Pheu Thai Party Statement On Rice Pledge Policy

Recently, the lawsuit and civil claim on Rice Pledge Program against Miss Yingluck Shinawatra has raised widespread controversial issues on transparency and justice in our society. Political propagandas were created and facts were distorted. These factors could affect and mislead the ex-premier’s case.   

Pheu Thai Party is the political party who proposed this policy to the people and won a landslide victory in the 2012 general election. Therefore, when Pheu Thai Party became the government, the policy was declared to the parliament as the state policy. The Policy then became legal obligation to the country and people especially to the fellow farmers which the government must execute as an “act of government” as promised

Pheu Thai Party is making these statements to clarify facts regarding the Rice Pledge Policy to the fellow Thais as follows:  
1. Rice Pledge Policy was designed to enhance the purchasing powers and welfare of the Thai farmers which are as many as 3.7 million households or an approximate of 23% of total population of Thailand.

 Rice Pledge Policy is not a populist policy which give away government budget for free but the Directive Principles of Fundamental State Policies stated in 2007 constitution section 84 (8) that “the government shall protect and preserve the farmers’ best interests in production and marketing as well as agricultural product prices to earn the highest yield.”  

 2. Rice Pledge Policy is considered “a public promise” Pheu Thai Party committed to the people. Our Party was elected for such policy by the majority vote of the people through the 2012 general election. After the election, the government led by Pheu Thai Party then declared the Rice Pledge Policy to the parliament as the state policy which was approved by the parliament.

 3. According to the Directive Principles of Fundamental State Policies, public policies are framework for the government to spend national budget to resolve the country and its people’s social and economic issues. These budgets are used as means to stimulate national economy and to enhance the welfare of the farmers. No country in the world would calculate profit and loss on policies meant for enhancing public welfare as stated in the 2003 Good Governance Act that “to evaluate public policy, the government must consider an overall aspects of economic, social and other benefits to the country and its people, not the profit and loss of the policy.”   

 The Rice Pledge Policy is a public welfare aimed to enhances the welfare of the farmers in the same manner as other public policies for other groups of population in the past like public infrastructure, public welfares for children, senior citizens, the poor, the disable as well as Financial Sector Restructuring Authority, “Help the Nation” Cheque, Rice Price Guarantee, Rubber Price Guarantee, and 1,000 Baht per Rai per Crop Season for Farmers. These policies all required great amount of national budget to resolve people’s issue.

If consider these policies in one single profit and loss aspect, public policies are deemed to cause our nation damages which governments in the past must be held accountable for civil charge as well.

4. The government led by Pheu Thai Party has implemented the Rice Pledge Policy by subsidizing the rice price and transferring all 870,018 Million Baht directly to the farmers. This in turn had increased the farmers’ purchasing power thus stimulated the economy. As a result, the government was able to collect additional tax for more than 1 trillion Baht per year. The government had also prevented corruption by transferring every single Baht directly to the farmers. No one but the farmers benefits from the policy.

Through the Rice Pledge Policy the government also had rice stock as national asset. When Thailand experienced drought causing low rice production, Thailand still has rice stock to sell in the world market. Thai government could earn income from rice export as one of the top exporters in the world rice market.

5. The corruption charge and lawsuit against the ex-premier as the Chairperson of Thai National Rice Policy which accused Miss Yingluck that she has omitted her duty to allow corruption and damages is unjust and untrue.

The government led by Pheu Thai Party had implemented the Rice Pledge Policy carefully by establishing clear corruption prevention procedure. The procedure was strictly enforced. The government had also developed the corruption prevention procedure by avoiding mistakes from previous governments which also implemented the Rice Pledge Policy for more than 30 years.

 Simultaneously, the NACC investigation report has also stated “no evidence was present to prove that ex-Premier Yingluck Shinawatra was a part of corruption or partly allowed the corruption to happen.”

Many comments made public through the media are merely political propaganda to legitimately accuse Miss Yingluck. Such behaviors are unacceptable and unjust.

The news scandals against Miss Yingluck thus are propaganda and false accusation.
The most unjust behavior is an attempt to charge a civil claim of trillion Baht to for the Rice Pledge Policy by evaluating “damages” when the criminal case is still ongoing. The court has only just begun to consider the witness lists, not even on trial.   
Moreover, the most controversial issue for this case is whether NACC has an authority to terminate “state policy”. And if the policy was terminated, would the government be charged of unlawful act against the constitutional laws?

6. While the criminal case in division of politicians is still on trial, the government has already accelerated the civil charge against the ex-premier. In reality, no Prime Minister nor any cabinet members had ever been charged a criminal or civil case. This fact should be considered as legal standards. Moreover, during the current period of national reform, double standards or selective laws enforcement should not happen in Thailand. Nevertheless, an abuse of laws are clearly politically driven. Charges against the former Prime Minister and cabinet members are abnormally accelerated when the cases are yet inconclusive.   

 Given these situations, Pheu Thai Party is writing this public statement to call on people’s consideration of these facts and call for justice to former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and all related persons.

 Pheu Thai Party
 22 October 2015