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Yesterday Surin Pitsuwan the former Asean secretary general warned that Thailand’s worsening corruption problem is a cancer that could lead to the Kingdom’s collapse and cause severe impacts on the region and called for increased awareness about the “crisis” and strict and straightforward enforcement of the anti-corruption law.
Surin is a key member of the opposition party and chairman of the Future Innovative Thailand Institute, which is connected to the Democrat Party.
He said “I would like to warn that we are becoming a disaster for ourselves and for the region. If we collapse due to the corruption problem, there will be impacts on this region,” He went on to say that in order to treat the worsening social threat, there was an urgent need to change the attitude of many Thais, particularly younger people, about corruption. He cited opinion surveys, which found that more than 70 per cent of respondents aged below 20 said they would accept corruption if they benefit from it. He continued “without a change in attitude, future generations of Thais will suffer severely from the negative consequences of graft. The people of today will be blamed for failing to get serious against corruption, it is estimated that Thailand lost about Bt100 billion a year to corruption. This is a severe tumour that is destroying the country’s competitiveness and Thailand will be left behind by everyone else,” adding that many foreign investors avoid Thailand due to rampant graft and that Thailand should abide by the anti-corruption agreement among Aseanmember countries, and the country should sign an international convention on bribe-taking in order to show it was serious about tackling corruption.
“Over the past decade, Thailand has been unable to get rid of corruption and the problem tends to get worse. Surveys by different organisations have found that political parties are the main cause of corruption. And the mass media have failed to reflect on the problem of corruption,” he said.
Surin also called on the mass media to pay more heed to the problem so it was not a weak link in the fight against corruption.
Surin served as the 12th Asean secretary-general for five years from early 2008 to late 2013