Former Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) chairman identified small private sectors that are not strong must submit to pay bribes in exchange for convenience, including not being targeted or nitpicked.
He also noted that foreign investors know thoroughly but do not brave to disclose. He pointed out that the licensing process is a loophole for corruption. Government has to support the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to enforce laws strictly and suppress both corrupted politicians and government officials.
Mr. Paiboon Ponsuwanna, Former TNSC chairman, as an honorary adviser to TNSC, said in an interview that TNSC’s stance is opposition to corruption because every step of corruption is the cost of running a business. However, if they are SMEs or small businesses that don’t have enough power, they may be required to pay bribe.
“Thailand’s current corruption problem has not decreased. There is still various forms of corruption, including kickbacks and tribute. As an export businessman and TNSC representative, I had met executives from Japanese firms that invested in Thailand. Most of them don’t want to pay bribe because the company’s accounting will have problems and difficulties. However, foreign companies are powerless to argue or against, they must accept to pay bribe because they are afraid that if they don’t pay, their business in Thailand will have obstacle such as being libel, be nitpicked when doing business or being harassed,” warned the former TNSC chairman.
Mr. Paiboon thinks that corruption will change based on the era and technology. It causes offenders to be cautious while requesting bribe, such as being recorded video and eavesdropped. The amount of corruption will vary based on the sort of business, for example, building contractors or firms that have to require a license from government agency would face this problem more than other types of businesses. More importantly, Thailand’s corruption has now spread to the lowest levels of administration. There is corruption in accordance with position of duty in the public service related to documents or licenses, for example, a minor position may not benefit as much as a high position.
Honorary Adviser NACC called on NACC to make anti-corruption law formidably by enforcing implementing the law strictly and respond to corrupt people to the fullest and seriously. In the past, corruption projects tended to focus only on politicians but civil servants aren’t focus much.
Mr. Paiboon confirmed that Thai legislation is quite strict, but it is more dependent on the people that use or implement the law and he would like those involved in this situation to see an example of Mr. Xi Jinping, President of China, who strictly enforces anti-corruption measures on close allies and top executives in various regions. For public sector to reduce corruption, one should begin with themselves and their families.
“A political party that is about to take power must have a clear and serious policy. Don’t just say anything during the campaign. It should begin by leaders and those around them thinking positively, behaving in a good way and being truthful to society as well as the country. Keep in mind that corruption is a sin that will be passed down to others’ children,” Mr. Paiboon concluded.
12 Jun 2023
Comment: Corruption might be a bliss
China is presented here as a positive example, and that looks to be quite a misleading assumption. With all cruel punishments imposed on corrupt officials, including even public executions, corruption doesn’t decrease, and to think of it, is inevitable. The core roots of corruption aren’t corrupt officials or not diligent enough law enforcement, the roots are in the system itself, whether the State is Thailand, or China, or USA, or EU, or Russia. Too many laws and regulations, ever increasing bureaucratic apparatus and State’s attempts to control everybody and everything, lead to thriving corruption. Today’s States are corruption paradise. Transparency and digitalization don’t help and won’t help – if nothing else, they’ll make situation worse, not better – but that’s a different story.
In many cases, it is not strictly speaking, corruption – companies and persons pay not for corrupt deal, but for absolutely legal deal or document, hoping to speed up process and avoid unnecessary formalities. There’s an economic demand for corruption, without oiling wheels of corruption economy will be heavily, and negatively, impacted.
The States and their monstrously gross law systems, plus as of recent, growing pressure of absolutely insane laws hammered into nations by “international” bodies, are making criminals out of SMEs and common people – there’s hardly anything we can do without, most often unknowingly, violating something.
The solution lies not in severity of punishments or diligence of law enforcement, but in making regulatory environment survivable (let alone friendly) for business and public in general. As of now, it is barely survivable, often with only the help of corruption. The way it all goes, corruption might evolve from curse into a bliss.
June 13 2023