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Thailand slips to 99th rank in corruption index

Boris Sullivan

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Why is Asia Pacific making little to no progress in its anti-corruption efforts? One of the reasons is an overall weakening of democratic institutions and political rights, says Patricia Moreira, Transparency International’s managing director.

Thailand ranked No.99, on par with the Philippines, out of 180 countries and territories in the survey. Thailand’s ranking was 76 in 2015 and sinked down to 102 the year after.

Singapore was joint No.3 in the world rankings, Malaysia No.61, Indonesia No.89, Vietnam No.117, Myanmar No.132 and Cambodia No.161. 

ASIA PACIFIC: LITTLE TO NO PROGRESS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION

Most top scorers in the region, including New Zealand and Australia, have well-functioning democratic systems, which help contribute to their top scores.

Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.


Delia Ferreira Rubio Chair Transparency International

However, there are some countries within the region, including Singapore and Hong Kong, which still control corruption effectively, despite being largely non-democratic.

Why do some weak democracies and autocracies perform well on the CPI without the same checks and balances found in full democracies? In the cases of Singapore and Hong Kong, both countries are microstates with strong anti-corruption institutions.

Despite stagnation and declines in the 2018 scores, there are promising political developments within the region, particularly in Malaysia (47), Maldives (31), Pakistan (33) and India (41) that will be important to watch moving forward.

In all four countries, massive public mobilisation against corruption coupled with significant political participation and voter turnout resulted in new governments that promise extensive anti-corruption reforms.

The erosion of democratic foundations is stifling anti-corruption efforts

These help to control corruption in some areas, but don’t ensure the sustainable, anti-corruption infrastructures that are found in many full democracies.

However, despite these outliers, the erosion of democratic foundations is stifling anti-corruption efforts across the region, including in Cambodia and Thailand.

Vietnam was involved in several recent corruption scandals involving Denmark, Japan and the US. In 2015, authorities in both Japan and the US, found that companies were paying bribes to Vietnamese government officials in exchange for either government contracts or development assistance.

In addition, more recently in 2017 the World Bank debarred a Danish consultant company for its involvement in bribing Vietnamese government officials.

With the exception of a few of top scorers in the Asia Pacific, most countries are failing in the fight against corruption and need to do far more

Business

Thailand Approves Latest Economic Relief Package for Businesses

Some 250 billion baht (US$8 billion) was allocated for soft loans while the remaining 100 billion baht (US$3.2 billion) will go towards an ‘asset warehousing’ program whereby debtors can use their assets as loan collateral but will have the right to redeem their assets under a specific time frame.

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On March 23, 2021, Thailand’s government approved its latest economic relief package, valued at 350 billion baht (US$11.2 billion), to support businesses in the country.

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Thailand BOI approves Biotech Projects Worth 2.4 Bln Baht ($78 million)

The biotechnology sector is part of the so-called BCG model (Bio, Circular and Green economy) which the Thai government has set as a priority to lead the post-Covid 19 recovery.

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The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) said today it has recently approved new projects in the field of advanced biotechnology, worth a combined 2.4 billion baht (around USD78 million) in investment, reflecting the increased interest of local and foreign investors in the country’s biotech sector.

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Asia-Pacific sees 3.9% growth in deal activity in February 2021

Boris Sullivan

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Chair’s Statement on the Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMM)

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region saw a 3.9% month-on-month growth in deal activity (mergers & acquisitions, private equity and venture financing deals) from 1,126 deals to 1,170 deals in February 2021, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

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