SUNDAY, April 14, 2024

Veteran politician suggests greater role for public in overseeing state projects to fight corruption

Veteran politician suggests greater role for public in overseeing state projects to fight corruption

Veteran politician Suwat Liptapanlop on Thursday called for public participation throughout the implementation of state development projects in order to help stamp out corruption.

During a panel discussion by representatives from nine political parties set to contest the May 14 general election, Suwat said that a “people’s pool” should be set up to be involved in development projects funded by the taxpayers' money “from start to finish”.

The discussion on “Visions to Drive Thailand’s Industries”, was organised by the Federation of Thai Industries.

Suwat, who is chairman of the Chart Pattana Kla Party, said that people should be allowed to take part in initiating development projects, drafting the terms of reference, selecting contractors, setting the median price, holding project bidding, approving projects, supervising the construction, and approving the completed work.

He suggested that there should be at least one representative of Thai citizens in every committee involved in each stage of the development projects.

The politician noted that state enterprises have a so-called “directors’ pool” comprising registered representatives from the Finance Ministry, to sit on their executive boards.

“Today, there should be a people’s pool – a list of representatives from the civil society – to sit on the committees as examiners and act in the same way as those from the directors’ pool. With public members getting involved, there would be transparency and the corruption problem would be reduced,” Suwat said.

He said his party has a policy platform that calls for an online system of “one-stop service” for foreign investors setting up businesses in Thailand. He said this system would help assure foreign investors of transparency and fairness in considering their requests.

During his long political career that started in 1988, Suwat served in various ministerial posts in many governments. He was science minister in the Chuan Leekpai administration from 1994 to 1995, industry minister from 1998 to 2000 in Chuan’s second government and transport minister in Chavalit Yongchaiyudh’s government from 1996 to 1997.

Suwat also assumed several ministerial posts in Thaksin Shinawatra’s two administrations, including deputy prime minister, Prime Minister’s Office minister, university affairs minister, labour minister, and justice minister.