Do you understand ‘corporate governance’?: former MP to junta leader

A former MP from the Democrat Party has questioned the junta over the disproportionate number of military appointments to the boards of state enterprises.

On 10 July 2017, Rachada Dhnadirek, former MP of the Democrat Party, publicly pondered how serious Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, is about corporate governance.

Rachada pointed out that military officers have been appointed to the boards of almost every state enterprise.

“When taking a look at the lists, everywhere [we] point there are at least two soldiers on the board. In some there are up to six, such as at Thai Airways and Airports of Thailand (AOT),” Rachada said. “People who have never worked in business are directing enterprises valued at up to tens of billions of baht, yet [they] have already been appointed.”

Rachada fretted that the current AOT board seems oblivious to previous findings by the National Reform Steering Assembly that corruption within the AOT resulted in losses of more than 10 billion baht.

BBC Thai has reported that in the three years since the 2014 coup d’état, the number of military officers appointed to head the boards of state enterprises has increased fivefold.  

Prior to the coup, 42 soldiers served on the boards of 56 state enterprises. The number has now almost doubled to 80, with military officers as chairs of 16 state enterprises. Some of these officers serve simultaneously on multiple boards, or are also members of the National Legislative Assembly.

The junta leader maintains that military officers are merely appointed as observers.

Rachada Dhnadirek, former MP from the Democrat Party