Invoking Emergency Power, Prayuth Transfers 6 Education Officials

Junta chairman and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha giving a speech at the Government House, 17 April 2015

BANGKOK – Junta chairman and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has invoked his emergency power and transferred six education officials without any explanation today.

Invoking Article 44 of the interim charter, which permits the junta leader to unilaterally intervene in the national administration as he deems fit, Gen. Prayuth issued the transfer order this afternoon. The order came with a brief explanation that the transfers were meant to "increase efficiency and appropriateness in the education reforms and bureaucratic administration within the Ministry of Education."

The following is the names of the six officials, their former posts, and their new posts, respectively:

1. Ms. Sutthasri Wongsaman / Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education / Secretary-General of the Office of Education Council

2. Mr. Piniti Ratananukul / Secretary-General of the Office of Education Council / Secretary-General of the Office of Higher Education Commission

3. Mr. Kamchorn Tatiyakawi / Secretary-General of the Office of Higher Education Commission /  Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education

4. Mr. Bundit Sriphutangkul / Secretary-General of the Office of the Private Education Commission / Ombudsman of the Ministry of Education

5. Mr. Adinand Pakbara / Ombudsman of the Ministry of Education / Secretary-General of the Office of the Private Education Commission

6. Ms. Rattana Sriheran / Deputy Secretary-General of the Office of Basic Education Commission / Secretary-General of the Office of the Education Civil Service Commission

Article 44 of the interim charter states that chairman of the junta, known formally as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), can take any action to "suppress or disrupt" urgent threats to public order, the economy, and the monarchy. Any order Gen. Prayuth promulgates through Article 44 will be deemed legal and binding, the clause states.

The interim charter was enacted shortly after Gen. Prayuth seized power from an elected government in May 2014. Gen. Prayuth, who also holds the position as the Prime Minister, has previously insisted that Article 44 will only be activated to serve functions of the martial law, namely by granting security officers an authority to search properties and detain individuals without court warrants. 

The junta also told the press that Article 44 will be used "constructively" in the administration of the country. 

However, the constitutional clause has been strongly condemned by international human rights agencies and democratic governments, who say the law grants Gen. Prayuth a dangerous amount of unchecked power. 

On 7 April, Gen. Prayuth invoked Article 44 and permitted military officers to serve as law enforcement officials alongside the police in cases instructed by the Ministry of Defense. The 7 April order explains that assistance from the military is intended to “increase the efficiency in enforcement of laws that protect the interest of the public and the people," such as attempts to end public land encroachment. 

Related article: Thai Junta Chairman Downplays Article 44's Autocratic Powers 

 

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