Ref: "Junta wants reforms done quickly", news, July 6.
The highlighted thoughts of permanent secretary of defence General Surasak Kanchanarat are pleasant surprises. Self-recognition of unsustainable Army supremacy is immensely laudable. They don’t need the “superior” West to tell them that. However, I like to put the general’s guided focus on “five to six” topics in a broad-brush way:
Accountability: Everyone using taxpayers’ money is required to state openly and timely how it has been spent and be subjected to continuous audits and monthly website reports (the ridiculous state of the rice-pledging scheme is an example of the big hole in our system and attitude).
Moral hazard: The wrongdoers should be punished more quickly than the due process of the law. Presumption of innocence is being taken too far. The parties that shut down the airports in 2008 are still enjoying freedom. Similarly, we are still waiting for the end result of a permanent secretary of transport’s suspected corruption in 2011. The legal environment does not encourage men in power to morally do the right thing.
Authoritarian oppression: Elections need to be less managed and controlled by local authorities who have been the “men” of politicians and local magnates. The thought of electing provincial governors, district officials and policemen instead of being appointed by the powerful ministry of interior could be an attractive alternative. Only by adhering to the above basic criteria as an aim could we avoid delay in reform implementation and discourage the time-wasting on details. It is the practice of Thais in confusing your opponents with details in order to win an argument. To gain long-term respect, a referendum is called for.