Future Forward Pushes End to Military Conscription, Army Fires Back

A draft bill that would end mandatory military conscription in Thailand has drawn criticism from the country’s army.

Maj. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich said the bill will harm national security and promised to review the draft bill to understand its overall effects on budget and manpower.

Without sufficient troop levels, the military will have to increasingly invest in costly military technology and more weapons.

Future Forward, an upstart progressive party making waves in Thailand, made abolishing mandatory military service a key pillar of their election platform that won them the 81 seats in parliament despite being a brand-new political party.

In Thailand, men over 21 must report to a military conscription lottery, which takes place every April.

Those who received military training in high school, transgenders who have undergone a sex change, and priests are the only ones exempt from the annual military service lottery.

If the law is passed, the army will be forced to recruit potential soldiers into service.

Also, the law would change the minimum age of service to 18 and would require five years of service instead of two.

Military conscription days have drawn outrage for years for “shaming” both overweight individuals and ladyboys.

Those who are overweight are required to take their shirt off in front of dozens of others participating in the lottery to undergo a “fat check”.

Ladyboys are often asked to go into a private room or stand behind a barrier to examine if they have had a sex change or not.

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