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Prem: Social sanctions needed on the corrupt

Bangkok. December 10, 2005. Statesman Gen Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday revived the King's famous quote reminding people to stick to moral principles, and suggested weeding out the ''bad eggs'' responsible for deep-rooted corruption. Doing good deeds in a society filled with wealth-oriented values is very hard to achieve, Gen Prem said.

But he said society is encouraged to keep alive virtues, referring to the His Majesty the King's speech to the nation in 1969 stressing the importance of moral integrity and preventing the morally corrupt from entering the corridors of power.

''No-one can make everyone good people. To keep the nation in order, it is not necessary to make everyone good people, but order depends on our strong support for good people, who must be given the opportunity to rule the nation, control and prevent bad people from seizing power and causing trouble,'' Gen Prem, also the head of the Privy Council, said, quoting a King's speech.

The chief privy councillor was speaking yesterday at Suranari Technology University to members of local administrative bodies attending a workshop brainstorming ways to expand the anti-graft network.

There are more than 8,000 local administrative bodies nationwide, consisting of 6,700 tambon administration organisations, 1,200 municipalities, and 75 provincial administration organisations as well as Bangkok and Pattaya.

The Office of the Auditor-General last month revealed its recent finding that road and construction projects overseen by some administrative bodies were all undermined by corruption.

In wider society, politicians and state officials have still been questioned by the media and university scholars for alleged policy-oriented graft.

''We may have heard the King's quote more than ten times, and even 100 times for some people who remembered it by heart. But no-one has actually put it into practice,'' said Gen Prem, who is also the honorary president of the Clean Thailand Foundation aimed at financing causes devoted to eradicating corruption.

Speaking about the bad people, he said, society cannot ''let them walk freely''.

Gen Prem suggested social sanctions as a way to punish unethical politicians and businessmen who should be shunned. There was no need or merit in associating with them and they deserved swift legal punishment.

Some are rich, but if their wealth was obtained in a cunning way, their high status deserves no admiration, Gen Prem said. ''Money is not a gauge of one's morality,'' he said.

Ref: Bangkok Post

Prem Tinsulanonda Center for International Education, Chiang Mai, Kingdom of Thailand