Anand: Good time to reduce corruption

Former prime minister Anand Panyarachund sees a good opportunity for Thailand to reduce the deep-rooted corruption in the government sector that has caused great damage to the country.

During his speech at a seminar on "Improving Corporate Governance: Key to Advancing Thailand" organised by the Thai Institute of Directors on Tuesday, Mr Anand said that corruption in the government sector was the most dangerous because it involved huge national budgets and the government controlled many wealthy state enterprises, including PTT Plc.

"It is expected that in a few weeks some state enterprises will be changed. Their image will improve because there will be more outsiders than insiders on their board of directors," Mr Anand said.

He said if leaders are not corrupt, or half the ministers are kept from being corrupt, the incidence of graft will fall.

Mr Anand also pointed to policy-based corruption which he said is deep-rooted. He said the government allocated budgets of ministries, departments and armed forces to make itself popular. Media organisations had also been recipients and consequently become "slaves" and did not dare to criticise the government. 

A group of people had excessive power and had been driven by greed. They had taken control of state enterprises and appointed their own people, people with bad records, as directors of state enterprises, Mr Anand said.

He said now is a good opportunity for the National Council for Peace and Order to restructure power bases and share them between the government and people, to ensure transparency.

People had been deceived in past elections, and government officials had been the "slaves" of those in power, the former prime minister said.

Thailand nowhad a chance to close for renovations, but the closure time had to be limited and the renovation had to be participatory, Mr Anand said.

He also called for an effort to raise the level of morality among people in general, to help curb corruption.

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