Univer­sity coun­cil mem­bers urged to shelve res­ig­na­tion plans

The Nation - - FRONT PAGE -

ED­U­CA­TION Min­is­ter Teer­akiat Jare­on­set­tasin has urged coun­cil mem­bers at state uni­ver­si­ties to hold back their planned res­ig­na­tions, as there is still a pos­si­bil­ity they may be ex­empt from the new as­set-dec­la­ra­tion re­quire­ment.

“The Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion [NACC] has promised to lis­ten to opinions from all sides and ef­forts have been made to pre­vent the prob­lems that may arise out of the new rule,” Teer­akiat said yes­ter­day.

He was speak­ing amid re­ports that sev­eral mem­bers of state uni­ver­si­ties’ coun­cils had ex­pressed an in­ten­tion to re­sign over the newly in­tro­duced as­set-dec­la­ra­tion re­quire­ment.

Pro­mul­gated in the Royal Gazette on Novem­ber 1, the new rule will take ef­fect on De­cem­ber 2 and will re­quire hold­ers of key po­si­tions in the pub­lic sec­tor to de­clare their as­sets to the NACC.

Pres­i­dents of state uni­ver­si­ties and their coun­cil mem­bers, as well as top ex­ec­u­tives of pub­lic or­gan­i­sa­tions and state funds, and chiefs of the Armed Forces in­clud­ing the po­lice force are among those who will have to de­clare their as­sets.

So far, the loud­est protests ap­pear to have come from the higher-ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

Mass res­ig­na­tions are ex­pected at the coun­cils of sev­eral higher-ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes, in­clud­ing Chu­la­longkorn Univer­sity. Among high-pro­file fig­ures to have al­ready sig­nalled their in­ten­tion to leave their coun­cils over the new rule is Con­sti­tu­tion Draft­ing Com­mit­tee’s for­mer chair Meechai Ruchuphan, who will leave the Ra­jab­hat Ra­jana­garindra Univer­sity’s Coun­cil.

“It’s not that we do not wel­come scru­tiny. It’s just that pre­par­ing as­set dec­la­ra­tions is quite com­pli­cated and any mis­take can lead to big trou­ble like as­set seizure dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” Ra­jab­hat Ra­jana­garindra Univer­sity coun­cil mem­ber Mon­tri Numna said. He es­ti­mated that 12 coun­cil mem­bers, in­clud­ing Meechai, would ten­der their res­ig­na­tions on Novem­ber 17.

“If such a huge num­ber of coun­cil mem­bers leave, the coun­cil may lack a quo­rum to ap­prove sev­eral key is­sues, in­clud­ing ap­proval of de­grees for grad­u­ates,” Mon­tri said.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Wissanu Krea-ngam, who was as­signed by Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-o-cha to ex­plore so­lu­tions over the is­sue,

said he had pre­pared about 10 ques­tions for the up­com­ing meet­ing with the NACC. “I be­lieve we will be able to find some so­lu­tions,” Wissanu said.

NACC Pol Gen­eral Watchara­pol Prasarn­ra­jkit said he ex­pected the meet­ing to be held soon, so the is­sue can be set­tled quickly, per­haps as early as next week.

“In the mean­time, we are in the process of gather­ing the opinions of af­fected peo­ple,” he said.

The Univer­sity Pres­i­dents Coun­cil of Thai­land is set to of­fi­cially sub­mit its protest against the as­set-dec­la­ra­tion re­quire­ment for uni­ver­si­ties’ coun­cil mem­bers to the NACC to­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.