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General news >> Monday July 23, 2007

Cabinet backsB84.3m in Isoc 'rewards'

Cabinet has quietly endorsed a budget of 84.3 million baht to "reward" Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) executives, mostly high-ranking military officers, a cabinet source said.

The budget approval was made upon the Isoc's request at the cabinet meeting last Tuesday, but the resolution has not been made public or published.

The rewards will be given to 732 Isoc staff, at a rate of 5,600 to 21,000 baht a month, said the source.

Isoc reasoned that many government officers, police and soldiers were temporarily transferred to support Isoc's operation. With increased responsibility, handling national security threats and promoting loyalty to the monarchy, Isoc wanted to reward them for their hard work and sacrifice.

Eligible staff must not receive position allowances from their original agencies.

The source said most Isoc executives are high-ranking military officers, who have yet to get a position allowance.

The source said this is not the Isoc's first reward request. The prior one was declined during the Thaksin administration.

In 2003, cabinet's screening panel, chaired by then deputy premier Visanu Krue-ngarm, rejected the request, saying Isoc staff already received salary and position allowances from their original agencies.

The panel feared the extra allowances would set a bad precedent for other agencies. The panel also said that the request was inconsistent with the Salary and Position Allowance Act.

The source said the Finance Ministry, through its screening panel, had questioned Isoc's request, saying military officers may collect extra allowances only in special cases, such as life-threatening working conditions.

The working environment for Isoc administrators does not fit that condition.

The source said in after being rejected by the previous government, Isoc renamed the requested payment from "extra position allowances" to "rewards" and cited a special security operation along the borders to back their request. Isoc said the rewards were equivalent to position allowances which Isoc administrators would be entitled to under the National Security Bill, now before the government's legal advisory arm, the Council of State.

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