King takes control of five government agencies

A secret bill has placed five public agencies under the direct control of ‘His Majesty’s will’, granting the monarchy authority unseen since the 1932 revolution.

The bill transfers to King Vajiralongkorn what was previously state authority over five agencies responsible for royal affairs and the monarchy’s security.

The reforms were finally released publically on 1 May 2017, after being secretly approved by the junta-appointed interim parliament on 20 April.

Section 4 of the bill rules that “Administration of the palace agencies, their personnel and the status of their public servants shall be in accordance with His Majesty’s pleasure, as written under Royal Decree”.

The five ‘palace agencies’ are the Royal Household Bureau, the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, the Royal Thai Aide-De-Camp Department, the Office of Royal Court Security Police and the Royal Security Command.

Apart from the relatively new Royal Court Security Police, the palace agencies have not been under the crown’s direct control since the 1932 revolution that brought an end to Thailand’s absolute monarchy. The bill excludes these agencies from all other laws related to state officials and public servants.

Section 5 separates further the budget of the palace agencies from the public treasury, so that they may “perform their various duties according to the criteria, methods and conditions prescribed in Royal Decrees … to be in accordance with His Majesty’s pleasure”.

While the palace agencies will continue to be supported by public funds, the revenues they generate will not be subsumed by the public treasury. The bill explains that other “agencies and departments of the government have a duty to support the roles of the palace agencies, in accordance with advice from the palace agencies”.

The bill’s footnote explains that the reforms will allow for more efficient management of royal affairs.

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