Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CNS denies asking cabinet to double salaries


CNS denies asking cabinet to double salaries


The outgoing Council for National Security (CNS) yesterday denied asking the cabinet to double the salaries of its members as had been alleged by the pro-Thaksin website www.hi-thaksin.net. Gen Somjate Boonthanom, chief of the CNS secretariat office, said the only unusual request the CNS had made was it called for an annual remuneration package for military officers who were called up from other military units to assist the secretariat's work.

Gen Somjate, also director-general of the Office of the Defence Budget, said rumours were persistently being spread about the CNS pressuring the cabinet to double their salaries so that its reputation could be sullied.

Similar rumours also were spread last year, he said.

''At mid-year and year-end, it is normal for military agencies to prepare their remuneration proposals for approval.

''The CNS' secretariat goes by the book when it presents its proposals to the cabinet for approval. There is nothing special about it,'' Gen Somjate said.

He said the remuneration would be largely offered to staff at the secretariat office _ most of whom are rank and file military officers.

This will be its final request as the CNS will bow out when the elected government is sworn in.

Gen Somjate said since the CNS' staff had also worked on public holidays, they should be rewarded.

CNS spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said how can you believe that the generals who are members of the CNS would put in such a request.

The CNS members are fully aware their tenure is about to end and such a request would only go against the Defence Ministry's regulations, so why would they do it?

On April 3 last year, the cabinet awarded a 15% pay rise to the 423 staff and members of the Council for National Security, as they had requested.

The cabinet approved the increase in recognition of their dedication and hard work.

This brought their total salary hike since the Sept 19 coup to 30%.

Of the 423 officers, 60 are attached to the secretariat office and the rest to the special task force.

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