Thai prime minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the armed forces to study proposals to make the current mandatory military conscription voluntary to see whether such a practice would affect national security.
Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit told said on Friday that Prayut instructed in his capacity as the defence minister while chairing a meeting of the National Defence Council.
Several activists and the Future Forward Party have called for a halt to mandatory military conscription. The Future Forward said it would propose a bill to amend the Defence Ministry Act so that military conscription was voluntary.
The bill seeks to have conscripts undergo training and study courses for four years after which they will be hired as soldiers with a starting salary of $500.
Forces were told to study whether the military’s personnel structure and its budget would be affected.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ANN