The “wristwatch saga” has aroused a new powerful spirit in Thai politics to fight corruption.
It sounds like big changes are coming when you hear how bad it is now and how good it will be once democracy is returned to Thailand. But how much will be better, given that politicians only point fingers when in opposition? To move forward Thailand needs a huge internal overhaul of the mindset within each and every political party and a strengthening of the laws.
In the West, political parties’ own internal justice kicks out corrupt politicians and makes them pariahs for the rest of their life, to avoid losing voters and reputation. Not so in Thailand. Here, politicians from ALL parties are easily let off the party-hook as there is no internal party justice. Who gets off the hook of the justice system depends on which parties are in power at the time.
Thailand’s political parties must first agree on how to get rid of the corrupt politicians within their own ranks! Then clearly declare that there is no place for political corruption in a democracy. But how far will Thailand get with this, marred as it is by family- or clan-run politics, poisoned by money and money-makers, held back by a patronage system and a deep-rooted history of corruption, in what is not the most law-abiding country on the planet?
Words are not enough; they should be reinforced by new laws. Politicians and civil servants convicted of corruption ought to be banned from public service for life, by law, in addition to harsh sentences and asset seizures. The will is there right now – some good might come of the wristwatch saga.
Prachuap Khiri Khan