Conscript deductions clarified
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Conscript deductions clarified

Defence ministry issues new rules after uproar over unusual and excessive charges

Conscripts show their ATM cards and cash withdrawal slips as the army tries to promote its activities. But newly recruited soldiers in some units might not be aware that they have expenses to pay — from uniforms to a septic tank pumping fee. (Photo: Wassana Nanuam) (Photo: Wassana Nanuam)
Conscripts show their ATM cards and cash withdrawal slips as the army tries to promote its activities. But newly recruited soldiers in some units might not be aware that they have expenses to pay — from uniforms to a septic tank pumping fee. (Photo: Wassana Nanuam) (Photo: Wassana Nanuam)

The Ministry of Defence has issued a set of criteria to determine which expenses can be deducted from conscripts’ salaries to ensure military recruits have enough money left to spend.

The move comes after a case involving alleged deductions from conscripts’ salaries for utilities and miscellaneous items recently emerged on social media, with reports of them even being charged for WiFi and a 500-baht deduction for a septic tank pumping fee.

The soldier who reported the latter fee produced a slip showing that deductions ate up 60% of his monthly salary.

Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang ordered an investigation into the matter.

Under the new criteria, costs that can be deducted from conscripts’ salaries include a food service fee of about 2,100 per month per head, or 70 baht per day, the ministry said on Thursday.

Military units are also allowed to deduct from conscripts’ salaries costs for their personal items that cannot be reimbursed from the ministry’s budget.

Often, new recruits may not be able to get items for personal use when reporting to military units. Therefore, the units will provide them with the supplies they need. It is cheaper to buy from suppliers in bulk.

If any units are found to have bought them above market price, those involved will be punished, said the ministry.

Another deduction is voluntary. It involves laundry fees, clothing alteration fees, and service fees at a post exchange (PX) or a store at a military unit that sells merchandise and services to military personnel.

Costs that should not be deducted include utility fees, a septic tank pumping fee, WiFi fees, costs for military field gear, ATK test kits, face masks and alcohol sanitisers.

The ministry has suggested military units use income from their businesses to pay for insurance costs.

Jirayu Houngsub, the ministry’s spokesman for political affairs, previously said that Mr Sutin had investigated all military units regarding the dissemination of documents indicating the deduction of WiFi charges and other personal items for conscripts.

They included insurance (330 baht), daily items (1,100 baht), and a bag (590 baht). Conscripts earn 10,990 baht a month on average.

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