger the monarchy.
- Published: 14/01/2012 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Thailand is under pressure from both internal and international groups to change the lese majeste law, while certain political groups are pushing for charter amendment.
But Komsan Pokong, an academic from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, said Section 112 is still appropriate and the monarchy is not to blame for any of the country's problems.
It is only a target of a political dictator group with no interest in the general public, he said.
Mr Komsan claimed that before the 2006 coup which unseated Thaksin Shinawatra, there were few lese majeste cases, but since then there has been an attempt from some political groups that are interested in building a new Thai state to try to destabilise the monarchy.
He is among the group of 26 academics from seven educational institutes including the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida), Sukhothai Thammathirat, Chulalongkorn, Thammasat, Rangsit, Mae Fah Luang, Prince of Songkla and Burapha universities, and independent academics.
The academic yesterday launched the Siam Pracha Piwat group aimed at helping cure what they say is a deteriorating Thai society.
Another group member, Taweesak Sutkawatin, from Nida, reiterated that the monarchy is not a problem, as it has been the figurehead of Thai society for more than 700 years.
He said the monarchy has not failed to keep up with Thailand's development. Rather, it has continued to evolve since the change from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy in 1932.
Mr Taweesak said the government is required by law to protect and uphold the monarchy.
The group's agenda is to promote the monarchy as a valued institution of Thai society and the Thai political system, and to support political, economic and social reforms in order to eliminate dictatorial influence by political capitalists.
Banjerd Singkhaneti, another Nida academic, said the group has observed conflicts in Thai society over the past six years and would like to educate people who have been led to mistakenly believe the country was controlled by the military.
This was a thing of the past, he said, adding that the latter-day problem is that of capitalistic dictators operating under a guise of democracy.
Mr Banjerd also believes this is not the time to amend the constitution as conflicts in society are ongoing.
"It is not clear how the 2007 Constitution has caused problems for the people," he said.
"What is clear is that it has caused problems for politicians only."
He added that if the constitution is amended now, it would benefit only political parties and lend absolute power to the government to control state agencies and the justice system.
Pichai Rattanadilok na Phuket, another Nida academic, said elections in Thailand do not represent a free and fair system. It is not real democracy as money is still used to bribe voters and the Election Commission could not contain it.
"What you see today is a family of capitalists who have monopolised power in Thailand, and members of parliament, who are likely provincial-level capitalists, will just try to obstruct their rival groups' bids for power," Mr Pichai said.
About the author
- Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol
- Position: Reporter