PHUKET: Greater emphasis on education was considered the most important priority for Thailand in the new year, according to the Gazette Poll which closed at noon today. Containment of corruption ranked a close second. From the four available answers to the question, “What’s your Number One wish for Thailand in 1999?”, 34.3 percent of the internet poll’s 735 participants opted for “much greater emphasis on education,” with 32.2 percent clicking on “major reductions in corruption.” 24.1 percent wanted to see a “better economy” and 9.4 percent said their Number One wish for the country this year was “less rain” than fell in 1998. Voters in the Gazette Polls fall into three categories – Thai Nationals, Local Foreign Residents, and Tourists/Frequent Visitors to Phuket. Most Thais (52 percent) indicated that a better economy was their Number One wish. Only 17 percent considered improved education as the top priority. Among the 220 locally resident foreigners to take part in the poll, 48 percent considered education the most important priority, followed by control of corruption (33 percent). Tourists/Frequent Visitors had a different view than foreigners who live here. They apparently saw corruption as more debilitating to Thailand than any lapses in education. 34 percent said their Number One wish was corruption control; 31 percent opted for “greater emphasis on education.” Issues raised in the Gazette Poll change at noon every Friday. This week’s question is: “Are there any speed limits on the roads of Phuket?” The polls appear on both the Phuket Residents’ Page (www.phket.loxinfo.co.th/~gazette) and on the Phuket Gazette Online at thethaiger.com.
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