Social Network targets 'selfless' reform in Thai society

Economy January 29, 2014 00:00

By Sasithorn Ongdee

The Nation

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With the purpose of "selfless" reform in Thailand, a group of like-minded people from 185 various professions yesterday created "The Social Network for Thailand Reform."

The Network's mission was set to focus on long-term reform in the country, said Secretary Poldej Pinprateep, former Social Development and Human Security deputy minister.

“Thailand stands amidst a crisis, while our society is plagued with political cronyism and corruption, injustice and a media that is neither free nor fair. The government's use of divisive propaganda has resulted in a total loss of confidence in our institutions of governance,” said Poldej.

He said that comprehensive reform, which would be focusing on all segments of Thai society, was urgently called for, including a legal framework to combat cronyism and institutionalized corruption; political and governance reform; judicial reform; economic reform to prevent monopoly; the promotion of good corporate governance and equitable division of wealth and much-needed social reform.

More than 50 members showed up at a press conference in Bangkok, representing the sectors of media, business, farmers and local community, artists, state-owned enterprises and government.

Members then took the stage and freely shared their experiences on why they wanted to join the network to help push reform in the country.

Poldej said that the Network was formulated to work as a horizontal format, not an organisation. They were also not supported by any state agency. “We have not received any budget from the government. We use our own money for any of our workforces or activities,” he insisted.

For the next step, the Network secretary said the group would expand the network into the provinces, starting at Korat, Chaing Mai and Had Yai on January 31. He added that the society might require thousands or even hundreds of thousands of “watchdogs” from several units, in the fight against corruption.

“We do not focus our discussions on whether reform or an election should happen first. We're not going to wait for the election or when new government will come. We will proceed with activities regarding reform,” said Poldej.

Among the 185 members who have joined the Network,were some illustrious professionals, including MR Pridiyadhon, the former governer of the Bank of Thailand, Thawatchai Yongkittikul, Secretary-General of the Thai Bankers Association, Khunying Jada Wattanasiritham, a board member of the Thailand Stock Exchange, Rapee Sagarik, former Dean of Kasetsart University, and economist Wirathai Santipraphop.