National Assembly values public opinion
The National Assembly (NA) values the opinions expressed by members of the public and plans to make its telephone hotline available all year round.
NA Deputy Office Head Mr Viseth Savengseuksa revealed the NA's intention at a press conference on Thursday to review the hotline calls received during the Assembly's Third Ordinary Session, which ended last week.
“The National Assembly has considered the possibility of providing the hotline service all year round, and this is coming true,” he said.
The idea of expanding the service was raised two years ago after the NA realised the usefulness of public input, which allows NA members to be in touch with the opinions and problems of their constituents.
Mr Viseth said that if the scheme were to be extended the NA should take two points into consideration. Questions put by the public should be answered more quickly, and the identity of callers should be protected.
In the past, the NA summarised the messages received at the close of each debate session and forwarded them to the Government Office. The office then passed on the queries to the relevant ministries, which were supposed to reply to the National Assembly.
“The process should be faster, so that the National Assembly receives clarification from the government on the issues raised in a more timely manner,” Mr Viseth said.
Concerning the conc ealment of the callers' identity, he said that because callers talked about their concerns openly, the NA should go to greater lengths to keep their identity a secret when passing on their messages to senior government officials. The name of the caller should be known only to the NA for the purposes of coordination.
Mr Viseth admitted government officials had been slow to respond to the issues raised, and that by the time the subject was addressed the situation had already changed in many cases. He said the NA would rank the problems raised in terms of the need for a timely response by the government.
The NA will also summarise the hotline messages received and pass them on to the NA members for each constituency. This information can then be used when tackling the situation in question and members should report on the result to the NA.
The year-round provision of the hotline service is the initiative of the National Assembly unit responsible for the hotline under the guidance of the Deputy Office Head.
“If we can implement this initiative successfully, I believe the hotline will be a useful channel for providing information and clarification on issues of social concern,” Mr Viseth said.