Politics: Using corruption as a political game is hot again, but factual, how corrupt is Thaksin anyway?

Using corruption, to justify dictatorship is hot in Bangkok, but before that, how corrupt is Thaksin anway?

Introduction:

Most neutral observer of Thailand says, everything about Thailand have been corrupted by Thai politics and have split everything into sides. The situation is commonly called, the “Great Thai Political Divide.”

That “Thai Divide”, have resulted in the following:

Judges have played a key role in Thailand’s political conflict since xxxxxxxxxxx called on them in a speech five months before the coup to resolve a pending constitutional crisis. Since then, courts have voided an election won by Thaksin’s party, disbanded two parties linked to him, disqualified about 200 of his allies, sentenced him to jail and seized 46 billion baht ($1.6 billion) of his wealth.

In fact, the Thai Elite establishment, did all of the above, because it sees Thaksin as “Evil” that is “Corrupt to the Core.” To the Elite, Thaksin is the most corrupt politician in Thai history.

The question is, who is the “Just and Fair” Watch Dog?

Take Bangkok Post, with a board filled with pro Abhisit and pro Elite Establishment people, its report on corruption under Yingluck, is 100% anti Yingluck propaganda.

For example, a few months ago Transparency International came out with its annual corruption perception report. The bare numbers is that under Yingluck, corruption was less, meaning it improved. However, that improved number, still saw Thailand fell in overall ranking in the globe.

Bangkok Post reported on that Transparency International finding, and basically, Bangkok Post said Thai corruption was getting worse as the global ranking fell. Bangkok Post did not say the raw data was improving, or did it say, Yingluck’s raw data, was better than Abhisit’s data.

That report by Bangkok Post, was clearly, “Propaganda” against Yingluck. In journalism, “Propaganda” equates to “Corruption.” What I am trying to point out, is not about Yingluck’s corruption, but that corruption is a very “Sensitive and Subtle” subject, that is about everything people are involved with.

1)

Power Grab & Corruption

I was born in 1959, and that makes me about 53. Most of those 53 years were spent in Thailand. What I am trying to say, is that I have lived through countless “Power Grab” in Thailand. And if you do not believe me, study Wikipedia, because in practically ever Thai power grab, those out to grab power, says the current government in power, is “Corrupt.”

What is amazing, and again, if you do not believe me study Wikipedia, is that after that Thai power grab, if succeed, have resulted in a new government in power, and most of these new government would go after the previous government “Corruption.”

The conclusion, of the introductory section is, what Thaksin went through, with all the corruption issue, is nothing new in Thailand. In fact, what Thaksin went through with the corruption issue, had been repeated and play-out so many times, it is similar, to a “Broken Record.”

But given that the above, that I have written is correct, does it mean that Thaksin is not corrupt? Clearly, what occurred in the past is only an indication of the likelihood of the future. But the future can be independent of the past.

What I am trying to say, is that Thaksin, could be the exception, in being genuinely corrupt. So how do we answer this question, if Thaksin is corrupt or not? Here, the best thing to do is try to stick to the “Truth and Facts.”

However, Thailand is a highly corrupt country. Corrupt, not just about money and business, but everything else here, from politics to justice system, they are all corrupt.

This is Thailand, where the “Truth and Facts” are mostly hidden, not for the public to see. That is the case, so that the Elite Thai Establishment can use their network, mostly hidden behind the scene, to control Thailand.

Even the Thai courts, are not a place to discover “Truth and Facts” as the World Justice Report says, Thailand’s civil justice system, is under “Political” influence. In fact, just days ago, a Thai Constitutional Court judge, admitted the court had ruled, politically to get rid of a Prime Minster, close to Thaksin.

Everything is corrupt in Thailand, and the greatest hypocrisy is the press in Thailand, going after corruption, whiles they themselves, are corrupt to the core. One of the favorite news reports by the Thai press, appearing all the time to condemn corruptin, is how 60% to 70% of the Thai people, in poll after poll, says that can accept corruption.

