Payungsak Chartsutthipol will not remain as chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), say lawyers familiar with the case.
FTI vice-chairman Thanit Sorat (seated right), together with chiefs of the FTI provincial councils, says a new board meeting will be held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok on Dec 24. Whoever is voted chairman on that day will have the legitimacy to lead the group, he says. PATTARACHAI PEECHAPANICH
Sompholn Trakulroong, an independent lawyer, said Mr Payungsak, who claims he is still the chief of Thailand's largest business network, is no longer holding his title as he was removed late last month and now only serves as a committee member.
Citing Mr Payungsak's failure to lobby the government for a delay to the nationwide daily minimum wage hike to 300 baht, 139 of 182 committee members present at last month's meeting voted to remove Mr Payungsak as chairman. There are 347 committee members in total.
Santi Vilassakdanont was chosen to lead the FTI in an unusual meeting last month in defiance of Mr Payungsak, but Mr Santi resigned shortly after.
Mr Payungsak has reiterated that he has never resigned. He has asked the Industry Ministry to investigate the case. He also told his opponents to take the case to the Central Administrative Court, a process that takes up to three years.
But Mr Sompholn said the FTI conflict should be solved through negotiations rather than by using the law.
"The FTI is still dominated by the government, but the point is whether or not the outcome last month was just. Whether it be the prime minister or the court, they all need to take into account this issue," said Mr Sompholn, who is also director of HNP Counsellors Co.
Another independent lawyer, Teerawuut Prakaysantisuk, agreed with Mr Sompholn that Mr Payungsak had no right to obstruct last month's meeting.
Chatchawas Sethaluck, the managing director of Infinitum Legal (Thailand) Co, said Mr Payungsak incorrectly cited that two-thirds of more than 7,000 FTI members must agree to remove him, as the measure applies only to removing committee members.
"Although the FTI Act does not have regulations on removing the chairman, I think we should use related regulations concerning the election of the chairman, which requires half of the votes of committee members," he said.
Meanwhile, opponents of Mr Payungsak claim they will be able to remove him at the next meeting on Dec 24.
FTI vice-chairman Thanit Sorat said he is confident Mr Payungsak will be removed, as 40 provincial FTI chairmen representing more than 180 committee member votes were present at yesterday's media briefing.
He said more than half the committee members want Mr Payungsak to resign and call another fair election.
"If Mr Payungsak does not resign, it will send a signal that it is OK for executives at other companies or organisations to do the same even if half the members don't want him or her," said Mr Thanit.
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter