Thailand falls further in graft index

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Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) -Thailand has dropped further in an international corruption index compiled by Transparency International (TI), falling eight places from last year to 88th on the 176-country list for 2012.

Last year's ranking by the Berlin-based organisation featured 183 countries, a fact that opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said made this year's result even worse.

However, PM's Office Minister Nivatthamrong Boonsongpaisal, who oversees the government's anti-corruption campaigns, said Thailand's slide was the result of changes in TI's grading criteria, pointing out that in terms of overall points the Kingdom's score had increased from 34 out of a possible 100 last year to 37 this year.

'Government continues battle'

Nivatthamrong said the government had continued fighting corruption, setting up three new channels to receive public complaints: boxes at all city halls; the 1026 hotline call centre; and the website www.stopcorruption.go.th.

City Clerk Atthaphorn Suwatthanadecha said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration would carry on with its "Growing Up Not Cheating" campaign at BMA-run primary schools, focusing on teaching morality to children.

He cited a survey on this campaign which indicated that students in those schools had shown improvements in their class and personal behaviours - such as refraining from copying classmates' homework and exam papers, and not telling lies.

A similar campaign is being drafted for future use in secondary schools, both BMA-run and central government-run, he added.

Five countries share the 88th ranking with Thailand, most of them underdeveloped African nations.

Among countries in Asean, Singapore ranked 5th, Malaysia 54th, the Philippines 105th, Indonesia 118th, Vietnam 123rd, Cambodia 157th, Laos 160th and Myanmar 172nd.

The average score on TI's ranking this year was 43, while two-thirds of the 176 countries scored lower than 50.

Four countries ranked below Myanmar, retaining the bottom spots on the list: Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

The 10 countries at the top of the list - some sharing the same ranking - are Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Canada and the Netherlands.

TI utilised 13 data sources in compiling the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, mostly development banks, think-tanks and agencies promoting good governance and rule of law, and non-governmental organisations.

"Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making.

"Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people," said Huguette Labelle, the chairperson of Transparency International, in her statement on Wednesday accompanying the release of this year's TI rankings.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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