From the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy to Sustainable Development Goals on February 24, 2017
Today, I present to you one aspect of the King’s Philosophy which seeks to create stability, address problems over basic needs and debt, as well as help prevent against other social and household problems. This refers to the importance of prudent financial management, which is something that HRH the Princess Mother had always taught to HM King Rama IX since childhood, especially in the form of a weekly allowance so as to encourage a trend of personal savings.
King Rama IX would save his money in a piggy bank and then use it to buy musical instruments, cameras, and bicycles. King Rama IX would also put his money in a bank to learn about such things as interest rates, investment, and revenue. King Rama IX would buy seeds to grow crops, and donate 10% of his earnings to a school for the blind, orphans, and for activities to help people living in poverty. I wonder if children these days put money in the bank?
A money-saving project which I think is admirable is the “Save Little Daily, Follow the Royal Father and His Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” project launched by a kindergarten in Uttaradit under the government’s campaign to reduce classroom hours. It teaches young children to think like a businessperson.
Under the project, little inventions, toys, foods, and other items from extracurricular activities are traded at a fair hosted annually by the school. The fair goes on for about two months, January to February, where children learn to be buyers and sellers from real-life experience.
This is a way to make an honest living. They get to learn sales techniques and the value of saving, financial management, allowing them to save a proportion for their own education equipment and stationary. Most importantly, children can adopt what they learn in their daily lives.
I encourage you to continue to come up with ideas and activities that carry on the King’s Philosophy and correlates to the government’s policies. This is so that we can teach the children to have knowledge about integrated businesses from the upstream to downstream, as well as the value of money and savings, so that they can support themselves when they grow up.
There are several issues I want to address today. The first one concerns the energy sector. The development of the energy industry is vital to the development of our country, driven by technologies, research, development, and innovation.
Every sector needs energy such as basic infrastructure, transportation, communications, information, the internet, agricultural activities, industries, tourism, and hospitality. The government and the NCPO understand the balance between the development of the energy industry and the conservation of natural resources and the environment, and will do the best we can to protect the country’s limited natural resources and our environment.
At the same time, I would like the people to understand that if we invest in something that is not compatible with reality, the risks are even higher and this will have an effect on our energy security. There are many types of energy that can generate electricity. The fuel we use to generate electricity must suit the nature of Thailand. We cannot rely on natural gas or crude oil more than 70% of the country’s consumption.
We have to reduce the proportion of use of these two energy sources. In this case, we need to find energy that is cheaper, more abundant, safe, and less vulnerable to price fluctuations. If we don’t have this source of energy, then the burdens will fall upon the people and will also come to affect the investment sector, which could then expose us to other social and economic adversities.
The use of the aforementioned energy sources must come down from 70% to 60%, hence the necessity to increase alternative energy sources from 30% to 40% from waste, biomass, wind, solar power and the like. This can allow us to reduce carbon dioxide as well as global warming. In summary, the proportion of power generation should be adjusted from 70% of fossil fuel and 30% of alternative fuels, to 60% and 40% respectively.
The next problem which many of us may not have a full understanding of is the difference between stability and instability, which is about the reliability of power production from each source, not to mention the construction itself, cost of construction, and cost of equipment, all of which can drive up total production costs of energy. We have to look at this as well. Higher production costs inevitably drives up electricity bills. Higher electricity bills results in higher living expenses.
Therefore, the government has to look at the issue from different angles, whether it is gas, oil, coal, and alternative energy. Everything has to be taken into consideration.
Coal is an energy source that we are considering, which will be pivotal to the reduction to the costs and the use of natural gas and oil which we import every year. We cannot be sure if we will be able to easily keep on import energy in the future. Will there be enough supply? Will it be more expensive? Will they sell it to us? These are all the risks.
As for the coal powered electricity plant, if the project is a go, we will need high quality coal, not lignite. We need the kind that produces the least pollution. There are coal-fired power plants in many countries that do not use lignite, but rather bituminous coal, which is uses advanced technology and is based on international standards.
So, we will listen to all sides. We have to look at the logic behind each alternative. How many countries are using it? Do our neighbors have it? There are many factors that we have to consider. We also have to look at the capacity of the power plant. How much more will it produce? With more power, we will need fewer plants elsewhere.
Whatever we decide to do will correspond to the international goals to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and global warming. We have already acknowledged the resolution at the United Nations meeting to reduce global emissions by 20-25% by 2030. We are committed to this goal and to this agreement, and there are no vested interests in any of our considerations. I only look at things that benefit our nation and the people. We have to find a common ground in order to cooperate.
Thailand is fortunate to produce only 0.9% of CO2 which is a very low percentage compared to other nations around the world.
The government has to uphold its agreements and listen to the people. As you can see, for the past two year, the government has never issued any orders without people’s participation or consent. We need public participation based on their understanding of the law and the EIA and EHIA. So please don’t listen to distorted truth. The plan is being redrafted. The old plan is being revised and reconsidered. The two reports will need to be considered.