Is Thaksin corrupt? The answer is not if Thaksin is corrupt.  The answer is, is Thaksin a Thai person?

2)

How Corrupt is Thaksin:

Of course, Thaksin is a Thai person, and perhaps like a typical Thai person, he has little problem with corruption. The next question is then, how corrupt, in fact, is Thaksin?

This question is very difficult to answer! However, in doing an analysis, we could use comparison to other people, and we could investigate, if the person in question is richer than he should be. And we could also look at ratings.

First;

On rating, while Thaksin is seen as the most corrupted politician in Thailand’s history, but according to Transparency International , an independent agency that tracks corruption perception, findings, in 1995 before Thaksin governed Thailand, Thailand was rated lowly 2.79.  Then in 2003, after Thaksin governed Thailand, Thailand was 3.30, and in 2007, still Thaksin, Thailand was 3.20. The score 10 means no corruption. The Thaksin’s score, were the least corrupt for Thailand in decades.

Second;

On the day that the Thai court, nationalized most of Thaksin’s US$ billions asset away on corruption charges, the international wire service, Bloomberg reported that Thaksin’s billions, mostly in stock, rose in value along the same line as the Thai stock market. What Bloomberg meant, is that there was no evidence that Thaksin got rich from corruption, by using his powers. However, most local press, like the Nation Group, reported, that Thaksin’s holdings, grew larger, than the stock market gain. What Nation Group meant to say, is that Thaksin used corruption to get “Extra Rich” than what the “Benchmark Fair Return” of the stock market says.

The Wikipedia says:

Corruption:

Thaksin was accused of “policy corruption”, such as infrastructure and liberalization policies that, while legal and a potential benefit to society, also aided companies that were owned by his family members.[115] Supannee Chai-amporn and Sirinthip Arun-rue of the National Institute of Development Administration claimed that policy corruption caused the state to spend nearly 30 per cent more than it otherwise should have spent, costing the state an additional 400 billion baht. Other examples cited were the Board of Investment granting tax breaks worth a total of Bt16.4 billion to Shin Satellite for its iPSTAR project in 2003, and the Transport Ministry’s decision the same year to abolish the minimum air fare of Bt3.8 /km when Shin Corp was about to enter into a joint venture with low-cost carrier AirAsia to open a Thai subsidiary.[116]

After the 2006 coup, the military junta-appointed Assets Examination Committee froze Thaksin’s assets based on charges of policy corruption.[117]

Thaksin denied the allegations. “They just made up a beautiful term to use against me. There’s no such thing in this government. Our policies only serve the interests of the majority of the people”, he said.[117]

From 2002 to 2006, the stock price of Shin Corp increased from 38 to 104 baht (an increase of 173 per cent) while the stock price of Shin Satellite fell. In the same period, the Stock Exchange of Thailand index rose 161 per cent, and the price of other major SET blue chip companies increased vastly more. Industry deregulation caused the market share of AIS to fall from 68 per cent to 53 per cent.[117]

Transparency International reported that Thailand’s reputation for transparency among business executives improved somewhat during the years of the Thaksin government. In 2001, Thailand’sCorruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was 3.2 (ranked 61), whilst in 2005, the CPI was 3.8 (ranked 59).[118][119][120] However, a study of Worldwide Governance Indicators by the World Bank gave Thailand a lower score on Control of Corruption during 2002–2005 under Thaksin when compared to the Democrat-led government of 1998–2000.[121]

Third;

On comparing Thaksin to other people, to see if he is more or less corrupt, please check out Transparency International data. The fact is, Transparency International data, sees Thaksin’s government, as less corrupt than the 2006 coup government, or the military installed Abhisit government. In fact, for the past 10 years or so, Thaksin’s government, according to Transparency International, is least corrupt of all.

Again, according to Transparency International, Thaksin government is less corrupt, than the Abhisit’s government.

