The Nation


Letters to the Editor

Lack of sound governance has held Thailand back

Much of the technology used in manufacturing, from IT equipment to cars, is imported from more developed nations. There is no resistance to this, and in fact it is allowing the country to develop competitively. Similarly with medical services, Thailand has doctors to rival any in the Western world using the most recent technology, much of which originates in the US and Europe.

Politically the situation is quite different. There seems to be an aversion to benefiting from the experience of developed countries in establishing a sound form of governance that would stabilise the country. The UK is a mature democracy that has evolved over some 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Thailand's "Magna Carta" dates back to 1932, only eight decades ago. In terms of democracy, Thailand is a toddler.

While the country is prepared to welcome all that is the state of the art from overseas, establishing it in the 21st century, it is lagging behind in the most fundamentally important area - sound governance. Industry needs proven technology but so does governance, the basis for social and political stability and thereby economic stability.

There is so much dispute even over what democracy is and the Constitution is considered with respect by some while others claim it is biased because it was drawn up by the military in 2007 following the coup of 2006. It is argued that its predecessor of 1997 was more just. This situation has repeated itself since 1932. Is it not time to import some democratic "technology" from an established democracy by way of a written constitution embodying all the core principles of democracy?

Such a charter based on 800 years of evolution should be acceptable as the basis of a true democracy anywhere in the world. Whilst the UK does not have a written constitution, it could produce one or at least pass on its experience to formulate one.

Sometimes the best way forward is to back up, start with a clean sheet and move ahead. Threats of civil war, coup, vigilantes in red shirts, kleptocracy and a partisan police force would all be relegated to history together with the perpetrators.

JC Wilcox


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