The National Reform Steering Assembly unanimously endorsed by 155 votes with seven abstentions a report by its political reform panel which proposed stiffer penalties, including death, against corrupt politicians.
Mr Seri Suwanpanont, chair of the NRSA’s political reform committee, clarified after the assembly meeting that corruption has been a serious problem that has undermined the country for a long time.
He claimed that his panel did not initiate the capital punishment but merely complied with the Criminal Code without any intention to hurt any particular group of people but merely intended to discourage people from getting involved in corruption.
Besides, he noted that only a handful of people who amassed more than one billion baht in ill-gotten gains from corrupt practices.
The report proposed varying degrees of punishments in accordance with the amount of money amassed from corruption: 5 years for amount less than one million baht; 10 years from amounts over one million baht up to 10 million baht; 20 years for amounts over 10 million baht up to 100 million baht; life imprisonment for amounts over 100 million baht up to one billion baht; and death penalty for amount exceeding one billion baht.
Seri defended that the report was meant to make it clear to political office holders of the consequences they would face if they are corrupt.
Mr Kasit Bhiromya, an assemblyman, rejected the death penalty, saying that as a Buddhist, he disagreed with the capital punishment.
The report will be fine-tuned before it is sent to the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly, the Constitution Drafting Committee, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Constitutional Court, the Election Commission and the National Human Rights Commission for consideration.