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New social security board elected amid poor voter turnout

Written by World Events

Seven new members of the social security board, representing the nation’s employees, have been elected by about 150,000 voters, representing an 18.3% turnout of eligible voters.

This was the first time that board members were directly elected by the employees, instead of indirectly elected by labour unionists.

Seven new board members representing the employers were also elected yesterday.

The seven board members representing the employees are Sattharum Thambusadee, Thanapong Chuamuangpan, Chalit Ratthapana, Sivavong Sukthavee, Nalutporn Krairiksh, Laksamee Suwanpakdee and Pratthana Phodee.

Anusorn Tamajai, a member of a panel considering election regulations, said today that the voter turnout was very low because of poor publicity and the fact that voters must show up at polling stations to cast their ballots.

He said he hopes the new board will carry out an organisational restructuring, to improve the efficiency of the board and to manage the huge social security fund more effectively for the benefit of the workers. The term of the new board is, however, just two years.

The social security board comprises seven representatives each from the government, employers and employees. It is tasked with managing the 2.37 trillion baht social security fund, including about 31 billion baht in investment returns over a seven-month period of this year, and the 76.4 billion baht compensation fund.

The board will look after the interests of 24.5 million employees who are covered by the social security system or insured people in accordance with Sections 33 and 39 of the Social Security Act.

Previously, board members representing the workers were indirectly elected from members of labour unions and were heavily criticised for not protecting the rights of workers, especially relating to medical coverage for workers injured in the course of their work, and for not being transparent in managing the staggering 2.37 trillion baht social security fund.

It is expected that the directly elected workers’ representatives on the board will fight for the interests of the workers. The new board will face an important challenge, which is how to manage the social security fund more efficiently, to earn more investment returns to cope with the increasing pension fund for the 8 million aging workers covered by social security system. About half of these are to receive retirement pensions, which are expected to balloon to 100 billion baht in the next 15-20 years.

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