3)

Abhisit & World Justice Report

So again, according to Transparency International, the 2006 coup government and Abhisit’s government is more corrupt than Thaksin’s government.

At this point, one must think about the Thai justice system, as there absolutely never have been a corruption case, bought on the 2006 coup government, or the Abhisit’s government. Unfortunately for Thailand, again, the reason the 2006 coup government and the Abhisit government, have never been charged with corruption, could be as the World Justice Report says, that Thailand’s civil justice system, is under political influence.

Reuters by Ambika Ahuja, reports:

BANGKOK | Tue Sep 28, 2010

From minor bribes to dubious multi-billion-dollar procurement deals, corruption is as endemic as ever in Thailand despite the fastest economic growth in 13 years and a government led by an Oxford-educated technocrat.

British-born Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, a 46-year-old economist, signaled zero-tolerance for graft when he took power in December 2008 with fellow a Oxford University alumnus, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij. But corruption indicators show graft remains deeply rooted two years into Abhisit’s administration.

The reason lies in one of the fundamental weaknesses of his premiership — he holds on to power only with the support of networks of politicians, generals and bureaucrats whose reputation for probity does not match his own, and who epitomize the patronage politics that has long bedeviledThailand.

“The regulatory framework in Thailand is quite good but whether it is put into practice is a different issue,” said Kanokkan Anukansai, Thai programme manager of anti-corruption watchdog Transparancy International.

“The lack of stability makes it hard to make tough, potentially politically damaging decisions.”

Corruption allegations have shadowed a $42-billion government-spending plan to rescue Thailand from recession. Questions were raised over procurement projects involving security forces, while abuse-of-power complaints against police and provincial officials remain a staple of local media reports.

Abhisit faces an uphill struggle if he is to get his fractious coalition government under control, rally popular support and challenge his backers to achieve much-needed reforms.

UNHOLY ALLIANCES

To form a government, Abhisit has been forced into uneasy alliances. A case in point is Bhumjai Thai, a party whose support is crucial to Abhisit in his six-party coalition government.

The party’s de facto leader Newin Chidchob is famed as one the country’s most skilled practioners of patronage politics, but is banned from parliament due to past alleged infractions.

Official Bhumjai Thai leader Chavarat Chanvirakul oversees the Interior Ministry where he has been accused of auctioning off provincial governor posts to the highest bidder.

He’s also accused of orchestrating construction deals to benefit his family and helping to manipulate district chief examinations in northeastern Thailand to help allies. He has denied all allegations, calling them politically motivated.

The Thai military, whose more than 1,000 active generals outnumber those in the U.S. military which is at least three times its size, is also a perennial source of cost overruns and corruption allegations.

The army budget has doubled since a 2006 military coup removed a government led by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was accused of corruption and later convicted in a Thai court of breaking conflict of interest laws while in office.

Recent army procurement deals have raised questions of whether military corruption has worsened since the coup.

These include a 350 million baht ($11.4 million) purchase of a leaky surveillance blimp last year and more than 700 UK-made GT200 bomb detectors that turned out to be an embarrassing scam — they are lumps of plastic with no working mechanical parts.

The military said in July it would keep the airship if its U.S. manufacturer paid for repairs. It initially insisted the bomb detectors, which cost 900,000 baht ($29,360) each, worked fine until weeks of public outcry brought an admission they had flaws. But they said the purchase was above board.

“Cases like these are hard to pin down because there is no serious investigation into who was accountable. It is usually taken as an honest mistake and the blame is on manufacturers. The procurement side gets off lightly,” said Nuannoi Trirat, an economist at Chulalongkorn University who studies governance.

INDIRECT BRIBES

A 2010 survey by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd showed Thailand was perceived as the fifth-most corrupt of 16 Asia-Pacific economies.

