Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Measurements of Abhisit’s Failure Series Part III – Corruption

The military installed puppet government led by Abhisit Vejjijiva has been called “the most corrupt in Thai history.”

Even crazy PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul recognized the overwhelming corruption in the Abhisit regime. "I believe there is more corruption now (the Abhisit administration) than during the Thaksin administration," Sondhi said in 2010.

Transparency International (TI) is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. Since 1995, TI has issued an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a comparative listing of corruption worldwide.  It is interesting to see how Thailand has been ranked with regards to other countries when it comes to corruption.  Below are the tabulated and graphed rankings of Thailand based upon TI’s findings (a lower ranking is better).

Thailand’s Corruption Perceptions Index Rankings from 1999 to 2010:

The sharp increase in corruption between 2006 and 2007 can be directly attributed to the leaders of the September 2006 military coup.  There are those who would want everyone to believe that the Thai military are these great campaigners against corruption, the white horse riding out to save the Thai people from the evil of Shinawatra. They are bloated, overpaid, power mad and inherently corrupt.

The Thai military then installed Abhisit as PM in December 2008 and Thailand’s international corruption perception ranking has remained at an embarrassing level.

So what happened? Abhisit was supposed to be regarded as a relatively “clean” politician.

The reason lies in one of the many fundamental weaknesses of his premiership — he willingly held on to power only with the support of networks of politicians, generals and bureaucrats whose reputation for “cleanness” did not match his own, and who epitomized the patronage politics that has long plagued Thailand.

The army budget has doubled since the 2006 military coup and recent army procurement deals have even raised questions of whether military corruption has worsened since the coup. These include a 350 million baht ($11.4 million) purchase of a leaky surveillance blimp in 2009 and more than 700 UK-made GT200 bomb detectors that turned out to be an embarrassing scam — they are lumps of plastic with no working mechanical parts.

Months into Abhisit’s $42-billion three-year Khem Khaeng government economic stimulus program, two government ministers resigned in scandals linked to abuse of the funds.  Allegations ranged from irregularities in the procurement of hospital equipment and school supplies to rigged bidding process on construction projects.

Then there were more sinister types of corruption like in 2009 when flood victims in Phatthalung province became nauseous after eating spoiled canned fish products which were donated through the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget about Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban, who, as head of the Thai Palm Oil commission, engineered a shortage of palm oil and ensured that his family - prominent palm oil growers in Surat Thani - got a big slice of the 4 billion baht profit made by the major palm oil families down south.

I’d continue listing more corruption during Abhisit’s regime but I’m tired and it would just sound mean anyway.

Since it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, I will, instead, post four pictures of Abhisit with the four most corrupt individuals in Thailand over the last three years.

These pictures remind me of three separate but similar famous sayings we have here in the US:

1.    A man is known by the company he keeps.

2.    He that lies down with dogs will rise up with fleas.


3.    Abhisit Vejjajiva is a lying and corrupt bastard with blood on his hands.

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