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Phuket represents Thailand's best chance of busting corruption

Phuket's Best Chance of Beating Corruption

Saturday, June 19, 2010
News Analysis

THERE'S an international conference on corruption scheduled for Thailand in November, and it just might be Phuket's best chance to get a few of its problems sorted.

Fifteen hundred delegates are coming from more than 130 countries, and Prime Minister Abhist Vejjajiva has already begun to make remarks about the importance of finding a solution for corruption in Thailand.

Phuketwan's suggestion is that if the PM really does aim to make Thailand corruption-free, he should start with a small, self-contained province - Phuket, to be precise. Wipe out corruption on Phuket first, then use the lessons learned by the experience to tackle corruption in the other 75 provinces.

One problem is, though, that while many visitors and residents on Phuket understand the entrenched nature of corruption on the island, the word still has not spread very far. Phuket people need to start spreading the word now.

When Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob retires in September, that will be the ideal time to accelerate the process to end corruption on Phuket. Whoever takes over from Governor Wichai should be given a clear mandate by the PM: ''Your job is to obliterate corruption on Phuket. You have my support to undertake this difficult task, and you can rely on the full authority of the government.''

Anyone who wants that process to begin on Phuket soon should start lobbying the PM and the government now. It can be done, and it must be done, for the sake of Phuket's future, and for Thailand. Write a letter, tell your MP or your ambassador, or even the PM, that it's a good idea.

The problem is, of course, that Phuket is not widely noted for corruption, beyond those of us who live here and are constantly affected by it. The body that is organising November's big gabfest in Bangkok, the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, also needs to know about Phuket's problem.

When you write to your MP, the PM or your ambassador, email a copy of the letter to the IACC at info@14iacc.org.

The ''End Corruption on Phuket'' timetable makes 2010 a good time to start. If the topic of corruption is given an airing in August at Phuket's next ''mini-United Nations'' meeting between honorary consuls, embassy representatives and the governor, and if the new governor has a mandate from September to end corruption on Phuket, then PM Abhisit will have something positive to relay to the international anti-corruption summit in November.

There are many ways of explaining the problem of corruption on Phuket, but the most obvious emerged amid laughter as I read the description of Thailand's public transport in an online guide for the IACC conference delegates at www.14iacc.org

Here's what it says:
Transportation
''Public transport in Thailand is plentiful and inexpensive, both in Bangkok and the provinces, making life for the visitor convenient and enjoyable. The main forms are as follows:''

Taxi
''Taxis cruising the city streets are metered. They charge a minimum fare of 35 baht for the first 3 kilometres, and approximately 5 baht per kilometre thereafter. Try to make sure you have the correct money, as taxi drivers are often reluctant to give change! If using an expressway, passengers must pay the amount indicated at each tollgate.''

Tuk-Tuk
''These three-wheeled open-air taxis, named after their engine's distinctive sound, are popular for short journeys, although they are often more expensive than taxis unless you are good at bargaining the fare in advance. Expect to pay 40 baht upwards for even a very short trip.''

So when you have finished laughing, set out to tell your MP, the PM or your ambassador the truth about public transport on the tropical holiday island of Phuket.

Who knows?

Perhaps a sub-committee from the IACC could even be persuaded to come to Phuket to see what we have to put up with for themselves. Now is certainly a great time. Why not make a start today?
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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It will be interesting how this will turn out. We understand it's bad for the country itself with corruption, but are people willing to understand this and accept it ?

Publicise movies about corruption, how it works and what it leads to. Show the truth even how much pain it will give, sometimes it's to start sooner than later and sometimes my food don't taste so good, but I know it don't happen so often so I still smile and will enjoy the dinner tomorrow even better.

Another big problem is, the 'corruption', are they ready to move out ?

I hope it will be good for Phuket in future and everyone who has business here to continue a better and safer Phuket. This is both for us and for tourists coming.

Btw, you need a bigger text area field to write in ;)

Posted by Anders on June 19, 2010 15:32

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You mean there's an alternative system to corruption.
When polled 9 out of ten cats said they were quite happy with the present arrangement.
Somewhere along the line the "e" word for Thai laws has been hijacked.
Those who's duty is to enforce the law, simply use it as a means for extortion.

Editor: You prefer not to believe most of the news you read, yet a survey about corruption convinces you the cause is hopeless. Maybe you need to stop cherry-picking reports that support your jaundiced viewpoint and treat the jaundice. Wallow in self-pity, or do something? Alternatives only cease to be possible where cynicism and inaction prevail.

Posted by Peter Jones on June 19, 2010 18:32

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Perhaps if they paid the organisers a bigger bribe they could get it moved down here to the new corruption riddled MICE center they keep talking about.

Then arrive at the corrupt airport to use the corrupt transport option.. Which could take them to whatever hotel pays the highest premium or has the most powerful connections.

After that I am sure it will be a doddle to sort out.

Posted by LivinLOS on June 20, 2010 08:31

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I would be surprised if Thailand were able to significantly stamp out corruption. It seems to run from the lower echelons of society up to the highest.

Does anyone really believe that there is a person in Thailand who is able to convince the people to move away from corruption?

There is too much money involved and people (not just Thais) love money, but some love money way too much and will do anything to get it, keep it and get more. For those people money seems like a god and boy-o-boy do they worship it.

Editor: It's possible to at least control corruption. Phuket's problem has more to do with outrageous greed. But nothing will change if cynicism prevails.

Posted by Anonymous on June 20, 2010 11:46

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Ok, What do we do to get the ball rolling? We have been going to Phuket every year for the last seven years and we have been witness to corruption almost each visit.

Whether its someone hiring a jet ski and being told to pay half of what the jet ski is worth for a scratch that was already there. That's just small feed - but it sickens me when the corruption goes beyond that.

It would be nice if Phuket was corruption free. At least then, you would feel that taking a problem to the powers that be would not be greeted with 'I'm sorry, not my problem'.

Editor: A better time to explain the size and scope of Phuket's problems to international and national authorities will not come along in a hurry. Tell us in detail your experiences with corruption. Send an email, using your real name, to the IACC. The more comments they get, the faster the ball will roll.

Posted by Talon on June 20, 2010 13:36

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Good luck. Corruption is so deep in the island I don't think they can get rid of it. I hope they do, but will not hold my breath. The island every year is worse and worse, I lived there for five years, recently moved, and will never return. I will never spend one more satang in that economy.

Posted by Chris on June 21, 2010 10:28


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