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Thailand Moves Towards Inclusive Governance: House Passes Bill to Restore Advisory Council in Southern Provinces

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House of Representatives in session. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

In a significant move towards fostering public participation in the governance of Thailand’s volatile southern border provinces, the House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at abolishing a contentious coup-era order. This order, NCPO Order No.14/2016, was originally issued in April 2016 by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which had been established following the 2014 coup led by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha. It effectively undermined the Southern Border Administration Act by rendering portions of it invalid.

NCPO Order No.14/2016 severely disrupted the activities of the advisory council dedicated to Southern Border Administration and Development. This council, composed of members representing the residents of the far South, has long been an essential platform for addressing the region’s persistent sectarian unrest, which has festered for over two decades.

The order also granted the Internal Security Operation Command undue influence over the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC), a key civilian agency. This increased military involvement at the expense of civilian oversight had long been a point of contention.

Determined to restore the advisory council and enhance public participation, legislators introduced a bill that made significant progress. The bill passed its first reading in the House earlier this year, after which a House committee, chaired by Pheu Thai MP Chaturon Chaisang, was tasked with scrutinizing it. The committee introduced several pivotal changes, including a mandate that the advisory council be established within 120 days of the bill’s enactment.

Following extensive debate, the House cast an overwhelming vote of 406 to 0 in favor of passing the bill on Wednesday. The legislation will now proceed to the Senate for further review.

In his address to the House, Mr. Chaturon underscored the importance of the advisory council as a cornerstone in the quest to resolve the conflict. He highlighted that the council’s revival would promote broader public participation, which is crucial for the peace-seeking process in the troubled region.

This legislative milestone marks a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to southern Thailand. By reinstating the advisory council and diminishing military influence over civilian governance, the government hopes to create a more inclusive and participatory framework for addressing the region’s complex issues.

As the bill moves to the Senate, all eyes will be on the upper chamber’s review process, with many hoping for a smooth and swift approval. The eventual reinstatement of the advisory council is anticipated to offer a renewed sense of hope and engagement for the residents of the southern border provinces, who have long yearned for a more substantial role in shaping their future.

This proactive approach towards empowering local communities stands as a testament to the potential for progressive change, and it signals a renewed commitment to addressing the root causes of the unrest through collaboration and dialogue.


  1. Eva L. July 10, 2024

    This is a great move by the Thai government to promote public participation! The advisory council’s role is crucial for peace.

    • Chanat K July 10, 2024

      While it’s a step in the right direction, let’s not forget that the military still holds significant power. Real change will take more than just a bill.

      • Eva L. July 10, 2024

        Absolutely, but every journey starts with a single step. At least this bill creates a platform for dialogue.

      • Tom_52 July 10, 2024

        True, but I doubt dialogue alone can resolve issues that have been going on for decades.

    • Terry July 10, 2024

      I think this will empower the local communities and put civilians back in control, which is what we need for lasting peace.

      • James Smith July 10, 2024

        In theory, yes. But the effectiveness of the council depends on how much autonomy they really get.

  2. Sara.G July 10, 2024

    Does anyone really believe the Senate will pass this without making changes? It’s never that straightforward.

    • Vivi K July 10, 2024

      You’re right, but I’m cautiously optimistic. The unanimous vote in the House is a good sign!

      • Sara.G July 10, 2024

        I hope you’re right. But I’ve seen too many bills get watered down in review.

    • David July 10, 2024

      Senate will modify but hopefully in a way that strengthens the bill.

  3. Leo P. July 10, 2024

    So are we just going to ignore how much damage the military has already done to this region? They should be held accountable.

    • Anna July 10, 2024

      Accountability is key, but making the advisory council strong is at least a first step toward civilian oversight.

      • Leo P. July 10, 2024

        True, I just hope this isn’t another token gesture to quiet the masses.

    • Marcos_F July 10, 2024

      The council needs real power to make a difference. Otherwise, it’s just for show.

  4. Jen July 10, 2024

    It’s about time! The NCPO order was a blatant power grab by the military. Good riddance to it.

    • Sammy956 July 10, 2024

      Completely agree! This is a good step towards restoring democracy.

    • J. Morse July 10, 2024

      I just hope this isn’t followed by another coup to reverse the progress made.

  5. Andy T July 10, 2024

    I think this advisory council will end up being a puppet with no real power.

    • Clara July 10, 2024

      You’re so cynical. Let’s give it a chance before we jump to conclusions.

  6. Ronny July 10, 2024

    Why did it take so long to address this? The damage to the South has been catastrophic.

    • Greg July 10, 2024

      Government moves slow, especially with such complex issues. Better late than never.

    • Ronny July 10, 2024

      True, but it feels like decades of neglect and bad policy choices.

  7. Aliya July 10, 2024

    Reinstating the advisory council definitely sounds positive! But will it have enough resources to be effective?

  8. Mark J. July 10, 2024

    I’m skeptical. Political moves like this often get bogged down in bureaucracy.

  9. Sophia R. July 10, 2024

    Whatever the outcome, this sets a precedent for more inclusive governance in Thailand.

  10. Bao July 10, 2024

    Was the advisory council even effective before the NCPO order? I have my doubts.

    • Anya July 10, 2024

      It had its flaws, but at least it provided a platform for local voices.

  11. Winter2015 July 10, 2024

    Countries like Thailand need more civilian oversight. The military should stay out of governance.

  12. Pat July 10, 2024

    Will the advisory council be diverse enough to represent all voices in the South? That’s what really matters.

    • Evelyn July 10, 2024

      I believe part of the bill mandates diverse representation. Let’s see how it’s implemented.

  13. Lars_800 July 10, 2024

    This advisory council is too little, too late. More drastic measures are needed to fix the South.

  14. Farah July 10, 2024

    I think this is a right step towards decentralization. Empowering local communities can lead to lasting peace.

  15. Dmitry July 10, 2024

    Anytime we see military influence reduced, it’s a good thing for democracy.

  16. Nina T. July 10, 2024

    The vote was 406 to 0 in favor! That’s unheard of. Makes you wonder if there’s something we’re missing.

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