My piece for Thai Enquirer:
Last week, parliament gathered to debate and vote on various proposals related to constitutional reform. Nothing out of the ordinary transpired, except for one thing: the sheer amount of airtime dedicated not to the merits of the proposals themselves, but rather for scrutiny of the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) organization.
That iLaw would come under the spotlight is understandable: the progressive NGO was at the forefront of gathering signatures for a proposal of amendments that they had drafted, and that was then under consideration by parliament. But the reasoning that many MPs and senators deployed to explain their withholding of support from iLaw’s draft was interesting. Paiboon Nititawan, Palang Pracharath deputy leader, declared: “I will…reject the iLaw draft, because it goes against the royal institution and is backed by foreign money!”
The issue of shadowy foreigners seeking to intervene in domestic Thai politics has been a strong undercurrent in Thai politics for the better part of the decade, and so perhaps it was only a matter of time before it was brought up as a major discussion point in the legislature itself. Given the recent prominence of this topic, let’s spend a little bit of time dissecting it. Is the Thai state being undermined from outside?
Click here for the full piece.