Prayut uses S44 to scrap NBTC selection

Prayut uses S44 to scrap NBTC selection

Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has used his special power to halt the process of screening and selecting seven members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

The order, issued under the power he has as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, was published in the Royal Gazette on Tuesday.

It cited “problems in implementing the process” which made it "inconsistent with the intention of the constitution".

The order cancelled the steps already taken and put on hold those yet to be followed until further notice.

The incumbent NBTC commissioners will continue to serve.

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) was scheduled to select seven commissioners of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on Thursday. But it voted to scrap the entire selection instead.

It reasoned that eight of the 14 candidates were not qualified even though they had been vetted by a screening committee made up of judges from the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court; representatives from the National Anti-Corruption Commission and state auditors; and the governor of the Bank of Thailand. 

The NLA members said some of those on the shortlist should not have passed screening since they had held shares or been executives or employees of telecom-related companies over the past year.

Since the law requires the number of candidates for an independent body to be selected by the NLA must be two times the required number, members decided to scrap the entire selection for fear of future complications.

An audio clip indicating the prime minister was not happy with the 14 telecom regulator candidates was subsequently leaked to media but the NLA insisted it was doctored and that Gen Prayut had never interfered with the NLA's decisions.

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