The Senate shows its independence

When the House of Representatives passes an executive decree, many people think that is the end of the matter. It is not. Under the Thai constitution, the decree must also be passed by the Senate.

Normally, Senate approval comes easily, but the current Senate has become increasingly hostile to government plans for raising money. Yesterday morning, senators showed clearly they were not just a rubberstamp by refusing to pass the government’s executive decree to raise the excise tax on fuel.

The vote was 58 to 32 with 10 abstentions. This means the decree will now have to go back to the House of Representatives for another vote before it can go into effect.

The Senate action caused great anxiety among government leaders because the Senate was also scheduled to vote on a much more important decree allowing the government to seek 400 billion baht in loans.

It didn’t help that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was in Singapore meeting with the Singaporean prime minister and local business leaders.

Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn said it was a surprise Mr Abhisit chose to visit Singapore instead of appearing before the chamber to defend the loan decree.

‘‘He is the one who asked for a special parliament session. He could have postponed the visit,’’ Mr Somchai said.

The senator is one of the so-called Group of 40 Senators who suggested the government slash the loan amount by half as it needed only 200 billion baht to offset a shortfall in tax revenues.

Fearing the Senate could vote down the decree, the prime minister flew back an hour earlier than scheduled to attend the Senate meeting.

He told senators the executive decree was important to the government effort to spur growth and create jobs.

The only way to get the country out of its economic slump was to increase government spending through new borrowing with the executive decree.

In the end, as the clock approached midnight, the decree was passed by the Senate with a vote of 69 in favour, 48 against and 11 abstentions.

Adapted from two stories by Post reporters in today’s Bangkok Post

independence – freedom from control by another organisation, country, etc. มีอิสระ ไม่ตกอยู่ภายใต้อิทธิพลขององค์กรอื่น
counterpart – someone or something with the same job or purpose as another person or thing, but in a different country, time, situation, or organisation (in this case, both are prime ministers) นายกของสิงคโปร์ (ศัพท์หมายถึง คนที่มีตำแหน่งเดียวกัน)
executive decree – an official order made by a leader or a government พระราชกำหนด
matter – something that you are discussing, considering or dealing with เรื่อง
hostile – opposing something, i.e., to be against something คัดค้าน ต่อต้าน
rubberstamp – to automatically approve something without having to consider it อนุมัติโดยไม่ผ่านการพิจารณาอย่างรอบคอบ
excise tax – a tax that the government charges on services used and goods sold within the country การเก็บภาษีสินค้าภายในประเทศ
abstention – a decision not to vote in a meeting or an election ไม่ออกเสียง
go into effect – to go into use มีผลบังคับใช้
anxiety – a worried feeling you have because you think something bad might happen ความกังวล
loan – an amount of money that a person, business, or country borrows, especially from a bank เงินกู้
defend – to say things in support of something or someone
session – a formal meeting การประชุม
postpone – to decide that something will not be done at the time when it was planned for, but at a later time เลื่อนออกไป
so-called – of a word or phrase used to describe someone or something but which may not be suitable ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน
slash – to reduce something by a large amount การลดจำนวนลง
offset – to balance the effect of something, with the result that there is not advantage or disadvantage สิ่งชดเชย
shortfall – an amount of something that you lack, in this case, money เงินที่ขาดไป
revenue – income from taxes or business activities รายได้
spur – to cause something to happen ก่อให้เกิด
slump – a period when an economy is much less successful than before and many people lose their jobs ภาวะเศรษฐกิจถดถอย

Posted by Terry Fredrickson at 08:45 AM


Post a Comment