The NCCC


I attended the conference at the National Counter-Corruption Commission (NCCC) on Friday and Saturday and, indeed, gave a paper of my own. The NCCC is a very Thai institution: polite, land of smiles, very pro-establishment, full of very right-wing assumptions and prejudices. These occasionally emerge in what people say (examples: “we all hope this [i.e. Abhisit’s] government lasts for a long time” and “paedophiles are middle-aged men from western countries”).

Well, all countries have institutions like this, of course, although it does seem to be a little stronger here. Corruption has become (or has strengthened) a politicized issue. The dominant view (at least as expressed by the speakers, commentators and so forth that I heard) is that corruption largely arises because of moral deficiency and is much more prevalent among the poor. In addition, it has become common for any government policy with which people disagree to be labelled as ‘corrupt’ and for court proceedings to be taken against those responsible, including the whole cabinet if it passed a policy. Recently, we have had discussions about cases against the Thai Rak Thai and successor cabinets for the policy to buy trees for planting in the north-east of the country – these would help to alleviate problems of flooding, offer cash crop diversification and have other environmental benefits. This has been called ‘corrupt’ on the pretext that it was possible to buy cheaper seedlings (I am simplifying the case overall) – well, it is nearly always possible for any government to buy things more cheaply but price is not the only criterion to be considered. Many people suspect that a political agenda is behind such cases, especially as they only ever seem to be brought against one political party and other cases which might equally well be investigated, for example some of the military procurement deals during General Surayud’s junta which have been questioned, are swept under the carpet.

I offered an alternative view that corruption was generally the result of systemic reasons rather than the malevolence of individuals but it was not, as I suspected, very popular. Blaming individuals and identifying them as ill-willed is, as I started off by saying, a very Thai response.

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JW

JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

6 thoughts on “The NCCC”

  1. “I offered an alternative view that corruption was generally the result of systemic reasons rather than the malevolence of individuals but it was not, as I suspected, very popular. Blaming individuals and identifying them as ill-willed is, as I started off by saying, a very Thai response.”

    Absolutely agree.

  2. What is the very latest on the fire truck, boat case? News on last Thursday noted indictment close a hand, report today says yet another “new” panel is to be put in place to investigate the case.

    I urgently need the best update available. Any leads, please??
    directbyowner@gmail.com

  3. i would like to learn more about your “alternative view” na, really.

    before i know these, i can’t argue on “systemic reasons” — though term sounds promising.

    here’s a quote: “The dominant view (at least as expressed by the speakers, commentators and so forth that I heard) is that corruption largely arises because of moral deficiency and is much more prevalent among the poor.”

    if _that_ indeed is a reflection of speakers’ opinion — na, for sure, it’s a “sign of the times” 😉

    imho, corruption is dangerous, really dangerous as it starts at the _top_. it ruins systems as _top_ “elite”/”role models” start to bend the rules.

    it may be that corruption is more prevalent among the poor in “real” numbers. but systemic corruption starts at the top.

    if you look around the world, if you look at democratic countries, corruption of civil rights, corruption of markets, corruption of policies — it’s a top deal. & it’s civil society that’s challenged to find a response & transformation.

    na, just my 0,02ht
    thx for text 🙂

  4. to me it is very much and TOO BLOODY clear :

    the very fact that these guys at NCCC so shamelessly make statements as “corruption … is much more prevalent among the poor” – indicates THEIR OWN corruption and MORAL deficiency.

    what a cruel joke – these peope have no any morals at all !

    I mean, all those people DO KNOW who is who, and who is getting how much for what – and they look at each other, smile, talk “politely”, and I bet nod and wink when they make such pronouncements !

    so, what to speak about any chances of getting this country clean of corruption, if even the members of this so called NCCC are thoroughly rotten !

    please read 2 fresh op-eds :

    Farmers must be given land
    http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/18305/farmers-must-be-given-land

    also

    Badly flawed scheme
    http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/18242/a-scheme-so-badly-flawed

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