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Nelson Mandela on the need for 'No Fear' amid adversity

Phuket Needs Pressure to End Corruption

Sunday, July 3, 2011
Phuket News Analysis

PHUKET: Whatever the election aftermath brings, the most essential outcome for Phuket will be that the campaign against ingrained rip-offs and corruption continues.

Phuket's future as a competitive international tourist destination hinges not on what Thailand's voters decide today, but on whether a new government has the courage to pursue the obliteration of corruption on Phuket.

There are heartening signs. The Bangkok-driven Phuket investigation, initiated after constant pressure from ambassadors and Phuket's honorary consuls, hopes to achieve results later this month.

This innovative probe, headed by Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of the Interior, Prania Suwanrath, aims to make reforms on Phuket the role model for more enduring reforms at Thailand's other tourist destinations.

The only remaining question is: how widespread and realistic will those reforms be?

There is no doubting the will of ambassadors, honorary consuls and many Thai and expat residents to see changes made. But it's plain that attitudes differ about what should happen.

When a Phuket honorary consul tells Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha ''we need action now,'' he - or she - means that dramatic reforms are required, and quickly.

However, for some Phuket officials, the word ''action'' has a quite different meaning. The alternative interpretation is, ''let's get both sides together and reach a compromise.''

Phuket's future clearly requires massive reforms, not compromise.

Unless what is meant by ''action now'' becomes fully understood by everyone, Phuket may never gain the dramatic changes it needs.

It's a little like haggling with a vendor in a local market - the real, fair deal is well below the price that the consumer eventually has to pay. In the end, a compromise on corruption suits the best interests of no-one.

Fortunately, the crusade against corruption is now out of the closet. Nationwide, expat business leaders and a growing number of Thais in all walks of life are urging change.

Even on Phuket, people are beginning to realise that Phuket's survival depends on staying competitive, on shrugging off corruption.

Too many hagglers remain, confusing the core issue of telling right from wrong, of making Phuket an attractive destination where all prices are fair and competitive, and where there is no corruption.

Phuket's media outlets are even beginning to mention the C word now and again. Awareness is growing, the signs are all promising.

But only with constant pressure will the mistakes of Phuket's past be corrected by the citizens of the present and the future.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


The campaign to eradicate corruption must start from inside the Thai Administration as low-paid civil servants know perfectly what their bosses are making and are able to denounce malpractices.
Constant pressures by anti-corruption committees with random visits in all administration will make difficult for corrupted officials to cheat easily.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on July 3, 2011 11:01


Corruption...the rich get richer..the poor get poorer..the long term answer..ANARCHY..nobody wants this..Lets hope the new government puts corruption top of the will never get rid of it, but it can be SINGAPORE..

Posted by johndev on July 3, 2011 15:20


Corruption is a cancer. It destroys everything. Phuket is at a crossroads. Hope it picks the right path. I will vote with my feet if it doesn't get better in the future. I hope the future of Phuket will be bright. The citizens of Phuket need to hold their government accountable.

Posted by Billy on July 3, 2011 19:48

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