ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai companies tackle corruption
Participants include Siam Cement Group (SCG), Bangchak Petroleum, Central Pattana, Kasikornbank, Toshiba (Thailand), and Pfizer (Thailand).
The Thai Institute of Directors Association (IOD) expects membership will rise to 200 companies next year. The alliance aims to make all parts of society more concerned about the country's competitiveness, which is shrinking due to corruption in both the private and public sectors.
"We hope to see most civil servants and company staff dare to say no to corruption 10 years from now. Building this new attitude is similar to the practice of corporate social responsibility, which is now booming among corporate and government agencies here," said IOD president Charnchai Charuvastr.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission as well as representatives from five major business associations today will sign the coalition agreement.
Kan Trakulhoon, the president of SCG, said the country's biggest industrial group had already implemented a good corporate governance policy and wanted to show the public that the cleaner the business is, the more profit it gains.
"We're the first company in Thailand to bar corruption from our organisation.
Even low-ranking staff can send complaints about their bosses to the board," he said.
The move to form the anti-corruption coalition was initiated in July when the IOD set up a panel to overcome corruption, which it said had risen significantly in many business sectors.
In September, the IOD, the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce jointly conducted a survey among 1,000 business respondents nationwide and found that 93 per cent perceived corruption existed, 88 per cent felt it would worsen and 77 per cent felt it was increasing. Fifty-four percent said corruption cost them between 10 per cent and 30 per cent more for services and production.
A World Bank report titled "The Business Case for Collective Action Against Corruption" estimated the cost of corruption surpasses US$1 trillion worldwide each year..
Edward Gacusana, a senior researcher and project coordinator of the Philippines Makati Business Club, said that its organisation spearheaded an anti-corruption coalition involving business leaders, state agencies, and nongovernment agencies.
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