“Prescribed comment periods for new legislation and regulations are sometimes not honored,” said The Economist Intelligent Unit, blaming transparency problems on a “complex hierarchical system of laws, decrees and regulations.”

The World Bank’s Governance Indicators suggest corruption worsened between 2005 to 2008, with the indicator falling from 54.4 out of 100 to 43.5. It improved in 2009 to 51.

Foreign investors say they largely factor corruption into their investments but that it remains a source of risk.

One executive at a foreign luxury property developer said companies usually budget for direct and indirect bribes, sometimes to circumvent loosely worded regulations.

“As long as it doesn’t become unpredictable, it’s just a cost of doing business” said the executive, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of discussing bribes.

While there is no exact figure that measures how much corruption undermines Thailand’s competitiveness, economists said worsening perception certainly hurts confidence.

“Many investors are used to this and it’s not their biggest concern (compared to political instability). But there appear to be more complaints in recent years especially in the constructionand procurement businesses and this certainly eats into growth,” said Poramet Tongbua, an economist at Tisco Securities.

“It is something businesses keep an close watch on and would seriously consider if it gets worse.”

Months into Abhisit’s $42-billion three-year government stimulus programme, two government ministers resigned in scandals linked to abuse of the funds. Allegations ranged from irregularities in the procument of hospital equipment and school supplies to rigged bidding process on construction projects.

“Opportunities for graft and mismanagement remain high,” said Danny Richards, senior Asia editor of the Economist Intelligence Unit. “While trying to push through spending programmes as quickly as possible, there does not appear to be any great priority placed on ensuring quality control.”

Complaints lodged against low-level administrators are also on the rise, according to the National Counter Corruption Commission’s Pakdi Pothisiri. Nearly 3,000 cases were filed last year against police officers and more than 2,000 were against local administrative authorities, he said.

(Editing by Jason Szep and Andrew Marshall)

4)

Ratchada Land Corruption

Currently, Thaksin is charged with about 20 to 30 other normal straight corruption cases, all somewhere in the legal and the independent unit process. These corruption cases are not like the nationalization away of Thaksin US$ billion case, where that nationalization case, is mostly about “Policy Corruption” accusation.

So there are many other straight corruption cases on Thaksin still, and there is no telling how the cases are going to play out. But there is one case, already handed in a verdict that can serve as a “Benchmark” for other cases.

Wikipedia reports:

In 2008 Thaksin Shinawatra was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in absentia over a corrupt land deal. In a ruling that made him the first Thai politician to be convicted of corruption committed while prime minister, Thaksin was found to have violated conflict of interest rules in helping his wife buy land from a state agency at a reduced price.[122]

That Wikipedia “Footnote 112” was from The Guardian, a UK news organization.

That Guardian report, in full, says:

Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was today sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in absentia over a corrupt land deal.

In a ruling that made him the first Thai politician to be convicted of corruption committed while prime minister, Thaksin was found to have violated conflict of interest rules in helping his wife buy land from a state agency at a reduced price.

The conviction was the first against Thaksin since he was ousted by a military coup in 2006, despite a raft of other corruption charges against him.

But his wife, Pojaman, who jumped bail and fled to England with the former leader two monhs ago, was cleared of wrongdoing in the real estate deal.

The split decision by Thailand’s supreme court on a five-to-four majority verdict cleared Thaksin, 59, of more serious charges of abuse of power to obtain the land at a bargain price.

“Thaksin violated the article of the constitution on conflict of interest, as he was then prime minister and head of a government and was supposed to work for the benefit of the public,” said one of the nine-judge panel reading the verdict.

But the panel ruled seven-to-two to acquit Pojaman, 51, of all the charges in connection with the land purchase, though she has already been sentenced to three years jail for tax evasion in a separate case.

Immediately after the verdict was announced Thaksin, the former owner and now honorary chairman of Manchester City Football Club, dismissed the ruling as politically motivated. “I have been informed of the result,” he told Reuters news agency. “I had long anticipated it would turn out this way.”

