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Govt Plans To Reform Hundreds Of Laws


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LEGAL CHANGES : Plans to reform hundreds of laws

Govt keen to update laws governing business, taxes, bankruptcy, schools

BANGKOK: -- The government yesterday unveiled an ambitious plan to reform more than 1,000 laws. They include laws governing private schools, copyrights, foreign businesses, taxes, bankruptcy, anti-dumping measures and prostitution.

The Finance Ministry is the most aggressive agency, saying it plans to amend 900 to 1,000 laws to improve the country’s international competitiveness, restructure the economy, and support businesses to make use of resources through outsourcing from neighbouring countries.

Suparut Kawatkul, Finance Ministry permanent secretary, said yesterday the proposed amendments would assist business operations and lead to innovations, solve poverty problems, and help the country cope better with technology advancements.

Addressing a televised Cabinet meeting, Suparut said the legal changes would also mean that some taxpayers who have a net-zero tax-payment level would not have to submit annual returns, while some small enterprises would not have to submit annual balance sheets.

Suparut said under the programme, the ministry would consolidate and dissolve hundreds of outdated laws, helping to reduce regulatory costs for businesses.

A law would also be promulgated to allow the establishment of a “super-holding” company that would hold shares in all state enterprises. Modelled on Singapore’s Tamasek, the super-holding firm – which the Finance Ministry would hold a 100-per-cent stake in – would make it easier to manage public enterprises, Suparut said.

The Cabinet yesterday invited top government officials to present their law-reform plans, which are part of the administration’s national-law development plan.

The presentations were televised on state-owned Channel 11.

The Foreign Ministry said it would propose a law to help promote Thailand as an international convention and meeting centre.

“We want Bangkok to become the second Geneva so that international organisations set up their base here because we have an advantage over Singapore or Hong Kong,” Krit Ganjana-Goonchorn, Foreign Ministry permanent secretary, said in his briefing.

Karun Kittisataporn, Commerce Ministry permanent secretary, said the ministry had proposed amending 25 laws – including copyright, anti-dumping and foreign-business acts.

Deputy Prime Minister Vishanu Krua-ngam said government sub-committees had proposed amending the bankruptcy law so that only individuals in business were subjected to bankruptcy.

Other proposals include those involving the procedure for legal cases as well as Appeals Court and Supreme Court procedures.

“A sub-committee suggests we separate civil and commerce cases,’’ Vishanu said. “In the future, we could even separate the commerce court and civil courts. In the world today, only Italy and Thailand still have civil and commerce cases under one roof.”

The Industry Ministry has proposed amending or cancelling six laws – including the Mineral Act, Factory Act, and the Cane and Sugar Act.

Chakramon Phasukvanich, Industry Ministry permanent secretary, said the proposed new law governing factories would allow most to operate without a licence.

The Education Ministry wants to amend the law governing the operation of private schools.

Private schools, the ministry said, would by law become a corporate entity and their teachers would be certified by a quality-assurance unit.

The Public Health Ministry has proposed a tobacco-control law, while the Labour Ministry has proposed 10 new laws, including one that would promote equality in the workplace.

The Interior Ministry has proposed a law to regulate the water-supply sector, which it believes will induce competition and prevent monopolies.

--The Nation 2005-03-23

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Sounds promising... and I mean that in a hopeful way, not cynically.

Has anyone seen an English version of the various Ministry's presentations?

If I can make a wish, I wish they would remove strange obstacles like the "4 Thai persons employed per 1 foreign work permit" rule, even when the business to be conducted is a one-person type of activity.

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PM whets knife for biggest legal overhaul in over 200 years

BANGKOK: -- Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is whetting his knife for the biggest legal overhaul in more than 200 years by amending 377 laws that contradict the constitution, are out of touch with the times and infringe upon people's rights.

Mr Thaksin's seemingly insatiable appetite for reform has now turned to the law.

A major portion of yesterday's cabinet meeting, the first broadcast since it was appointed a week ago, was devoted to a special agenda to formulate the ''national plan for development of law''.

Mr Thaksin told the meeting obsolete laws had held the country back for too long. Straightening these laws out would thus be tantamount to empowering the people, he said.

His sift through existing laws found 377 of them needing ''dissection''. Of these, 106 were characterised as contradictory to the constitution, 21 as outdated and 30 a ''burden'' on the people.

He said legal reform was long overdue and the overwhelming mandate the people gave the Thai Rak Thai party in the Feb 6 general election had spurred the government to take action.

Mr Thaksin said the overhaul would get rid of unfairness and corruption and the government would create history in the process. Revised laws would lay a firm foundation for social and economic development and reinforce security.

Mr Thaksin warned ministers against initiating laws instrumental for ''bloating'' individual agencies.

He said they must do the opposite by making their organisations leaner and work harder to serve the people.

Cabinet secretary-general Bavornsak Uvano told the meeting 377 laws had been recommended for alteration.

Deputy Prime Minister Visanu Krue-ngarm, also a law expert, said the country's legal history went back to 1804 during the early Rattanakosin period when the first tra sarm duang law was enacted.

Mr Visanu said 10 sub-panels were formed to advise on amendments to laws.

The sub-panel on land ownership rights proposed the rectification of laws on land management and standardisation of land ownership certificate distribution.

The sub-panel on poverty eradication eyed changes to key laws pertaining to community resources allocation, community participation in resource management, consumer empowerment, and undocumented labour protection.

The sub-panel on justice wanted relevant laws corrected to streamline the processing of legal complaints.

Mr Visanu said parts of the bankruptcy law would have to be rewritten to keep non-business individuals such as housewives from filing for bankruptcy.

The sub-panel on defence put forth amendments to three laws including that related to military conscription.

Mr Thaksin said Thailand could learn from Singapore which drafted all men into the military, paying for their service.

--Bangkok Post 2005-03-23

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One of the laws that needs immediate reform, are the libel laws. Libel, should be changed to a civil matter rather than a criminal one. Though I doubt that this will ever happen here, as too many people hide behind them.

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"Mr Thaksin told the meeting obsolete laws had held the country back for too long. Straightening these laws out would thus be tantamount to empowering the people, he said". Empowering the people, or just one specific person?

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"Mr Thaksin told the meeting obsolete laws had held the country back for too long. Straightening these laws out would thus be tantamount to empowering the people, he said".  Empowering the people, or just one specific person?

Nothing that Mr. Big has done up 'til now would lead me to think that empowering the people is all that high on his agenda.

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And what do they propose to do with all those public servants who rely on the quagmire of thai bureaucracy for employment?

Let them eat cake? :o

They will all be transferred to the Ministry of Inactive Posts. :D

But that already FULL up......No more Vacancies........sorreee :D

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