The Future Forward party has completed its drafting of a military service bill, which does away with conscription by means of drawing lots and the territorial defense course for students wishing to avoid conscription.

Future Forward deputy party leader Lt-Gen Pongsakorn Rodchomphoo said today that the bill was not the final version and will be amended once the party is in the government camp.

Some of the highlights of the party’s new proposed military service bill are:

  • Thai nationals over 18 years old are eligible to apply for military service, selection to be determined by an examination. Successful applicants will serve for five years, after which the term of service can be extended for another five years and up to the rank of corporal.   
  • After ten years in the service, the soldiers sit an examination to become a non-commissioned officer and a commissioned officer every five years until they reach the retirement age at 46. The highest rank they can reach is lieutenant colonel.
  • During the initial period of service, the recruits will undergo basic training and will be taught courses on human rights and democracy. They will be paid, have fringe benefits and even funding to pursue an occupation after they leave the service after five years.
  • The voluntary recruits are entitled to insurance coverage, health insurance that covers their families and other fringe benefits similar to regular soldiers.

In case the country faces an imminent war, the cabinet can issue a decree to mobilize reservists who are between 18-30 years old into military service for a maximum period of one year.

Source