The National Anti-Corruption Commission launches its first anti-corruption exposition today with the lofty goal of making Thailand corruption-free. Twenty-seven leading business operators have agreed to form a collective alliance to work against corruption.
Participants include Siam Cement Group (SCG), Bangchak Petroleum, Central Pattana, Kasikornbank, Toshiba (Thailand), and Pfizer (Thailand).
The Thai Institute of Directors Association (IOD) expects membership will rise to 200 companies next year. The alliance aims to make all parts of society more concerned about the country’s competitiveness, which is shrinking due to corruption in both the private and public sectors.
In September, the IOD, the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce jointly conducted a survey among 1,000 business respondents nationwide and found that 93 per cent perceived corruption existed, 88 per cent felt it would worsen and 77 per cent felt it was increasing. Fifty-four percent said corruption cost them between 10 per cent and 30 per cent more for services and production.
A World Bank report titled “The Business Case for Collective Action AgainstCorruption” estimated the cost of corruption surpasses US$1 trillion worldwide each year. Corruption not only has costs for business development but also cripples countries trying to ward off poverty as that money could have helped create jobs.
“We want to encourage whistleblowers by collaborating with leading business sectors to create a code of conduct as a guideline to say no to corruption,” said Mr Charnchai.
He suggested Thailand study the example of the Philippines.
“We hope to see most civil servants and company staff dare to say no to corruption 10 years from now. Building this new attitude is similar to the practice of corporate social responsibility, which is now booming among corporate and government agencies here,” said IOD president Charnchai Charuvastr.
A survey of school children by the Clean, Open and Transparent Thailand group suggested an attitude of resignation to graft.
Of the children in 38 schools surveyed, 34% said corruption had become a part of Thai culture and could not be eradicated. Forty-five per cent did not object to giving small sums to government officials to iron out inconveniences; another 54% could tolerate corrupt politicians as long as their work benefited the country.
Thai adults share a similar attitude. In a survey on moral integrity by an Abac poll conducted in 2007, 50.5% of 4,753 respondents would accept a corrupt government if it would help improve their lives.
14TH IACC OPENS IN BANGKOK, THAILAND, 10-13 NOVEMBER 2010
The 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 10 – 13 November 2010 on the theme, “Restoring trust: Global action for transparency”. As the world’s foremost anti-corruption event, the IACC is the international forum for engaging in innovative debates on the corruption challenges of our future.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis insecurity has flourished and the challenges threatening the livelihood of populations across the world have increased, creating an environment ripe for corruption. Many of the right promises have been made – the task at hand is to ensure that commitments are honoured.
To restore peoples’ trust and rebuild the credibility of institutions, governments must move beyond expressions of political will to concrete action; private sector must put a check on bribery and fulfil their obligations as corporate citizens; and civil society must demand accountability. Above all, there is an urgent need for all actors to work together towards a transparent and accountable global governance agenda.
Over 1,500 participants from over 135 countries are expected at the 14th IACC, drawing together heads of state, academics, civil society, business and government representatives. The conference will serve as a platform to reshape the international agenda by creating collaborative strategies and advocacy on a national and global scale. The IACC is held every two years in a different region of the world and features an impressive line-up of prominent global leaders.
Be part of the solution. Join leading experts at the 14th IACC where the international community will produce strategies and recommendations to reset the global governance agenda for a sustainable future. Please visit the conference website for updates on the agenda and participation: www.14iacc.org.