Move Forward proposes amnesty for political, Article 112 offenders

The Move Forward Party, a political party known for its anti-establishment stance, has proposed a series of reforms as its platform for the next general elections that include amending the lese majeste law and military downsizing.


The party calls for amnesty for political offences and those jailed for violating Article 112 of the penal code which makes insulting the monarchy a criminal offence.


Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat unveild the party’s reform platform in nine areas in a press conference on Saturday. Pita said political reform is a prerequisite for serious changes that Thailand badly needs.


“We want to highlight political reform because if our politics is still in a bad state, we can’t expect to solve economic, social or other problems facing the country,” he said.


Party spokesman Rangsiman Rome said the party wants Article 112 to be amended so that it cannot be arbitrarily used for political purposes or to stifle freedom of expression.   It also wants to see a less severe penalty for offences under the article.


The party also calls for a blanket amnesty for all political offences dating back to 2014, the year the military toppled the Yingluck government in a military coup as well as those found guilty of lese majeste.


The military is one of the party’s main targets for its reform programmes. Pijarn Chaowapattanawongse, a deputy leader of Move Forward, said the party is proposing that no former military officers can hold Cabinet portfolio within seven years of their retirement. “This is to put a stop to the tradition of military patronage system,” he said, referring to the practice of using military positions as a springboard for political power.


Pijarn said the party also wants an end to military conscription and a dissolution of the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC), an all-powerful security unit that he said has a long history of power abuses.


The party also proposes that Buddhist monks be allowed to vote.


Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

Loss of water retention areas worsens flood situation in Ubon Ratchathani

The loss of natural water retention areas, through a lack of proper urban planning, is being blamed for the unusually serious flooding in the north-eastern province of Ubon Ratchathani this year.


In Nong Kin Phen sub-district, one of the 16 sub-districts in Warin Chamrap district, all four villages have been under 2 to 4 meters of water for a month.


Shaped like a pan, Nong Kin Phen floods almost every year during the rainy season, but villagers say that this year is the worst in 44 years.


One villager said that Ubon Ratchathani has undergone rapid development over the past decade, with many housing estates, shopping malls and buildings popping up, all of which required the raising of the ground’s level, to lift building foundations, above its surroundings.


When it rains, water flows onto the lower-lying land, such as in Warin Chamrap district.


Another villager said that more extreme weather will worsen flood situation in the future.


The water level in the Mun River, which flows through Ubon Ratchathani province, is falling slightly and steadily and it is anticipated that it will drop to below its banks in mid-November.


Villagers in Nong Kin Phen sub-district said that, apart from human hardships, there are about 500,000 cattle and poultry,which are now starving, and animal feed provided by the Livestock Development Department is not sufficient to meet the demand.


Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

25th victim of Chon Buri’s Mountain B pub fire dies Saturday

The Mountain B pub fire in Sattahip District of Chon Buri Province on August 5th claimed its 25th victim yesterday (Saturday).


26-year-old Parichart Kwanyoengyong was admitted to the Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital in Sattahip for treatment of burns on the night of the fire. She was there for a day before being transferred to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Bangkok for treatment. Yesterday, it was decided not to continue her treatment, because her body was not respondingto it.


The victim’s sister, Darawadi Katekaew, told the media that Parichart suffered a blood infection, as well as lung and kidney problems, requiring dialysis around the clock.


She said that her body will be brought back to Rayong province for a funeral at Nong Wa Temple.


Thirteen people, mostly customers of the pub and some staff members and musicians, died on the night of the deadly fire. 44 others were injured, including several who suffered serious burns, twelve of whom have since died in hospital.


Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service