Cabinet asked to review new land law

Cabinet asked to review new land law

The House of Representatives has agreed to ask the cabinet to either review or repeal the controversial Land and Building Act, which lawmakers argue will slash the income of local administrative organisations (LAOs).

The recommendations come from a study by the House committee on law, justice and human rights headed by Future Forward Party (FFP) MP Piyabutr Saengkanokkul.

Mr Piyabutr told the House on Thursday that LAOs stood to lose substantial revenue under the act, which was sponsored by the Finance Ministry, because it will reduce tax collected on land and buildings. He advised the cabinet to suspend the law and review its contents.

Chavalit Wichayasut, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Nakhon Phanom and law committee member, said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration alone will face a tax shortfall of up to 1.2 billion baht per year because of the law.

The LAOs supervising the Laem Chabang industrial estate could also see their tax revenue dwindle by 200 million baht a year. Tax from land and buildings foreclosed on by banks, or pending development within the industrial zones, would be cut by 90%, he added. "The fact the law has been enacted but its enforcement has been delayed [until March] raises questions about its merits," he said.

Veerakorn Kamprakob, a Palang Pracharath Party MP for Nakhon Sawan, said the law had loopholes and should be replaced with a more carefully written bill initiated by executive decree.

Deputy House speaker Supachai Phosu said the committee's study along with its proposals to amend or kill the law would be passed to the cabinet.

Chamnan Chanrueng, an FFP list MP, said the law might work in favour of big businesses by defining, for example, an industrial-scale chicken farm as land used for farming purposes, placing the business in a low tax bracket.

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