A change in government and bureaucratic red tape is stalling progress in resolving problems besetting poor people, a seminar was told yesterday.
People's Movement for a Just Society (Pmove) adviser Prayong Doklamyai said his network wants to put forward four urgent demands to the cabinet to speed up efforts to solve them.
The demands include studying the environmental impact of the Pak Moon dam, setting up a land bank to help the landless, providing protection for communities pending the issuing of community rights land deeds and following up on the low-cost Ban Man Kong housing project.
The seminar titled "Poverty-solving: Lessons from Pmove" was jointly organised by the Thai Journalists Association, the Isra Institute and the Thai Journalism Development Foundation.
Mr Prayong said the previous Democrat Party-led government had agreed to tackle the issues, but following the change in administration no efforts have been made to do so.
Mr Prayong also said Pmove is drafting a bill on a progressive land tax, a bill on community land deeds and a bill on the creation of a land bank.
The group will launch a campaign to collect 1 million signatures in support of the bills and submit it to parliament.
Pmove coordinator Krissakorn Silarak said even though Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had assigned her deputy Chalerm Yubamrung to chair a committee to look into the network's causes, its 10 subcommittees had still failed to make progress.
"What prompts the people to take to the streets to protest is the bureaucratic system, which hinders efforts to implement state policies," Mr Krissakorn said.
The premier's deputy secretary-general Suporn Atthawong said the government had been preoccupied with dealing with the severe flooding in 2011 and its consequences for many months, which held up progress in addressing the group's demands.
Democrat MP for Trang Sathit Wongnongtoey said the previous government led by his party had issued a cabinet resolution to protect communities under the community land rights programme and to set up the land bank. The current government has failed to implement them, he said.
Law Reform Commission of Thailand deputy chairwoman Sunee Chairos said the state has tried to decentralise its power through development projects but without public participation.
About 1,000 Pmove members have camped outside Government House since May 6 demanding speedy solutions.