Future Forward submits bill to end the draft

Future Forward submits bill to end the draft

A man reacts after drawing a black card, which means he will not be drafted, at a recruiting station in Pomprap Sattruphai district, Bangkok, on April 1, 2018. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A man reacts after drawing a black card, which means he will not be drafted, at a recruiting station in Pomprap Sattruphai district, Bangkok, on April 1, 2018. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Conscription will be replaced by voluntary recruitment, except during wartime, and recruits must not be treated as personal houseboys if the Future Forward Party has its way.

The progressive party formally submitted its military enlistment bill, one of its key election campaign pledges, to House speaker Chuan Leekpai on Monday.

FFP party-list MP Pongsakorn Rodchompoo said the 1954 military service act was no longer in line with reality.

“Conscription curbs rights and liberties so we propose voluntary recruitment except during wartime.

Entering into military service must also be in line with human right and human dignity principles,” Lt Gen Pongsakorn said.

The ultimate goal is to create professional armed forces that are smaller but more efficient. The number of recruits will be lower but they will be trained more intensively. The saved budget will then be used to pay them more and provide scholarships for their studies.

Benefits and welfare must be reviewed and other laws might have to be amended accordingly, he added.

Under the bill, people aged 18-40 may apply, compared the conscription age of 20. The training period will more than double to five years from two.

Recruits will have a career and may advance to the rank of lieutenant colonel before being decommissioned at 46.

The bill also grants amnesty to draft dodgers before the bill is passed.

A system is required to prevent violations of rights at barracks and soldiers may not be served for personal use, with some mechanisms in place to constantly check for violations.

Over the past six years, demand for conscripts by the armed forces was on the rise, from 94,480 in 2013 to 104,734 last year.Their monthly salaries are around 10,000 baht.



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