Opinion: The president of the senate just said nepotism is not morally wrong; we’re not kidding

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“[Nepotism] is not wrong because it is not against the law.”

This is not a line from some terrible mafia movie but an actual statement uttered by the President of the Senate Pornpetch Wichitcholchai – out loud, and to reporters, even.

What is even worse is that the reporters gathered at the senate on Monday gave Pornpetch a chance to walk back his statement and he still failed. The reporters acknowledged that even though nepotism was not technically illegal, wasn’t it still morally wrong?

Pornpetch did not disappoint. He said nepotism, in government, is not morally wrong.

He justified his answer and said the practice of hiring family members to be aides or advisors to senators is how things have been done forever.

Remember, Pornpetch is one of the good people appointed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his consigliere Prawit Wongsuwan to his current position. Remember also that Pornpetch is allowed to vote on who becomes the next prime minister of Thailand.

The scary thing is that he isn’t alone.

An Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw) report that was released on Sunday found that at least 46 out of 250 appointed senators have hired their family member or a family member of another senator as their personal aide or advisor.

An adviser to a senator receives a monthly payment of 24,000 baht per month while a personal aide receives 15,000 baht per month.

This all comes from our taxes.

This is on top of the monthly payment of 113,560 per month that each senator receives from us. The kicker is that they’re allowed to hire 8 advisers and/or aides.

Altogether, at least 2.23 billion baht of tax money was spent on these junta-appointed senators and their family members or friends between May 2019 and May 2022, according to the iLaw study.

There is nothing wrong with nepotism.

Because when you build your ‘democratic’ system on appointees, on favors, and behind the scenes lobbying, then this practice is just part for the course.

Who needs accountability, talent, or moral righteousness when your only job in the senate is to lick the general’s boots and say yes to everything they want.

It’s not like the advisers or aides are actually doing anything useful, no man of talent ever says I am going to make a career out of advising my dad on his appointed legislative position.

Nope, this is a system built on a foundation of corruption reinforced by the moral ambiguity and decay that is par for the course for this government.

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