PHUKET: PM’s Office permanent-secretary ML Panadda Diskul yesterday suggested that ethics committees be established to check local government agencies as part of efforts to fight corruption.
Panadda made the proposal after members of the Confederation of Assistant District Chiefs of Thailand met him yesterday to offer moral support over the symbolic protest by some staffers of provincial administrative organisations (PAO) over Panadda’s comments.
Some PAO staffers on Monday wore black to work in response to Panadda’s Facebook comment that some PAO presidents live in the lap of luxury at the expense of taxpayer money without shame.
The PAO Association of Thailand, which claimed Panadda’s remark had tarnished the PAOs’ image, called off the protest on Monday. It said Panadda had apologised publicly and to the association president by telephone.
Panadda said he was not disheartened by the PAO protest and thanked the confederation for its support. His voice was shaking as he spoke with them. He said the support he received inspired him to continue working with devotion for the two remaining years before he retired.
When pressed by reporters to reveal the name of the PAO president he accused on his FB post of flying only first class, and of drinking wine at Bt100,000 a bottle, Panadda said he would not identify the individual but he had his own check system. He proposed that an ethics committee be established to check every local government agency.
“The ethics committees must be empowered to check and balance local government. They should not be set up just to organise training a few times a month,’ he said.
He said both local government and central government should provide checks and balances for each other. He said he was told that candidates nominated to become National Reform Council (NCR) members realised the significance of a check system for local government.
“Local and central governments have to team up to do the right thing. The NRC has to focus not only on decentralisation but checks and balances. I would like workers of local government organisations to have the mindset that they manage taxpayer money and not funds of any party. The money is to be used for development of the country and is not the money political parties give them to woo their support,’ Panadda said.
Panadda said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was determined to fight graft and would make anti-corruption work his first priority.
— Phuket Gazette Editors
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