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The political problem of Kingdom of Thailand

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam, is a country at the center of the Southeast
Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi) and over 68 million
people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country. The capital and
largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the
east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea
and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the
southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Thailand is known for its long history of
monarch system, corruption in government officials and the political crises lead to military staging so many coups
since a group of civilian and military aristocrats calling themselves the People’s Party overthrew the absolute
monarchy and established a quasi-parliamentary constitution in Thailand on the 24 of June, 1932. The primary
objectives of the coup were to convert the absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy and to use the state to
achieve economic and social progress for the people of Siam. Thailand politics political instability and long history
of downfall of dynasties are the result of continuous and incremental changes in the system for more than 600 years
since the Ayutthaya kingdom (1350–1767). To understand the nature of Thailand politics and the process of its
political development, it is necessary to examine the historical development of Thai politics. In doing that, I was able
to explicate how Thailand’s politics has developed over time and to understand the effects of those changes on the
current political system. Through this inquiry, about Thailand politics problem, we would be familiar with the history
and the development of Thai political, governing, and social systems in order to thoroughly understand why and how
Thailand face political problem. In this essay I will explain the main cause of political problem of Thailand and there
are instability of government through unstable policies and corruption in government sectors in Thailand which
poses high risk to business are the two main cause of political problem.

Firstly reason of political problem in the politics of Thailand is instability in government through policies. Thailand
has long history of instability in its rulers since 1350. Politics of Thailand is not new to political instability. Political
problem is largely due to Political instability which affects the business activity, paralyze government policy and
lead to bad policymaking. Poor policy choices and corruption in Thailand government and also some other factors
such as Asian currency crisis in 1997, the devastating tsunami in 2004 and crippling floods in 2011. About two-
thirds of Thailand’s 67 million people live in rural areas and more than 90 percent are Buddhist. This leads to
military staging so many coups in its modern history that scholars sometimes refer to the last eight decades as its
coup season. In between, there has been violent political strife. The latest round featured deadly street clashes,
politically tainted corruption trials and the army taking control.
Secondly, corruption is one of cause of political problem in Thailand. There are high risks of corruption in most
sectors in Thailand. Even though Thailand has the legal framework and a range of institutions to counter corruption
such as Organic Law on Counter Corruption criminalizes corrupt practices of public officials and corporations,
including active and passive bribery of public officials. The Penal Code also criminalizes embezzlement and trading
in influence. Companies may regularly encounter bribery or other corrupt practices. Anti-corruption legislation is
inadequately enforced, and facilitation payments and gifts are common in practice. These are the main sectors in
Thailand which involved in corruption which lead to military coup rule in 2014 is compiled by Transparency
international and they were corruption in Judicial System, Police, public services, land administration, tax
administration, custom administration, Public Procurement, Natural Resources, Legislation, and Civil

Corruption in Judicial system is a high risk for businesses operating in Thailand. Businesses indicate that irregular
payments and bribes are commonly made in order to obtain favorable judicial decisions. A little over one in five Thai
believe most or all judges are corrupt. Until the military coup of 2014, Thailand had a constitutionally independent
judiciary. However, under the military, the judiciary has been extremely politicized and has no oversight over the
executive branch. Companies express insufficient confidence in the independence of the courts and perceive the legal
framework to be inefficient when it comes to settling disputes and challenging regulations. The legal process in
Thailand tends to be slow and litigants or other third parties sometimes affect judgments through extra-legal means.
Thai law firms have alleged that courts have occasionally refused to enforce international arbitration awards
following interpretations which are not in accordance with international norms. Enforcing a contract in Thailand is
less time-consuming and less than half as expensive compared to the regional average.

Corruption is pervasive in Thailand’s police force and presents businesses with high risks. Almost four out of five
Thai believe most or all of the police to be corrupt. The security apparatus has a reputation of being the most corrupt
institution in the country, partly due to its entanglement in politics and an entrenched patronage system. Police
impunity is also reported to be a problem. On a more positive note, companies express moderate confidence in the
reliability of police services. Businesses do attribute significant costs due to crime and violence, yet only a quarter of
firms pays for security, which is well below the regional average. An example of police corruption is a provincial
police commissioner was removed from his post in 2017 for allegedly demanding bribes from police officers that
wished to be promoted

There is a high risk of corruption when dealing with public services in Thailand. Irregular bribes and payments are
common, and inefficient government bureaucracy and government instability are cited as the most problematic
factors for doing business. About one in six companies indicate they expect to give gifts to officials to get things
done, but only about one in twenty companies expect giving gifts in order to secure an operating license. Half of
Thai believe most or all local government councilors are corrupt. Corruption among public officials is fueled by low
wages, and a cultural inclination to accept gifts as a natural part of doing business. Facilitation payments to civil
servants responsible for regulatory oversights remain problematic; companies that refuse to pay may be at a
competitive disadvantage relative to other firms in the same field. Notwithstanding, foreign firms that adhere to the
strict guidelines of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act acknowledge that they are able to compete successfully in
Thailand. Companies are also advised that it is much easier to refuse corrupt transactions from the start rather than
later when the company has shown a willingness to engage in these practices. Starting a business requires fewer steps
and is significantly less costly than elsewhere in the region. A consolidated website and a hotline with information on
licenses and other procedures are available.

