Corruption scourge worse than poverty, drugs, Gen Prem says

Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday branded corruption as "the worst evil" and stressed the need for the ombudsman to address the issue.

  • Published: 4/04/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda is accompanied by Chief Ombudsman Panit Nitithanprapas, left, and Ombudsman Siracha Charoenpanij, right, after giving a speech on corruption at an international seminar held to mark the Office of the Ombudsman’s 13th anniversary yesterday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

In his opening address to an international forum organised by the Ombudsman's Office, Gen Prem recalled how his administration from 1980-1988 struggled to fight graft along with poverty and drugs. Of the three, the ex-prime minister described corruption as "the worst evil and a national threat".

He said corrupt officials are lured by greed and are morally void. "They don't care if what they are doing is illegal; it's only money that they are after.

"They shut their eyes to ethics and virtue. Probably they don't even know how to spell those two words, the evil is that deep-rooted."

The ombudsman is duty-bound to stamp out corruption and to educate the public about the seriousness of the situation.

"Corruption is a shameful disgrace to our country. It is the worst evil and it is our duty to resist and defy it. You, as personalities charged with responsibility, must try your utmost to stop it, or your people will fall deeper into the abyss," he told the forum.

"If we don't all lend a hand to solve this major problem, we will be seen by later generations as betrayers."

In his address, Gen Prem also compared poverty to a disease that causes suffering, but noted that living standards are rising and a better future is in sight.

He said Thais are blessed because His Majesty the King has dedicated himself to fighting poverty.

Gen Prem said His Majesty has tried to empower Thais through his sufficiency economy philosophy.

The forum is part of an international seminar and training workshop entitled "Ombudsman: Tangible Justice".

It is being held to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the establishment of the Ombudsman's Office with cooperation from the International Ombudsman Institute.

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Writer: Wassana Nanuam
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