CDC's Meechai denies daughter's job is nepotism
Daughter right for job, Meechai insists
Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Meechai Ruchupan has rejected accusations of nepotism after it emerged his daughter was appointed to work as his deputy secretary soon after the panel was established.
Mr Meechai defended the appointment by saying the role had to be filled by someone reliable and who could be trusted to keep the panel's work confidential.
As such, his daughter, Mayura Chuangchote, was qualified, he said.
The committee was set up by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), and positions within it rank as government posts. Mr Meechai was appointed by the NCPO to head the committee.
"A lot of the NCPO's work is confidential. We need someone we can trust," Mr Meechai said.
"Moreover, this sort of position is only temporary and has no office overseeing it. [Since becoming committee chairman] I am no longer a government official, so I didn't have anyone from a government department to turn to for help."
He added that Ms Mayura was earmarked for the role, which commands a monthly salary of 47,500 baht, after he took office.
Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intarasombat, who is also a legal expert, said: "The appointment might be legitimate, but when there are doubts among the public, that presents a problem.
"Mr Meechai's position is equivalent to a politician's in that it relies on public trust.
"When the people do not trust you, whatever you produce might be rendered useless."
Mr Nipit suggested that if any other candidate besides Ms Mayura had similar qualifications, then they should have been selected.
"It's difficult to say you trust your relatives and no one else," he said.
Similarly, the Pheu Thai Party's former deputy spokeswoman, Sunisa Lertpakawat, said Mr Meechai's argument that it is better to use a family member to keep official secrets is "unprofessional".
"This means he is not keeping family and professional matters separate," she said.
"This is not a good example for public work. Why do we have laws on conflicts of interest?"
Mr Meechai said it was not true that politicians were prohibited from having their family members work with them.
Such prohibition covers only senator candidates with relatives who are existing politicians, as senators should be politically neutral.