Thais support 'corrupt' megaprojects

Three-quarters of people polled on the government’s 2.2 trillion baht infrastructure development projects plans expect there to be corruption, but just over half still approved of the plan, Nida poll at the National Institution of Development Administration said on Thursday.

The pollster said opinions were sought from 1,249 people of all education levels and occupations nationwide, between March 18 and March 19.

Asked about the government's huge investment plan, 51.56% of respondents said they supported it because it would further develop the country and they wanted better transport systems.

However, 35.07% of them disagreed, given that the plan involved huge loans that would substantially increase the public debt, and might open loopholes for corruption, while 13.37% had no opinion.

On the possibility of corruption in these development projects, 74.78% of the respondents said it was possible because of the huge budget involved. Corruption was endemic and there were hidden benefits in the projects.

A small number, 6.41%, did not expect such problems to occur, believing the government would come up with measures to prevent corruption and to regularly monitor the projects, while 18.82% said they didn't know.

Adis Issarangkul Na Ayutthaya, a lecturer at Nida, said the survey's outcome was in line with his expectations.

Mr Adis said most people supported the megaprojects because they want investment in projects that have value-added economic benefits, rather than just stimulate domestic consumption as the Yingluck administration has been doing.

Many of those polled disagreed with the huge investment plan because they were worried about the burden of additional public debt stemming from the loans, which could become a key problem for the country in the future.

The high percentage of people, 74.78%, who believed there would be corruption in these investment projects reflected the fact that people do not trust this government, he said.

Related search: thailand, corruption, infrastructure plan, megaprojects, 2.2 trillion baht loan, opinion survey, Nida Poll

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