There is a high risk of corruption in Thailand’s land administration. Thailand’s land administration is, reportedly, the
most corrupt part of the bureaucracy; officials frequently ask for facilitation payments to speed up services. A third
of companies indicate they expect to give gifts when getting a construction permit. Companies have report having
insufficient trust in Thailand’s ability to adequately protect property rights. Foreigners are allowed to own land under
Thai law, but at lower amounts than Thai citizens and subject to restrictions (Open Development Mekong, Nov.
2016). Expropriation is allowed under Thai law, provided due process and compensation. There are reports about
businesses in conflict with the government over land title authenticity in areas designated by the government as
national park land. Underlying causes of these conflicts include usage of forest land prior to their declaration as
forest reserves, migration due to competition over economic resources, speculation and collusion, and policy
ambiguity and overlap (Open Development Mekong, Nov. 2016). Registering property in Thailand requires four
different procedures, which is better than the regional average; the time required to do so is only six days, which is a
small fraction of the time required elsewhere in the region. For example In southern Thailand, local villagers have
accused a palm oil company of illegally occupying and cultivating palm oil trees on a large plot of land in the Chai
Buri District of Surat Thani Province. The villagers were embroiled in a legal battle with the palm oil company
between 2005 and 2014, when the Supreme Court in Bangkok ruled in favor of the villagers. A land deed was
promised by the government, but has failed to materialize.

There is a high risk of corruption in Thailand’s customs administration. Burdensome import procedures and
corruption at the border are obstacles to doing business in Thailand. Irregular payments are commonly exchanged,
both in import and export. The clearance process is considered to be moderately efficient, but the time-predictability
of import procedures remains poor. Businesses voice concerns about the amount of discretionary power exercised by
customs authorities and the arbitrary application of Thailand’s transaction valuation methodology. An amendment to
the Customs Act was passed in 2017, but the law does little to tackle the issue of reward system, which grants
customs officials monetary rewards for reporting or otherwise successfully uncovering instances of customs evasion
and customs avoidance. The law reduced the reward from a generous 55% of the penalty recovered to 40%, and is
limited to Thai Bank 5 million. According to a letter sent by the US Embassy in Thailand, the practice can lead to
conflicts of interest when customs officers have a large interest in collecting large payments rather than ensuring
effective customs administration. The costs and time required for border compliance procedures in Thailand are
significantly below regional averages.

There is a high risk of corruption in Thailand’s text officials. Allegations of import duty and tax evasion schemes
involving supercars being stolen from the UK and shipped to Thailand have surfaced in 2017. The value of many of
the cars was under-declared. Nine customs officers are under investigation for alleged misconduct in connection to
the illegitimate return of nearly THB 20 million in taxes to two companies involved in the import of supercars
(Bangkok Post, Jun. 2017).

Corruption risks are high in Thailand’s public procurement sector. Businesses indicate that bribes and irregular
payments in the process of awarding government contracts are common and more than two out of five businesses
expect to give gifts in order to secure a government contract. Companies report that the diversion of public funds and
favoritism in decisions of government officials are very common. Procurement fraud most frequently occurred
during quote and bid solicitations, vendor selection, vendor contracting, and maintenance process. Reported fraud
during the payment process doubled between 2015 and 2016. Respondents report of bid rigging, where employees
provide inside information or confidential pricing knowledge leading to unfair competition. The regulatory
framework for public procurement is weak, fragmented and does not reflect international legislative practices.
Collusion among bidders is forbidden. State-owned enterprises compete with private enterprises under the same
conditions in terms of market share, products/services, and incentives in most sectors, but with some exceptions,
such as the fixed line operation in the telecommunications sector. For example, in one recent case, the engineering
arm of Rolls-Royce has been accused of paying over USD 11 million in bribes to various officials at national oil
company PTT and subsidiary PTTEP over the span of a decade. Rolls-Royce also stands accused of paying over
USD 36 million in bribes to officials at national airline Thai Airways in a series of aircraft engine deals spanning
over two decades.

In another example, high-profile corruption case, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, ousted in the military
coup of 2014, was indicted a year later on charges of negligence in failing to prevent large losses and corruption in a
rice-buying scheme in which the government would buy rice from farmers above market rates. The military junta
alleges the losses to the state amounted to at least USD 8 billion. Ms. Yingluck and many of her supporters believe
the trial is politically motivated. Ms. Yingluck is said to have fled to Dubai days before a verdict in the case was to
be handed down in August of 2017. Companies are recommended to implement special due diligence procedures to
counter the likelihood of encountering corruption in the procurement process.

