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Corruption costs Thailand US$9b every year, opposition leader claims

Publication Date : 08-01-2014

 

The opposition Democrat Party yesterday unveiled its anti-corruption proposal as part of its national reform blueprint.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said corruption is costing Thailand 300 billion baht (US$9 billion) per year, or 2 per cent of gross domestic product. With that amount of money, the country could build 30 Parliament Houses, 201 BTS stations, or 5,100 large secondary schools, he said.

The party yesterday held a press conference to announce its blueprint for national reform after it decided to boycott the February 2 election and spend time considering the reform measures.

Abhisit declared the anti-corruption mechanism as the first point in a seven-point national reform blueprint. He said the proposal has 20 measures.

For example, laws should be amended so that corruption cases have no statute of limitations, National Anti-Corruption Commission investigations should be increased, and so too the role of the Office of the State Audit and the Auditor-General. Moreover, there should be retroactive examination of politicians' and senior government officials' tax payments.

Laws should be amended to control the government's use of advertising budget, and judicial officers should be banned from sitting on state-enterprises' boards of directors, the party's proposal said.

Information related to state enterprises should be transparent in the same way as listed companies. The party also proposed setting up a fund to support civil movements against corruption.

While Abhisit was speaking, a man who declined to be named blew a whistle at him. "I respect my vote. Please stop creating political speeches because your party [the Democrat Party] has never won an election," the man said. Abhisit replied by saying "Thank you", before the Democrats’ supporters took the protesting man out of the room.

 

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