After the verdict the prosecutors said they were preparing to file a formal extradition request with the UK to bring Thaksin back to Thailand to serve his sentence and face other corruption charges.

The Supreme Court has also agreed to hear five other corruption cases against Thaksin and there five warrants out for his arrest following his flight in August.

Today’s case revolved around a 5.3 hectare piece of land that Pojaman bought from a state financial institution in 2003 for £12.9m, just a third of its estimated value, two years after Thaksin became prime minister.

The judges said that Thaksin had violated Thailand’s corruption laws by allowing his wife to take part in the bidding process for the land.

Hundreds of diehard supporters of the former prime minister gathered outside the court as the decision was being read.

The conviction against former prime minister is unlikely to alleviate the political turmoil that has left the government – led by Thaksin’s brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawat – under siege from protesters for months.

The demonstrators, who have occupied the grounds of Government House and forced Somchai to run the country from a disused airport, accuse him of being a puppet of Thaksin and are demanding he quit over deadly force used against them by police.

In sum, according to Guardian, Thaksin helped his wife guy government land at a lower than market price, first breaking the law to help his wife, and then hurting the public interest in getting the land at below market value.

5)

No Benefit of the Doubt for Thaksin:

This point that Guardian raised, touched on a “Sensitive Nerve” for many Thais.

There has been a great deal of discussion and debate in Thailand, often very heated, if Thaksin wife bought the government land, at Ratchada area, at a fair market price.

Here, the debate does not just follow ‘partisan Line” like if one is on Thaksin side or on the anti Thaksin Elite Establishment side. The debate is that if Thaksin’s wife, bought the Ratchada Land, in an “Open Bid” where other party also bid for the land, in competition with Thaksin’s wife, was the public interest damaged.

Many people, who understands “Open Bid” system, says Thaksin wife, did not get the land at below market price, but paid full price. The public, this group of Thais, argue, was not hurt. Yet other, more skeptic says there is no “Air Tight” bidding system, and that Thaksin, probably helped his wife, “Fix the Bidding System.” And so here, the argument is Thaksin wife, hurt public interest.

Unfortunately, there is no “Truth and Factual” based, conclusion here that could be made. Many Thais are divided by this issue, again beyond “Partisan Basis.”

The situation, is made worse, concerning Thaksin helping his wife, in that  Thaksin’s defense in court, said that he asked for the advice and opinion of many public units, if it was legal to help his wife. According to Thaksin’s documents provided to the court, indeed, all units said, for Thaksin to help his wife was legal.

So in sum, back to the point, there are many other straight corruption cases on Thaksin still, and there is no telling how the cases are going to play out. But there is one case, the Ratchada land, with already a hand in verdict that can serve as a “Benchmark” for other cases on Thaksin.

The summary of the Ratchada land case can mean that the future ruling on other Thaksin’s cases will be as “Controversial.”

Clearly, in the Ratchada land case, the court did not give Thaksin, the benefit of the doubt, that the purchase of the land did not hurt public interest, or that Thaksin indeed is backed by many public units that said allowing his wife to bid for the land was legal.

However, the court, perhaps suffered from what the World Justice Report said about Thailand’s civil justice system, again, that Thailand’s civil justice system, is influenced by politics.

6)

Real World Look at Thai Corruption:

Many argue that corruption and transparency is “Black and White.”

But arguably, the corruption cases on Thaksin, in the end, after all is said and done, shows how corruption and the allegation of corruption can be about crossing “A Thin Blue Line.” Was there ever “Policy Corruption” by Thaksin? And was there ever “Real Corruption” by Thaksin? How can anyone be certain?

But what is more certain, is that Thailand, overall, is a corrupt country. The fact is, even with Thaksin government less corrupt than Abhisit, and that Thaksin government is the least corrupt in Thailand’s recent memory, Thailand’s score, is still about 3.5 out of 10, with 10 being no corruption.

