11 July 2024

Politicians competing in the March-24 general election agree that corruption is a scourge that is undermining the Thai society and dealing with it will be one of their priorities if they come to power after the poll.

However, they admitted that corruption has become part of the Thai people’s way of life and that the public has a crucial role to play in putting a stop to it as much as politicians.

They were speaking at a forum organized by Thai PBS on Tuesday night for representatives from political parties to offer their platforms in fighting corruption.

Chumpol Krootkaew of the newly-formed Klang Party said it is everybody’s responsibility to tackle the problem of corruption. “Social norm needs to be against all types of corruption, even minor ones,” Chumpol said, adding that the problem can be solved only when people acknowledge its existence and demonstrate determination to deal with it.

Nikorn Chamnong of Chartthaipattana party said besides good governance, reducing inequality and improving the people’s well-being is necessary in fighting against corruption. In addition, the party will also focus on ethics and corruption in education. “People need to have a sense of belonging for public money,” Nikorn stated.

Peerapan Saleerattawipak of the Democrat party stated that corruption is caused by a lack of conscience. Democrat party will build awareness and block opportunities for corruption by tightening the check-and-balance mechanisms in government procurement process, he said.

“Corruption is a disease spreading in the country, especially in business and government sector taking public money for personal use. Everyone needs to help fix this problem,” Pongthep Thepkanchana from Pheu Thai party said.

He added that there is a need to lessen state power and plug loopholes in the government’s procurement process to minimize the chance for corruption.

Pannika Wanich, a spokesperson from the Future Forward party,  said she believed that cronyism and elite privileges are the root cause of corruption. “200 billion baht a year is lost due to corruption. With this amount of money Thailand can build 4 rail lines and provide free-lunch for school kids. She dismissed the notion that authoritarian power can solve corruption problem.

She said the party will introduce new technology and laws to combat corruption including open data and legislation to protect whistleblowers.