Senators: Rice scheme needs parliament's approval
Petition Constitution Court for a ruling
- Published: 16/10/2012 at 02:34 PM
- Online news:
A large group of senators submitted a petition to the Constitution Court, via the senator speaker, on Tuesday seeking a ruling on the government’s controversial rice pledging scheme.
The letter was signed by 67 senators.
Core leader of the self-styled group of 40 senators, Paibul Nititawan, handed the petition to first deputy speaker Surachai Liangboonchai. The petition asks the court to rule whether the rice scheme needs parliamentary consent under Article 190 of the charter.
Mr Paibul said he believes the rice pledging programme required approval from members of parliament for three reasons:
1) The programme significantly affects a huge amount of the state budget as its operational loss is expected to be about 44 billion baht.
2) This scheme could destroy the country’s rice exporting system and could damage investment in rice production and the rice trade.
3) It has effects on the country’s social and economic security because the budget loss could substantially increase the government’s public debt.
The senator said he was confident the court would accept the petition for consideration because the 67 senators were excising their constitutional rights under Article 154, Section 4.
This section stipulates that a group comprising one-tenth of the senators is eligible to submit a petition to the Constitution Court via the senate speaker.
This petition was differed from the case that the court had already rejected, the petition submitted by a group of academics, he said.
Mr Paibul said senators had asked for details of the government-to-government rice purchasing deals from the Foreign Trade Department, but the request was denied as the department said the agreements were secret and could not be disclosed to the general public.
He urged the government to focus on ensuring transparency in the rice scheme, because it could cause damage to the country.
He insisted that his group of senators were not intent on toppling the government, as has been alleged.
If the programme is transparent and really yields benefits to rice farmers, the government would be praised for that. Otherwise, the government must be held responsible for any failure, he added.
Mr Surachai said he would first verify the documents, including the names of the senators, before forwarding the petition to the Constitution Court.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
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