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Thailand: Significant Role of the Business Sector in Its Reform
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Thursday, December 23, 2010
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: Thailand
Created: Dec 28, 2010

The private sector is seeking to play a greater role in reforming Thailand to ensure social justice while spurring economic growth at the same time.

Representatives of the private sector held discussions with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on 20 December 2010 on the national reform roadmap. Also participating in the meeting were Minister of Finance Korn Chatikavanij, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Satit Wongnongtaey, and Advisor to the Prime Minister, Khunying Supatra Masdit.

During the discussions, the private sector cited three areas in which it could play an important part in the Thailand reform plan. In the first area, it offers to help improve the people’s quality of life and expand the country’s social security system. Major projects in this area include the development of young children, the provision of social safety, and an increase in forest land.

The second area involves justice and political reforms by reducing inequality. The private sector offers to help develop children who have committed offences and whose cases have been brought to the court. The third area involves the development of young people, especially those in rural remote areas, children with disabilities, and children outside the schooling system. In this regard, the private sector may contribute to human development by assisting those who would like to continue their studies and enhance their professional skills.

The Prime Minister said that the Government was ready to encourage the private sector to carry out projects and activities for good cause. It would serve as advisor to give guidance, so that the activities would enhance social equality.

Former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Reform Committee, said at a recent seminar that the disparity problem could be solved by removing the injustices that exist in society. In his talks on the topic “Reducing Inequality and Creating Economic Opportunities” at the seminar organized by the Thailand Development Research Institute in Bangkok, Mr. Anand stated that these injustices stem mainly from a lack of opportunities in various aspects, including access to education, health care, state services, funding, and the justice process. In this regard, improving the access would lead to greater economic opportunities, which would allow people to earn a higher income and raise their status.

The reform process, he said, should also focus on reducing state power through genuine decentralization and an increase in the people’s bargaining power and participation, which would entail changing their way of thinking and sensitizing their awareness of injustices that exist in society.

He noted that there would be no timeframe set for completing the reform process, which by nature is an ongoing process. In his view, the problem of disparity exists in every country, and every society has gone through its own reform process.

Thailand itself has also gone through various periods of reform, such as its previous attempts at decentralization. History, however, shows that military intervention could at best address only immediate, short-term issues, but it is clearly not the answer for Thai society.
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