And corruption is everywhere!

A few years back, during Abhisit governing of Thailand, I was having wine at a club, The Wine Dipper, located at the rich partying center of Bangkok, Thonglor Road, with Chaiyaporn,  the son of one of Thailand’s biggest industrialist. We got into an argument about corruption in Thailand.

There was literally, no winning the argument for me, as Chaiyaporn deals with corruption in the real world all the time, but I am just a journalist, mostly reading and following what is in the news and what people like him tells me.

Chaiyaporn told me, the real problem with Thaksin, is that corruption during Thaksin times was mostly real, when it came to the state, demanding a 20% to 30% kickback for government projects. He said it had been that way in Thailand for decades, and everyone was in on it, Thaksin people or the Elite Establishment.

“The other news about Taksin being corruption himself is all political bullshit,” said Chaiyaporn.

But then he also “Shock“ me, in that he said, quote: “The biggest corruption scam in Thailand, is the Thai banking industry monopoly, that takes so much from people like my father, for doing so little in return, for people like my father.”

“The biggest corruption in Thailand’s history is the banking monopoly,” he said.

That was shocking to hear, and I had to accept it, because he was “non-political” and had real experience. Chaiyaporn says his father can work with “Dirty Politician” but his father, is at the mercy of the banks.

“They want everything from you so they do not have to take any risk lending to you, and then they turn around and demand the most from lending to you, as if you are worthless. That is the corrupt power of monopoly,” says Chaiyaporn.

Chaiyaporn also said that to him, that one of the most important news, about corruption in Thailand was not mentioned in the press, but business world was hotly discussing the news.

The news that Chaiyaporn said the Thai business community hotly discussed, that was little in the news, was about a poll of the Thai people of the Abhisit government corruption. That poll said the Thai people saw corruption under Abhisit worse than corruption during Taksin times.

“………99% of the Thai press did not report the poll results. But that was all we talked about……… The news scared us. Things was bad, and no one cared………. The Thai chambers of commerce were also making statements, that under Abhisit, kick-back, normally 20% to 30%, has gone up to 30% to 40%. There was hardly any news on this also……..Abhisit said take the corruption receipt to the government, if hit by corruption……….. That really really scared us……There is little proof of corruption. The trail of money is normally well hidden………What Abhisit says, is really, I do not care about corruption,” says Chaiyaporn.

7)

Thaksin Avoids Negative Energy:

In sum, from this Thai Intelligence News “Investigative Report” section 1) to 6) it would be fair to conclude, corrupt or not, that Thaksin had been a victim of “Political Prosecution” by the Elite Thai Establishment, on the “Corruption Issue.”

The fact is, Thaksin, before entering Thai politics, made US$ billions from building up a telecom empire from scratch. As a rule for entering Thai politics, Thaksin had also declare his US$ billion assets before entering politics.

After making his billions and declaring his assets, he entered politics. Being in politics, he ran into problems with the Elite Thai Establishment, and much of that billions in asset, made before politics, was nationalized away, from corruption charge.

The point of is, how can the court nationalize away assets that Thaksin made before entering politics, on charges of corruption during his government?

Normally, any person would be angry if what the Elite Thai Establishment did to Thaksin, was done to them. Thaksin, in fact, has all the right to be “Bitter and Vengeful.” To put it bluntly, Thaksin has the right to “Hit Back.” All of that, like bitter and vengeful, are classic example of “Negative Energy” that people often fall under.

“Negative Energy” and “Corruption” are often related. But Thaksin, however, decided on “ Positivism.”

Jakarta Post reports:

Insight: Thaksin, Anwar & Horta – Reason Over Revenge

Jul 20, 2012

One man barely survived an assassination attempt. Another was severely beaten and imprisoned for six years on spurious charges. The third was ousted from power by a military coup and forced into exile because his opponents could not defeat him democratically.

