Striking Where It Hurts A THAI CRUSADE FOR CLEAN POLITICS

By Sreshthaputra, Laurence W. | UNESCO Courier, December 2000 | Go to article overview

Striking Where It Hurts A THAI CRUSADE FOR CLEAN POLITICS


Sreshthaputra, Laurence W., UNESCO Courier


New watchdogs now have the teeth to fight corruption but old-style politics aren't going to disappear overnight. Some say this will take no less than a revolution in political culture

Not a day goes by in Thailand without some new tale of corruption being aired in the press. Some see, a revolution underway while others question the use of attacking such a long-accepted disease. So what chances do the anti-corruption crusaders have?

If events this year are anything to go by, they might well be gaining the upper hand. The first senatorial elections by popular vote held in March turned into a veritable soap opera with the newly established Election Commission ordering more than half the races to be run again because of irregularities or vote-buying. In the end, it took five rounds of voting to fill all the seats.

Later in the month, Sanan Kachornprasart, the all-powerful interior minister and secretary-general of the ruling Democrat Party, was forced to resign after the National Counter-Corruption Commission (NCCC) accused him of falsifying documents concerning a $1.2 million loan. Another key event was the rioting in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat set off in early September by police corruption.

The crash that killed tolerance for bribes

The list of scandals gets longer each day in a country where corruption drains away 10 to 20 percent of the national budget--about 2.25 to 4.5 billion dollars.

"There's clearly a knock-on effect," says Pasuk Phongpaichit, an economics professor at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University and author of several books on corruption. According to the drafters of the NCCC programme, "there is broad consensus in favour of a national crusade against corruption aimed at reforming the whole society." A recent poll showed that Thais saw government corruption as the country's third most serious problem, behind the economic crisis and the rising cost of living, and just ahead of drugs.

This great urge for change is the culmination of a long process that began in the late 1970s when the army agreed to a power-sharing deal. Since then, Thailand has seen civil society grow and become a player on the political scene, notably by taking a strong stand against an attempted military coup in May 1992. What was tolerated 30 years ago is no longer acceptable.

Several political leaders have stood out in this period of transformation. In November 1985, Chamlong Srimuang, an austere former army commander, became the most popular mayor Bangkok has ever had. A few years later, police lieutenant Prathin Santiprapop, known as "Mr Clean," ran an efficient operation to stamp out a profitable nationwide timber-smuggling scheme.

Then, in 1997, came two events that hastened the course of Thai history: the Asian financial crash and the enactment of a new constitution. "People tolerated the waste of money in bribes when things were going well, but much less at a time of economic crisis," says Phongpaichit. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Striking Where It Hurts A THAI CRUSADE FOR CLEAN POLITICS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.