Dr. Juree Vichit-Vadakan Secretary-General Transparency Thailand
I. Thailand’s Political Evolution Since 1932 “Parliamentary Democracy” not continuous, interrupted by military dictatorship and quasi- dictatorship “Democracy” is equated with election. Basic principles and tenets of democracy not widely understood nor inculcated Traditional beliefs and values persist, especially ‘patronage’, ‘personalism’, ‘cronyism’, and ‘nepotism’
II. Continuity and Stability of Bureaucracy: Strengths and Weaknesses As functioning state mechanism in times of weak political leadership As stabilizing force and the engine of development and change As an incubator and nurturer for expertise, talents, and ‘technocrats’ As a conservative self-serving and self-engendering force Not subject or motivated to serve the public.
III. Corruption, Good Governance and the Bureaucratic System Petty and grand corruptions are pervasive Political actors seen as most corrupt by all in society Civil servants and public agencies have been involved in corruption cases. Voluntary and involuntary collusions between politicians/civil servants and private sector entities
IV. What makes corruption pervasive? Values and attitudes: Tolerance and ‘live and let live’ attitude Ethics and integrity undermined Increased materialism and consumerism Bad role models at high places Punishment of wrong doings either not forthcoming, takes too long or selective Social sanction against corruption is too low
V. Mechanisms and Efficacy of Anti- Corruption agents and Measures Many state agencies are involved directly or indirectly Ministry of Justice Office of Civil Service Commission Office of the Public Sector Development Commission The National Counter Corruption Commission The Ombudsman The Anti-Money Laundering Agency Office of the Auditor General Inter-agency coordination and collaboration on corruption not an on-going agenda
V. Mechanisms and Efficacy of Anti- Corruption agents and Measures Lack of political will or leadership to counter corruption Media, academics and civil society have made anti- corruption a public issue National Counter Corruption Strategy launched by NCCC in August 2008
VI. Weaknesses in and Challenges to the Public Institutions (continued) Public perceptions place certain agencies as most vulnerable Police Land department Local government schools and teachers Unscrutinized public institutions may be vulnerable also. Especially in grand corruption Public mistrust and cynicism
VI. Weaknesses in and Challenges to the Public Institutions Inherent weaknesses of public institution Centralization of power and disempowerment of public servants Lack of balance and control vis-à-vis strong and unethical political oversight and interventions Involution and constraints as inhibitive factors against growth and development Lack of horizontal linkages among civil servants intra-agency or inter-agency Lack of either promoting or protective mechanisms for innovators, initiators as well as whistle blowers Civil servants lack solidarity and protective shields against external, political pressure.
VII. Current Government Unstable and opposed by many in the urban areas Political legitimacy, moral and ethical qualifications of top political leaders are challenged Dissolution of parliament and re-election will not change the existing political cleavage and factionalism significantly Political divide and crisis of confidence are symptomatic of a poorly functioning democracy
VIII. Gaps and Challenges in Transparency and Accountability in the Public Sector Access to information is legally stipulated Open access is uneven and not uniform Factors that impede open access Cultural factors – openness and transparency VS patronage, cronyism, and nepotism State dominance and state ideology and mindset Personalism undermines the notion of publicness Technology usage and support uneven among agencies On-going supply of data and information by all sub- units in an agency is problematic
IX. Role of Civil Society in Fighting Corruption (cont) Anti-corruption as a new role and mission for civil society Civil society leaders have emerged and made a significant impact State-initiated and supported networks have come into existence
IX. Role of Civil Society in Fighting Corruption Barriers exist against civil society and private individuals in fighting corruption Partnership needs to be developed and nurtured Civil society, NGOs in particular, need wider acceptance and support from society and the state. Effective “whistle blower” and witness protection mechanisms and system are needed
X. Measures to Promote Anti- Corruption in Public Officials (cont) Inculcation of values of honesty transparency and accountability from point of entry Promoting moral integrity and courage through Civil Service Association On-going activities on promoting these values Giving awards and recognitions for courageous persons Linkages and networks both intra-agency and inter- agency Reinforcement through meetings, field study trips and exchanges with experts
X. Measures to Promote Anti- Corruption in Public Officials Promoting moral integrity and courage through Organizing civil servants horizontally to shield them from unethical manipulations from political bosses Promote and encourage networking and partnering with civil society and the media for anti-corruption and good governance Rebuild and restore public service as an honorable and esteemed career