These three men — Jose Ramos-Horta, the former president of East Timor; Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian opposition leader; and Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra — appeared on the same stage in Jakarta this week for a forum on reconciliation put together by Strategic Review, a quarterly journal of policy and ideas published in Jakarta. It is my pleasure to be associated with Strategic Review and to have had the chance to meet all three of these leaders.

The forum on Tuesday, which was opened with a keynote address by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, made for a stunning photo op of the three invited leaders speaking their minds quite openly during an event that could never happen back home for two of them, Thaksin and Anwar.

Indeed, this was political theater of a very high order. Having been hauled into court repeatedly on the most spurious of sexual charges, Anwar is looking toward a general election later this year as he tries to unseat the coalition that has governed Malaysia since independence.

The billionaire Thaksin is involved in his own high-stakes gambit. With his sister now prime minister, he is betting that he can one day return to Thailand despite the intractable opposition of powerful military and political figures.

But along with Horta, these three men all brought a message of forgiveness to Jakarta. Anwar praised Indonesia for its ability to “not be saddled by the baggage of the past.” He resisted the urge to call for payback and appealed instead for Malaysia to simply allow fair elections as the path to reconciliation.

“I am only able to forgive,” Anwar said from the stage, “and move on. Not necessarily forget, but move on. If you are totally committed to [democracy], you don’t have time for retribution.”

Thaksin spoke of the need for calm in handling the political crisis in his country. “I think we need truth, but the truth must not lead to future conflict,” he said. “We must learn from our past failures, but we also must move on.”

The best example was Ramos-Horta, who has actually done what the other two are so far only talking about. In 2008, while president, he pardoned the men who attacked him. He noted that after the 1999 independence referendum and the bloody withdrawal of the Indonesian military, he and independence fighter Xanana Gusmao made peace with Indonesia a first priority despite calls for an international tribunal to investigate the crimes committed in East Timor. “I said 10 years ago that Indonesians will be the ones who look into their souls and find solutions,” he said, adding that he prefers “restorative justice. Sometimes we have to swallow this desire for retributive justice.”

Outsiders often chafe at the tendency in Southeast Asia to paper over deep-seated conflicts. But the path of reconciliation, as frustrating as it can be, makes sense. Would Indonesia be better off today if there had been a genuine attempt to settle the scores left behind by the New Order era? It is unlikely. Similarly, there is enormous potential for chaos in Myanmar should popular anger be unleashed against the long-ruling generals. It is to the credit of Aung San Suu Kyi that she is negotiating a way forward.

I hope the message of forgiveness and reason that was expressed on the stage in Jakarta this week will be realized in both Malaysia and Thailand, and that Thaksin and Anwar prove to be men of their word should they rise to power.

It has worked here and in East Timor; it is starting to bear fruit in Myanmar. In the words of President Yudhoyono during his address to the forum: “There is no peace, no freedom, no stability unless we take out the cancerous seeds of conflict and hatred from our society and replace them with seeds of amity and good will.”

A. Lin Neumann, founding editor of the Jakarta Globe, is the host of the “Insight Indonesia” talk show on BeritaSatu TV. He is also the publisher of Strategic Review.

8)

A Corrupt, Anti Corruption System:

While Thaksin suffered greatly, from being assaulted by the corruption issue from the Elite Thai Establishment, and decided on remaining “Positive” and not fall under “Negativity,”  his sister, the prime minister of Thailand, Yingluck, faces corruption charges as well, and may lose the prime minister position.

The point is, the Elite Thai Establishment, is up to the same “Corrupt Political Trick” it used on Thaksin, and now using it on Yingluck. Yet clearly, as the Elite Thai Establishment, have went after Thaksin and now focusing on Yingluck, there is a major “Corruption Case” that is close to being expired.

The question is, does not the Elite Thai Establishment care about corruption?

A local Thai neutral press, M-Thai, is calling for Thailand‘s anti-corruption body, to move forward with a corruption case involving the Democrat Party, caught in case that was frozened for years after the Thai FBI found the corruption.

