Isoc defends new internal security move

Isoc defends new internal security move

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha used the still-valid Section 44 powers from the early coup days to put the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) in charge of all security in every province. Gen Prayut is the commander of Isoc. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha used the still-valid Section 44 powers from the early coup days to put the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) in charge of all security in every province. Gen Prayut is the commander of Isoc. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) on Thursday denied its decision to set up provincial internal security administration committees was politically motivated.

Isoc spokesman Peerawach Saengthong said the move has nothing to do with the upcoming general election slated for next November, insisting it is part of a long-term security management plan to better handle domestic threats.

Critics say a political agenda may have been behind the project after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha invoked his sweeping powers under Section 44 to amend the internal security legislation to set up the Internal Security Administration Committee to help Isoc deal with domestic threats.

Under the same order, regional and provincial internal security administration committees would also be set up to supervise and advise on security issues.

While the prime minister will take charge of the national committee, the smaller regional level branches will be chaired by Isoc's regional directors and the provincial committees will be headed by Isoc provincial directors, who double as provincial governors, Maj Gen Peerawach said.

A source familiar with internal security issues said Thursday the amendment to the internal security law will give more power to provincial governors.

These governors often play a key role in helping parties get local candidates elected in polls.

However, the Isoc spokesman stressed the new committees will comprise representatives from about 40 state agencies as well as specialists.

"Their primary job will be to assess the security situation and use the findings to set guidelines to draft operational plans. Other tasks will include reviewing security plans to ensure the public is well-protected," he said.

Under the order published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday, Gen Prayut, who also serves as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, cited new security challenges to justify the latest move.

"Security threats are fast-changing. They can become complex and take many forms and they can come from outside and within," the order said.

"The situation calls for further amendments to the Internal Security Act to authorise [Isoc] to handle those threats," it added.

Chaired by either the prime minister or a deputy prime minister, the national committee -- dubbed the security "super-board" -- will supervise and advise Isoc on security operations and lay down guidelines governing its operations.

The defence and interior ministers will serve as deputies while members include commanders of the armed forces and the Isoc secretary-general.


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