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Blueprint 'may bridge divide'

Reform commission pinpoints nine areas that need to be improved

The Law Reform Commission of Thailand (LRCT) believes its nine-point blueprint for reforming government can help bridge the yawning gap between the haves and have-nots - the catalyst of the current crisis in politics.

After three years of research, the LRCT has found nine key areas in need of improvement:

- Decentralise government by holding elections for governors in every province and setting up local and civil councils to develop communities. From taxes collected locally, keep 70 per cent for use in local areas and remit 30 per cent to the central government.

- Upgrade natural resources management.

- Nurture small and medium enterprises by providing them access to low-cost capital to boost competitiveness in the Asean community.

- Improve gender equality.

- Overhaul social welfare, promote the quality of life and healthcare, and support labour unions.

- Establish labour standards in Asean and pay the same wages for all Asean citizens.

- Restructure the justice system, especially the police by allowing local governments to have more authority.

- Strengthen checks and balances by revising organic laws.

- Rewrite business laws to ensure fair and free trade.

LRCT director Banjerd Singkaneti said local government is inefficient because it is given only 26 per cent of state funds, while some money is wasted through corruption.

LRCT director Sukhumpong Ngonkham said efforts to combat corruption have failed miserably. The National Anti-Corruption Commis-sion has more than 10,000 cases pending and no one knows how many have exceeded the statute of limitations.

Since its establishment five years ago, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission has completed investigations of only two cases.

The current election commissioners have been unable to punish election fraud since they have been in office.

The selection process for members of independent organisations needs readjustment because candidates are limited to only people close to selection committee members.

The government ignores proposals presented by councils and committees such as the National Economic and Social Advisory Council and the National Human Rights Commission even though it funds their studies with huge budgets, he added.

LRCT chairman Kanit na Nakorn said the LRCT has presented many practical suggestions to the government but it adopted just one for use - rehabilitating criminals and giving compensation to victims.

"The government only uses the TRC to its advantage in terms of boosting its popularity.''

Both political camps should iron out their differences to end the political conflict.

"I had advised ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra to wash his hands of politics. It's time we sacrificed and apologised just as they do abroad. Struggling for victory only destroys our dear country,'' he said.


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