Regime names experts for strategy panel
Old hands figure among list of 12
Veteran figures are strongly represented among the 12 newly-appointed experts to work with top military figures in the 34-member national strategy committee.
Yet Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted the committee, which includes several military officers, is not being set up to extend the regime's power.
The prime minister said yesterday his cabinet selected the first 12 experts -- from a maximum quota of 17 -- because he wants to reserve five seats for "good people who volunteer to work with us".
The other 17 committee members are high-ranking state officials including Gen Prayut, the House speaker, the Senate president, military chiefs, police top brass and leading government officials.
Gen Prayut will chair the national strategy committee, which will draft a 20-year plan for the nation.
He said the committee aims to solve problems that have plagued Thailand by replacing "old patterns" of management with a more suitable strategy.
The 12 experts appointed yesterday include several who have already worked for the government, including five incumbent ministers.
The include Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, who will oversee political affairs.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, former secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Supachai Panitchpakdi and Bangkok Bank president Chartsiri Sophonpanich will draft plans for national economic direction.
Kasikorn Bank CEO Banthoon Lamsam and former Siam Cement Group chief executive Kan Trakulhoon will work on social issues.
Former National Reform Council member Thienchay Kiranandana and Minister of the PM's Office Suvit Maesincee will devise educational plans.
Ex-social development and human security minister Poldej Pinpratheep will work on public health affairs.
Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong has been asked to oversee national resources and environmental issues while Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam will work on legal affairs.
Industry Ministry Uttama Savanayana will be responsible for the future direction of science and technology.
Mr Wissanu said the cabinet appointed five ministers because they have been working on national strategy plans and their experience is needed.
Other experts can replace them later if appropriate, Mr Wissanu said.
According to a source, four of the 12 experts were earlier assigned to work on national reform committees.
They are Mr Banthoon, a committee member on national administration; Mr Kan, who sits in a committee on bureaucratic reform; Mr Chartsiri, who works on the committee for economic affairs; and Dr Poldej, a committee member on public health.
All 17 of the experts will work with another 13 committee members who will be appointed to the committee by their respective posts.
They include leaders from all three armed forces, the national police chief and the permanent secretary for defence.
Their ranks will be bolstered by the chairmen of the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the National Farmers Council and the Thai Bankers Association.
The cabinet resolved yesterday to appoint Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minster Prawit Wongsuwon as deputy chief of the committee.
Prawit: Panel's deputy chief