More than 500 politicians own property worth a total of nearly 25 billion baht, which indicates why some of them are opposed to a proposed land and buildings tax, an advocacy group said.
A study carried out by Local Action Links (LocalAct), a non-profit organisation protecting farmers’ land rights, showed that 530 politicians own land or buildings worth a combined 24.48 billion baht. The figures come from public documents filed with the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission between 2011 and 2014.
Pongthip Samranchit, LocalAct’s director, said the 530 former members of parliament own a total of 8,388 land parcels covering 68,765.5 rai and valued at 18.1 billion baht.
On average, each one owns 129.7 rai of land, the group said.
The politicians also own 1,835 buildings worth 6.4 billion baht and each owns 3.5 building units on average, LocalAct said.
Ms Pongthip said the value of land and buildings held by the 530 former MPs averaged 46.2 million baht each.
The study shows that 14 own land covering more than 1,000 rai, 25 have more than 500 rai, and 126 more than 100 rai each.
Ms Pongthip said the government wants to bring in the land and buildings tax to gather enough funds to spend on assisting the poor and farmers with no land. The government should start to intervene to ensure a fairer distribution of land and the land tax would be a suitable tool to do that.
However, if the government’s aim is to fairly distribute land and not to generate revenue, those with only small and low-value plots should be exempt, she said.
Politicians are not the largest group of landlords, according to the Land Department data.
LocalAct last week issued a similar report on nationwide landholdings.
The report showed that the Sirivadhanabhakdi family owns the most land in Thailand, with more than 630,000 rai, followed by the Chearavanont family (200,000 rai) and United Palm Oil Industry Plc (44,400 rai).