Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bangkok Post/Daily News: ASC's term extension is the right move

ASC's term extension is the right move

Daily News Editorial

The Surayud government has done the right thing by extending the term of the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC). This is proof of the government's determination to get to the bottom of alleged corruption in the previous administration. The ASC has worked very hard since it was set up in the wake of the Sept 19, 2006 coup that removed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power.

Its task is crucial because the alleged corruption was one of the four reasons cited by the military to topple Mr Thaksin. Members of the public, therefore, have been keeping a close watch on the ASC's work.

Prior to the government's decision, members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) had pushed for an extension of the ASC's term, which was originally set to end on Sept 30 this year.

The ASC will now stay on until the government's term ends. This will give the ASC more time to conclude its investigations and send all cases to the public prosecutor.
The cases against the previous administration are complex. Without strong evidence, these cases would be rejected by the prosecutor.

With more time, the ASC can build up a strong case against alleged wrongdoers. So far, the committee has wrapped up its investigation into the Barn Ua Arthon housing project for the poor, and alleged tax evasion in connection with the Shin Corp sale.

If the alleged wrongdoers are prosecuted, it will send a strong signal to corrupt politicians. It will serve as a deterrent for those who may want to engage in corruption. This will benefit Thai politics in the long run.

I wonder why nobody ever brings up the fact that the ASC was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court after the last coup

Also, I can't help but notice that the "usual suspects" who were at the roots of the '91 coup and many of the corruption problems pre-97 crisis are coming out of the woodwork for another shot.


Plus, all of Thaksin's allies and underlings will right back in the mix once again.

ASC is supposed to be a deterrence to corruption?

Maybe next life in the afternoon.


Unknown said...

In today's Nation (business section) is an article which states that of the 3 shareholders of Kularb Kaew (2 Thais and a Malaysian), only the Malaysian is to be prosecuted. Pong (Chair of ShinCorp) is speculated to have used his 'family influence' to get off the hook.

Disgraceful amd very blatant foreigner-bashing.

While the Thai police refuse to enforce the law, it will remain a laughing stock.

I recall one Police Chief telling Thaksin that 'There is nothing under the sun the Royal Thai Police cannot do'.

Except, apparently, apply the law impartially. Catch bombers. Stop people running red lights, stop illegal u-turns, stop driving on the wrong side of the road, etc etc.

What a joke these people are.


anon said...

rich, the Police Chief that said "There is nothing under the sun the Thai Police cannot do," wasn't a Thaksin-era person - he was Phao Sriyanond, head of the Police during the 1950's under Marshal Por. After Sarat Thanarat came to power, the influence of the Police went on a decades long decline, as the palace/military became the dominant political institution.

Fonzi, as I recall, 1992 ASC itself wasn't ruled illegal - its asset seizure was. That's why the current ASC hasn't been willing to seize Thaksin's assets.

Unknown said...

I stand corrected in the historical respect, I was quoting a newspaper articlle but clearly I quoted incorrectly. The point is that the police force must be the fist priority of this Government. Unless the police enforce laws uniformly, there is no point making more laws.

Sometimes I feel very bleak about this place. I think I go with the main board comment that Thai society is rotten to the core.