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NACC to seek feedback on MP gift limit

Reform panel chair backs higher cap

Worawit Sukboon, deputy secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission: Claims it is 'usual' for the NACC to pause new regulations to consider public opinion.

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The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has indicated that it will seek public feedback over its plan to change a rule that bars holders of political positions from receiving gifts worth more than 3,000 baht, following heavy criticism.

The move, which would see the cap of the gift price raised, has taken flak from various groups, including the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), politicians and activists, who said it could encourage corruption.

NACC deputy secretary-general Worawit Sukboon said on Sunday that it is usual for the NACC to gather feedback from various sides whenever it draws up any new regulations.

The NACC's legal office is drawing up a bill on national anti-corruption organic law to add to the constitution. Whatever revisions the anti-graft agency makes to the gift limit will be included in the bill, he said.

Panthep Klanarongran, chairman of the reform committee on the prevention and suppression of corruption, voiced support for the rule change, saying the cost of living had increased since the 3,000-baht limit was first introduced in 1999.

The planned change to the rule was revealed last week after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha came under fire for saying he would give two puppies, worth 6,000 baht each, to Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda and Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya.

The premier was speaking after he bought three puppies from a group of breeders of Bang Kaew dogs in Phitsanulok during a mobile cabinet trip on Dec 25.

Anti-graft activist Srisuwan Janya filed a petition with the NACC against the premier for allegedly giving a gift worth more than 3,000 baht to holders of political positions.

Mr Worawit said on Friday that the agency was considering adjusting the rule, but no conclusion on the matter had been reached.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the ACT, said that such rules were intended to prevent officials from gaining personal benefits on their positions and to ensure transparency. To raise the cap would be wrong and counter to what other countries have done.

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Vocabulary:

adjust : to change something slightly, especially to make it more correct, effective, or suitable - ปรับ

came under fire : received criticism - ถูกวิพากวิจารณ์

cap : an upper limit on an amount of money that can be spent or borrowed - ขีดสูงสุด, ครอบ

conclusion : a final decision - การสรุป การตกลงขั้นสุดท้าย

cost of living (noun): the amount of money that people need to pay for ordinary goods and services such as food, clothing and a place to live - ค่าครองชีพ

counter : to go against - ต้าน, แย้ง

file a petition : to formally give a document signed by many people to someone in power asking them to do something - ยื่นคำร้อง

flak : criticism - การวิจารณ์, การต่อต้าน

graft : corruption - การฉ้อโกง

organic law : a basic law for governing a country, in this case, a law required by the constitution.  - กฎหมายประกอบรัฐธรรมนูญ, กฎหมายหลัก, กฎหมายลูก

suppression (noun): preventing something from growing, developing or continuing - การขจัด, การหยุดยั้ง

transparency : an honest way of doing things that allows other people to know exactly what you are doing - ความโปร่งใส

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