28 of 33 new lawmakers have ranks

28 of 33 new lawmakers have ranks

Twenty-eight of the 33 new lawmakers handpicked by the junta chief are military and police generals, most of them still active, according to Thai media.

Thai news outlets, citing a Government House source, said on Saturday that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had already submitted the all-male list of new National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members for royal endorsement.

The 2014 interim constitution was amended earlier to accommodate the enlargement of the NLA to no more than 250 members from 220, effective on Sept 2.

Gen Prayut had cited the large number bills to be deliberated as the reason for the increase.

The junta appointed 200 NLA members after the coup in May 2014. Twelve subsequently resigned and 31 more were added. After that, two died, leaving 217 before the latest appointments, which bring the total to 250.

Of the 28 men with ranks, most are officers promoted to key positions in the latest military shuffle. Among them are Gen Somsak Nilbunjerdkul, the assistant army chief; ACM Sutthipong Inseewong, the assistant air force chief; and Luechai Ruddit, the navy chief of staff and brother of former assistant army chief Kampanart Ruddit.

The five civilians are Chen Numchaisiri, the new chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries; Vittaya Phiewpong, a former Ayutthaya governor and vice agriculture minister; Preedee Daochai, a senior executive vice-president of Kasikornbank; Suchart Trakulkasemsuk, a Court of Appeal judge; and Charoensak Silakij, chairman of the Kasetsart University Officials Council and a former national reform councillor.

NLA members do not receive salaries. Instead, each one is paid a position allowance of 71,230 baht and an extra allowance of 42,330 a month, totalling 113,560 baht. If he is on any NLA committees, he receives 1,500 baht for each meeting he attends.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said two years ago that a state official may not receive salaries from more than one source but may accept unlimited position allowances and other compensation so long as the payments are not called a salary.

Each NLA member can also hire up to three experts and assistants, who are each paid 15,000 to 24,000 baht a month.

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