Thai PM asks Thais to resist corruption

21:52, November 10, 2010      

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Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday that he was worried that Thai people could tolerate corrupted politicians who brought them wealth.

Abhisit on Wednesday gave a keynote speech at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Bangkok's Queen Sirikit National Convention Center with the theme of "Restoring Trust: Global Action for Transparency."

"Young people in my country tell me that they expect to see corruption everywhere," said the premier. "And it's ok for politicians to be corrupted as long as they could bring along economic stability."

According to the recent poll conducted by the country's leading private Assumption University released Sunday, about 90 percent of Thais believe that civil servants and state officials in the current government are corrupt; the percentage is drastically up from that of the previous survey conducted in 2005. In addition, the number of people losing faith in the nation's judiciary system when it comes to prosecuting corrupt state officials has tripled.

The poll also revealed that about 76 percent of the respondents are willing to tolerate corruption in the government as long as they have a good life, up from 63.2 percent found in 2008.

During 2001-2006, then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinnawatra initiated many populist policies that distinguished him from his predecessors and allowed him to galvanize the support from the destitute rural North and North Eastern as never before. Although the mostly middle class "yellow-shirt" People's Alliance for Democracy accused him of massive corruption, the poor rural still supported him.

Abhisit said people should be crucially aware that "there is no such thing as good corruption." He added that the civil society and media should help promoting the culture of zero tolerant of corruption and emphasizing that corruption is an unacceptable social norm.

"We can have the best anti-corruption law and strictly enforce it as our best, but if the large section of the population remains persistently indifferent and apathetic about corruption, I'm afraid we'll continue to face an unfulfilled battle," said the prime minister.

The current National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand has been granted high authority by the constitutions. However, corruption still be seen as rampant in Thai society, especially among Thai politicians.

Thailand was ranked at No. 63 in 2006 in the Corruption Perceptions Index conducted by Transparency International. Its ranking slipped to a low No. 84 in 2007, right after the 2006 coup. Currently it stands at No. 78.

Abhisit said corruption was a common phenomenon in many nations, and that each society had to find their own ways to cope with it that best suit local requirements and context.

In 2006, the military coup makers gave the reason for staging the coup that the then government of Prime Minister Thaksin allowed massive corruption, which has always been the excuse for coup in the country.

Abhisit added that Thais are fortunate as they are guided by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of his Sufficiency Economy principles a philosophy that guides the livelihood of people based on moderation and reasonableness. The principles helped Thailand coping with corruption and passing through the world's economic recession, he added.

Source: Xinhua


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