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Reform group voices need for anti-graft courts

Settle current cases, plug loopholes, make corruption serious offence: group

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is being urged by a reform group to set up anti-corruption courts, make graft a serious offence with no statue of limitations and set up an anti-corruption fund.

In presenting his proposal at the 12th Thailand Development Forum yesterday, reformer Wasant Paileeklee said the NCPO must make eliminating corruption an urgent national agenda item and allow the private and civic sectors to take part in fighting graft by allowing them to file cases directly.

He said all corruption cases must be resolved quickly and all mega-projects must be reviewed to ensure transparency and that the public interest is protected.

He said laws and regulations on corruption must be overhauled, loopholes plugged and outdated rules removed.

People convicted of corruption should face having their assets seized by the state. Public awareness against corruption must be instilled at the grass-roots level nationwide.

Thierawit Wongnorawee, another reformer, is pushing for a national policy council comprising a cross-section of the community to present the country's strategic long- and short-term development.

The council must be free from politicians and its proposals must be adopted by elected governments. Cabinet members are directly elected by voters and must not be under the banner of a political party.

Respected senior figure Professor Rapee Sagarik praised NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha for his comment about not liking to rise up high, saying the Army chief possesses wisdom.

"I Do Not Like Rising Up High" is the name of a book Rapee wrote.

Western values 'dangerous'

Rapee opposes the trend of adopting Western cultures and values, saying some people who went abroad came back to Thailand wanting the country to follow in the footsteps of Western cultures without screening.

"This is dangerous because it would destroy our culture and our roots,'' he said.

Dr Poldej Pinprateep, who chaired yesterday's forum, said representatives at the event had expressed concern that the ongoing reform efforts by the NCPO might lack a concept or the structure needed to drive it towards success, since the NCPO only focused on tackling particular issues.

He said the military's reconciliation policy at grass-roots and regional levels, especially getting warring groups to meet one another, was seen as merely propaganda.

Poldej urged the military to allow public participation and accept people's reform and reconciliation ideas.

He said the military had refused to take up outside proposals, reasoning it was not the right time to do so.


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