Interview with the President - Stamp out corruption by simplifying and updating laws

Stamp out corruption by simplifying and updating laws

A corruption case needs careful consideration as it is multifaceted and there are different ways of looking at it. In some cases, it could be regarded as helping a business to continue or facilitating more investment.

However, it could also be regarded as malfeasance, rule-breaking and lacking in transparency even though both parties have not been benefitted personally. In both cases, it happens as a result of unclear rules and irrelevant laws, said Naruepon Techawatanawana, President, Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce (STCC).

Naruepon believed that rules and regulations should be simple, clear and transparent. Digital technologies should be brought in and used in some cases to make the rules clearer and simpler. For example, the use of CCTV on the streets would help reduce the work of traffic police and minimize officers using personal discretion when an alleged traffic violation occurs. CCTV footage could be used as evidence. Using technology and good communication would enable clear and correct implementation of the laws.

In the past, government agencies thought about improving and reviewing the laws that were outdated, redundant or which contradicted each other, the so-called Regulatory Guillotine. Some have done this but many others have not, partly because the process of proposing a review of laws involves many government agencies.

But some laws have already been improved by using technology to reduce the problems caused by using discretion, which differ depending on the person. Technology could help in many services, such as at police checkpoints.

“However in some delicate cases such as procurement, if too much control is put in place, no one will dare do anything out of fear that it would violate the rules,” Naruepon said.

In other cases, a decision has been taken but it still requires approval from committees to make sure that the process does not violate the rules already issued to control malfeasance.

Those who are quick to take a decision so that the projects could be implemented might be considered as committing malfeasance. This happens because of unclear rules and laws, he said.

“The government sector should look at this angle because many countries see corruption as a major problem and have used the regulatory guillotine to improve their laws.”

Investors may use the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as this provides an image of each country and helps them to make decisions about doing business.

If an investment in a country faces complications, an investor may assume that the complication is corruption. But if he could invest in a country without complications, he would be happy and that would boost the image of the country, Naruepon said.

“We have to look back and review the laws, making them simpler and clearer and without any argument among the agencies concerned. If these issues are clearer, the CPI ranking of Thailand will improve.”

The question is whether the authorities are brave enough to do this or not. If they are not, the problems will return and everything will return to square one.

At present, there are many laws that are redundant, so there should be someone who dares to take a decision. In the end, he believe that it is the duty of all people to have the power to decide.

The standpoint of the Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce is to support good investment carried out with correct, clear, and transparent information which will benefit both foreign investors looking to do business in Thailand and Thai investors looking to do business in foreign countries.

“I am a businessman working with Switzerland and China and I know that sometimes we cling to our ideas, issue rules that do not meet international standards, and have too many laws. This makes it difficult for us to communicate with the outside world.”

Therefore, we should issue laws that are universal. That said, it would not be right to change our rules to the extent that our identities disappear. We have to be clever in choosing the rules and laws that are suitable for and which fit us.

“I would like to say that Thailand is so attractive that many foreigners want to invest here. It is because we are in a good location, Thai people are nice and have good hearts. Our political situation is stable to some extent. As a businessman, I view officials in the government sector as an important core for promoting foreign investments.”

He said lastly, his wish is that everybody is open-minded, stops looking for others’ faults, and instead looks at their goodness. Today, technologies are available that could monitor and trace back transactions, so we should not issue so many restrictive regulations that stop people from doing anything.

“I would hope that we have confidence in others. If we are not confident in our country, who will be?”


This interview was published on Facebook by อ้ายคนใจสัตย์ - Integrity Way on the 30th of April 2023