Corruption is a big risk in the fishing industry. A 2017 report by the United Nations severely criticized Thailand for
failing to stamp our slavery and human rights abuses in its fishing sector. The practice is facilitated by widespread
corruption among government officials; in one case, local officials protected and assisted a gang accused of torturing
and executing migrant workers who attempted to flee.

Corruption is also a big risk in country legislative sector. The interim constitution installed by the military junta was
replaced by a new voter-approved constitution in 2017. The anti-corruption framework remains intact and
enforceable pursuant a Military Junta Notification, which orders the Organic Act on Counter Corruption (OACC) to
remain in force. Enforcement, however, varies and the prosecution of high-level corruption is reportedly politically
motivated. Corrupt offenses are captured primarily in the Organic Act, the Penal Code and the Offences Relating to
the Submission of Bids to State Agencies Act (unofficial translation). The Organic Act on Counter Corruption
criminalizes corrupt practices of public officials, except for the acceptance of benefits on an ethical basis in
accordance with the NACC Supplemental Rules. Facilitation payments are illegal (CMS 2016). Gifts below THB
3,000 are allowed, even multiple gifts worth less than THB 3,000 each are allowed if they are given for different
reasons. Officials may accept gifts worth more than THB 3,000 after filing a report with the state’s official
supervisor. This procedure was implemented to facilitate cultural gift-giving, but it has caused a lot of confusion
about what may be acceptable. The Thai Penal Code criminalizes active and passive bribery of public officials.
Active bribery concerns benefits to public officials with the aim of inducing delays or non-performance of an act
which conflicts with their position. Bribery of foreign officials is captured under the OACC. Penalties for bribing an
official include imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of a maximum of THB 10,000. Passive bribery may,
theoretically, incur the death penalty or life imprisonment and/or a fine of up to THB 40,000. Individuals, as well as
legal entities, may be prosecuted for offenses concerning corruption however, there is no example of a prosecution of
a company (CMS 2016). Companies and their senior management may now be prosecuted for bribes made by their
employees that benefit the company. Companies may be fined up to twice the amount of the benefits received from
the bribes offered by third parties. Private bribery is not captured under the OACC. The Act on Offences Relating to
the Submission of Bids to State Agencies defines corrupt practices in relation to public procurement such as bid
collusion. The government passed the Promulgation of the Government Procurement and Supplies Management Act,
its first comprehensive procurement act. The law applies to all government agencies, local authorities, and state-
owned enterprises. The Promulgation is to take effect in August 2017 and related legislation is expected to be passed
within a year.
Finally, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) prohibits money laundering and is implemented by the Anti-
Money Laundering Office. Protective measures and rewards are offered for whistleblowers. The Licensing
Facilitation Act targets red tape and corruption by providing a one-stop shop service through an information center
on public services that deal with licensing procedures and complaints against state agencies. Thailand is a signatory
to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) but not the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Corruption in Media. Press freedom has continued to deteriorate in Thailand following the military coup of 2014.
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has aggressively enforced defamation and lèse-majesté laws. The
NCPO has banned criticism of its rule and harassed, attacked, and shut down various media outlets. Self-censorship
among journalists has increased. International media in Thailand has continued to operate relatively freely, but new
visa restrictions on journalists are feared to have a chilling effect on their reporting). The Internet and press are both
considered not free because the military government has exercised unchecked powers to impose restrictions on civil
and political rights in order to suppress dissent. Freedom of assembly and association under the 2016 Constitution is
limited by restriction enacted to protect public interest, peace and order, or good morals, or to protect the rights and
liberties of others. Civil society participation has been extremely limited and restrained by force since the military
coup. Civil society members supportive of the coup have been appointed to positions within the regime World Bank.

To conclude, political problem in Thailand is result of long history of country changing of rulers, and the eight
decade of military coup changing each term government as a result of high official corruption in public offices as
well as ineffective public policies and the ineffective of rule of law on corruption which led to political instability in
nearly a century these lead to political problem of Thailand.
 2018, W. (2018). Thailand Country Profile.

 CMS. (2016.). Guide to Anti-Bribery and Corruption Laws. Thailand.

 Group, W. B. ( 2016). Enterprise Survey. Thailand.

 Labour, U. N. (2017). Report of the Committee Set-Up to Examine Non-Observance.

 Mekong, O. D. (November 2016).

 News, S. (22 June 2017). “Stolen British Supercars Shipped to Thailand in Tax Scam”. Sky News.

 Post, B. (Jun. 2017).

 State, U. D. (2017). Investment Climate Statement . Thailand.

 Thailand, U. (7 January 2015.). “UNDP helps Thailand towards a corrupt –free public procurement
system”. UNDP Press.

 Yuan, C. z. (2018). Thailand Country Profile. The world fact book.


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