No graft in 20 years, says PM
Thailand will be free of corruption in the next 20 years, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Sunday.
Addressing an audience during a ceremony to mark national anti-corruption day at Sanam Luang on Sunday, the prime minister said the government has launched a long-term strategic plan to root out graft.
The plan focuses on several areas, ranging from building awareness among students and school children to improving ways to prevent and punish corruption.
"Corrupt people must be weeded out, and we must stop people falling prey to the scourge in future," he said.
The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) called on Thais to be "active citizens" in curbing graft. ACT chairman Pramon Suthiwong said everyone should join hands to fight corruption.
"We are campaigning to create awareness. We have to honour our duties and careers and not bow to the money offered to buy our dignity," he declared.
At the ceremony, an exhibition of corruption cases was organised. The cases included the country's rice pledging scheme, embezzlement from the Klong-chan Credit Union Cooperative, a 4.3-billion-baht case of value added tax fraud, and corruption in state fertiliser purchases.
The ACT also questioned the transparency of the 2010 "Thai Khem Khaeng" economic stimulus scheme, which aimed to fund public projects, under the Democrat-led government.
The ACT's Facebook @Watchdog ACT Sunday uploaded photos showing gym equipment including an elliptical trainer, shoulder press and other bars, installed in the middle of what appears to be a meadow. The metal machines are surrounded by tall, uncut grass, giving the impression the public land has been neglected and the equipment not used, and raising the question just how effective the scheme was in spending state money.
The Facebook page said the gym equipment was found in tambon Raimai, Sam Roi Yot district of Prachuap Khiri Khan. According to the post, the equipment was procured at a cost of about 200,000 baht under the Thai Khem Khaeng economic stimulus programme during the Democrat Party-led administration.
The message said the gym equipment, however, seems to have been installed in a deserted place. Most of the people there do not use it and it is not clear who put it there or why. The page questioned whether the procurement was cost-effective.