Opinion: Never fall for the ‘good people’ lie again

Last year, the National Anti-Corruption Commission shocked critics and its paymasters with a report that the junta, the National Council for Peace and Order, was the most corrupt government in Thailand’s history.

The former Junta’s leader and current Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha did what he knows best, he either blamed others or shrugged it off.

“I do not believe the report,” Prayut said at the time. “You cannot use statistics to make such a comparison.”

When pressed on it, Prayut added that “there are always bad people.”

However, after the NACC released its reprot, Transparency International ranked the country at 104 out of 180 surveyed countries in its latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2020 adding insult to injury.

Before the NCPO took over the power, Thailand’s ranking was actually going up not down but it appears that absolute power has corrupted absolutely. Not that any long-time observer of the coup leaders were surprised.

Let’s recap. Prime Minister Prayut was accused by critics of continuing to live in army housing even though he retired. The courts cleared him.

His deputy prime minister, General Prawit Wongsuwon, was investigated for failing to declare 22 luxury watches from his asset’s declaration. Investigators cleared him.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao was convicted and jailed in Australia for smuggling drugs. The courts cleared him.

He was also tied to a profiteering aid who sold badly needed face masks to China in the middle of the pandemic.

There was also a junior parliamentarian, Pareena Kraikupt, who was actually suspended for building homes on national park land. When Karen villagers did that, they were forcibly evicted and disappeared.

Really rich

So it is really rich when the prime minister, who is really rich, says he knows nothing about it and that it was the work of a few bad apples.

Rather, evidence shows that corruption has infiltrated every level of the government from the very top down to the very bottom.

Last weekend, following heavy criticisms on his government’s management of the pandemic, the PM thought that he could fall back to the propaganda that got him into power.

Prayut said that his government was filled with “good people” trying to do their job.

We must never fall for such rhetoric again. The military could’ve proved itself to be good and a uniting force – its what the people begging for a coup wanted. Too bad the generals have failed.

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