The case, again found to have cause of corruption by the Thai FBI, will expire next year.

The amount of damage to Thailand in this Democrat Party case, is staggering, at around US$10 billion to US$20 billion.

M-Thai reports that under the Democrat Party, after the financial melt-down of Thailand, assets from defunct firms being nationalized and auctioned off. The final figure of the assets, after auction, fetched about quarter of its value.

Many Thai thus filed a complaint with the Thai FBI, that the process of selling off the assets, did not follow regulations, and offered the foreign buyer of the assets, a highly advantageous acquisition price.

The Thai FBI accepted the case.

It found that the disposal of the assets, broke about 10 regulations, and sent the case to the Thai Anti-Corruption Unit. The finding by the Thai FBI is confirmed by the Attorney General Office for bankruptcy.

The Thai Anti-Corruption unit, known to be a part of the Thai establishment that went mostly after Thaksin’s corruption, have not made a decision on this case involving the Democrat Party, years now, after having received the case from the Thai FBI.

9

Summary:

A Fugitive Thaksin?

I could never understand, how anyone can say the Thai justice system is fair and just. Even the World Justice Report, says the Thai civil justice system, is under political influences.

When I look at global wire service, like Reuters, AFP, AP, DPA, UPI and others, report on Thaksin, I always feel a pinch of disappointment, in that all the wire service, would call Thaksin, quote: “Fugitive Thaksin.”

Many would add at the end of the report that Thaksin was found guilty of helping his wife bid for state land.

It has always struck me as odd, that the journalist at these wire services, again like Reuters, AFP, AP, DPA, UPI and others-are wire services that have operated in Thailand for a very long time, and thus there is no getting away from it, “These wire services, know what is going on in Thailand.”

The fundamental question is, how can the wire services, not know that since after the 2006 coup, everything, like the courts, the independent units and media and all the rest, in Thailand were twisted in going after Thaksin.

Knowing that, how does journalist at wire services ignore, even the possibility that Thaksin never got a fair trial. I have always question why the wire services will not accept this fact, and at least qualify their characterization of Thaksin, as something like “A fugitive from a questionable Thai justice system.”

The fact is, even the World Justice Report, again says Thailand civil justice system is under political influences. Why the World Justice Report did say that? Perhaps, but needs anyone be reminded, of examples, like how the Yellow Shirts leader, Sondhi, is treated by the Thai courts, even now, with a great deal of leniency and impunity. And the 2006 coup corruption and Abhisit’s corruption?

The examples of the Thai courts, the independent units, the media-all being pro-establishment and anti-Thaksin, are massive in numbers. The fact is, a great many Thais, call the Thai system, “Double Standard.”

How could wire services like, Reuters, AFP, UPI, DPA, UPI and the rest, ever missed that characterization of Thailand as having a “Double Standard?”

That type of leniency and impunity, granted to Abhisit and Sondhi, for much more serious crime and corruption, than what Thaksin was found guilty of, is something, Thaiksin never saw.

The fact is, the opposite occurred. Thaksin was prosecuted, with great prejudices.

In his asset seizure case, for example, the Thai court, as indicated by the statement after the ruling to confiscate Thaksin assets, based that seizure verdict, on one academic at TDRI saying Thaksin action as prime minister, hurt Thailand’s interest-and rejecting other academic counter-argument.

Furthermore, again, Thaksin reported his assets, in the US$ billions, even before he entered politics. Logically, how can the court ruled to confiscate, much of it, all compiled before Thaksin entered politics-for his political activity once entered politics. Furthermore, again, in his approval to his then wife to bid for state assets, Thaksin, indeed asked for the opinion of many, such as the Bank of Thailand, if the approval is legal. Everyone Thaksin asked said it was legal.

At the very least, if there are questions about Thaksin’s actions as being corrupt, Thaksin still has the right, for a fair trial.

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