The dawn of a new era is on the horizon for the Social Security Office (SSO) in Thailand, as it gears up for the landmark election of Social Security Board members. The SSO has placed an impressive fund of 207 million baht in preparation for this momentous event, penciled in for December 24th, a date that is set to go down in history.
This pivotal election signifies a fresh chapter in the annals of the Social Security Board, attested to by Security General Boonsong Thapchaiyuth. The Social Security Board, a crucial organ within the Social Security Act, plays the vital part of a bridge builder between the Thai government and the Social Security Fund (SSF), and primarily oversees the management of the fund for its members. This esteemed board comprises representatives from a variety of ministries including labour, finance, interior, and public health, alongside key individuals from the Budget Bureau, employers and employees.
In historical precedence, the board’s representatives were chosen by labour unions. Yet, the current ensemble consists of special appointees from the now-dissolved National Council for Peace and Order. This upcoming election brings with it a golden chance for SSF members and employers to vote in seven representatives of their choosing to the board.
Niyada Senimanomai, the eagle-eyed SSO Inspector General, reveals that among the broad base of more than 24 million SSF constituents, there are 14 million who have the eligibility to head to the polls. However, expats and those members who are still in the process of making their fund submissions will be barred from casting their vote.
It’s time to throw your hat in the ring, with registration for interested candidates flung wide open on the SSO website from Wednesday till the end of October.
Chalee Loisung, the Deputy Leader of the Thai Labour Solidarity Confederation (TLSC), contended that this watershed election is the progeny of the 2015 Social Security Act, which allowed the SSO to step out as an independent entity. There is a democratic belief that a transparent SSO administration can act as a bulwark against the undue influence of politics.
Many potential board candidates are set to don the champion’s mantle for labor rights. Manas Kosol, the respected President of the Confederation of Thai Labour (CTL), is enthusiastic that CTL members will be vote-winners at the board to keep up the momentum for a labour-oriented bank. This banking initiative strives to extend a financial helping hand to those who are side-lined by commercial banks.
Members of the Progressive Social Security Team, fuelled by the Move Forward Party (MFP), are poised to put their names forward as candidates. Suthep Ou-oun, a distinguished MFP MP, states that the party leader is on board to back registrations to leverage the party’s decisive victory in the May 14 general election, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
However, Siwawong Sukthawee, a hopeful from the Progressive Social Security Team and member of the Migrant Working Group, is at odds with the decision to exclude expats from the voting process. In a similar vein, Soontri Hatti Sengking, Vice Chair of Homenet Thailand, an organization built for the betterment of labourers, calls on SSF members to make their mark and exercise their voting rights for their opinions to reverberate throughout the board.
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