Sedition, monarchy and crown property

23 06 2011

Prachatai has two stories worth comment. The first is a short note about a group of 50 yellow shirts lodging a complaint with police, urging them to charge some 300 writers and others with “sedition and attempting to overthrow the monarchy” for signing a petition for the reform of the lese majeste law. It seems that for the balmy yellow ones, even seeking reform a problematic law is beyond the pale.

In the second post, lese majeste defendant Somsak Jeamteerasakul gets testy with the Crown Property Bureau’s recent annual report – we think it might be their first ever such report. This is a long post and worth reading in full. In short, Somsak takes up the CPB’s claim that “Crown property is state property and public property, for which the government through the Minister of Finance as the Chairperson is responsible, and which the CPB takes care of.”

Somsak says this “statement is not true, de jure and de facto.” He later concludes, following a listing of legal interpretations, that “the 2010 CPB Annual Report is an attempt to distort…”, adding: “That crown property and the Crown Property Bureau fall under the exclusive oversight of the King (and are accountable to no one else) is a fact known for a long time in all sectors, business or government, and even in public. It is therefore incredible that the 2010 CPB Annual Report tries to distort the fact by saying that CPB is under the ‘responsibility’ of the government.”

Of course, as Somsak points out, this CPB sleight of hand is to deflect attention away from the vast wealth controlled by the monarch and to obscure the fact that in most modern monarchies, crown property is state property. In Thailand, it is the king’s property. PPT might add that this is a politically-motivated statement, seeking to deflect the criticism that is made of this obscenely rich royal family.




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