A new law that went into effect Monday gives Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn sole authority over the Crown Property Bureau, which oversees the monarchy’s lands and assets believed to be worth billions of dollars, reports said.
The law, announced in the Royal Gazette on Sunday, is the latest move by Thailand’s legislature giving the new king greater control over matters related to the palace.
Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) ascended the throne in December following the October 2016 death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for seven decades.
The new law – allowing Vajiralongkorn to control real estate and other investments valued at $30 billion by Forbes magazine in 2011 – marks the first amendment in 69 years to laws governing crown property, according to Khaosod, a Thai daily newspaper.
The amendment was approved last week by the legislature tied to the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a retired army general who seized power through a coup in May 2014.
The 12-section law included details outlining the king’s authority.
Section four determined that royal property means “property belonging to the king before his ascension to the throne, property and assets that the government gives to the king and property the king obtains,” according to the gazette.
Section six stipulated that “management, maintenance, provision of benefits and any other implementations that relate to the royal property shall be subjected to the king’s will, if he wishes to assign the Crown Property Bureau or any person or entity as manager to the royal property.”
The law gives the king sole power to appoint the committee overseeing the bureau, including its leader. Previously, the government’s finance minister oversaw the bureau.
The amendments also allow property and assets owned by the crown to be subjected to tax, according to Reuters news service. Previously, the king’s private property was subject to tax while crown property and assets were exempt, Reuters reported.
In April, Vajiralongkorn signed a new constitution after the government agreed to amendments allowing him to rule his kingdom while out of the country. The king has spent much of his adult life in Germany.
A few weeks later, he was given control of five agencies overseeing palace security and management, Khaosod reported on May 2. Those agencies are the Royal Household Bureau, Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, Royal Thai Aide-De-Camp Department, Office of Royal Court Security Police and Royal Security Command.