The project will not happen if the plan fails. I cannot force it to happen, but you have to live with consequences. We will consider alternative ways that will help lower electricity bills while at the same time taking into account the production cost and reliability. Power generation from alternative energies can be done in small plants. But it will be a problem if we only generate electricity from this one source as the levels fluctuate. Therefore we need main energy as well as alternative energies.
These energy sources should be proportioned more appropriately according to the country’s energy plan under the public-private partnership. If we have the energy source that answers these questions, we would not have to build a coal power plant. But this plant will benefit the whole nation.
If we can ahead with it, we will. If we cannot, we won’t. But I ask that there be no more conflicts on this, please. We should sort this out through dialogue and listen to each other. Let’s not waste time on protests. I have already told related agencies to review the plan. Please don’t coerce the government with such tactics. It is not right. We have to respect the law. Let’s listen to each other and refrain from protesting. It’s a waste of time and energy. Let’s use our energy to improve ourselves and the country.
Another important matter is that the country’s income cannot rely solely on agriculture because the agricultural sector is vulnerable to price fluctuations and uncertainty. Thailand has to become an agro-industrial sector that relies on green industries.
Otherwise, Thailand will not have enough revenue for national development or for public services namely public health services, education, services for the elderly, and the like. I ask that everyone understand the point I’m trying to make.
Everything is like a two-faced coin. There are pros and cons. There are advantages and disadvantages. There will be people who are affected and we will look after them. Everything has to be balanced out. We have to find appropriate solutions for all issues. We cannot rely on one single method without any possible alternatives.
The EIA and EHIA reports have to be finished as soon as possible. We cannot afford to lose opportunities. We must take responsibility for the risks the country may face in the future, in addition to the loss of opportunities, energy risks, high production costs, high electricity bills. The government is doing the best we can. These problems may come to affect the country’s competitiveness in the end.
On the other hand, I admire the public for being aware about the issues of development and the preservation of the environment, in addition to our nation’s energy security. Without differences, we wouldn’t have known how important it is. Therefore I would like everyone involved to have their information in check. If you don’t have enough knowledge on any issue, you should listen more, you should read more. Then you make decisions on your own. You can consult others as well.
In terms of the environment, I urge that the public use less Styrofoam, use less plastic bags. Plastic takes a very long time to decay, as much as a hundred years. You should sort your waste and put your trash in the right bin. Garbage must be collected according to its category.
Every sector is involved, the public, the government, and the private sector. Have you been saving energy and turning off lights and unplugging your appliances, computers, and televisions? Another thing we need to save is fuel and gas. People tend to be overuse petrol gas when it is cheap. What will we do when the price goes up? The government will not be able to shoulder the cost.
If we do these things and instill such values in our children, it will yield benefits. This is not only about saving energy or the environment, but about our social consciousness and willingness to work with everyone to protect valuable resources and the environment that we have.
Plastic bag reduction is important. Please help raise this awareness. Please use more cloth bags if you can when shopping for groceries. There are many kinds of cloth bags. Some are water resistant. We need to reduce the use of plastic bags. In the future, grocery stores may have to charge for plastic bags. The most important part is people participation.
The second issue concerns the invocation of Article 44 of the interim constitution. Many have criticized the law, both in positive and negative ways, including NCPO orders. Please understand this. Like other laws, Article 44 is utilized to unlock obsolete regulations that may hinder the government’s work, allowing for prompt implementation as well as the ability to go around contradictory rules.
In other words, Article 44 is a specific measure that mobilizes the country forward. The law must be enforced honestly by officials and transparently. The law is used for some security related matters because there are many groups who refuse to follow regular laws or any laws for that matter. So please don’t blame your misconduct on Article 44. If you don’t break the law, no law can punish you.
Examples of its use include resolving many pending issues such as the issuance of 4,000 factory licenses, 10,000 FDA licenses, and 12,000 patent certificates that awaited approval for 20 years. How come none of these licenses were approved in the past 20 years? The current government has addressed these issues so that the country doesn’t lose its opportunities and that small and medium businesses can thrive. The issuance of these licenses creates jobs and opportunities. There are several other issues that have been fixed by Article 44.
As for long-term solutions, we are pushing for several laws to be enacted. These ordinary laws will replace Article 44 of the interim charter. Many laws have been promulgated while many are being deliberated by the legislature. The passing of a law can sometimes take months in 3 parliamentary sittings. The current government has proposed 500 new acts to the legislature, 200 of which have been enacted.
In addition to a number of revised laws and regulations, there are over 10,000 regulations being considered, both modern and outdated. The revision of outdated laws will require an extended period of time. Most importantly, we have to focus on urgent regulations. Some laws are new to the country.
We also have to abide by international agreements as well. This is necessary for national administration and for international credibility such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The issues of IUU fishing and civil aviation have been on a positive trend. Many international organizations have acknowledged Thailand for its effort and commitment. We will have to increase the effective and productivity on all fronts.
If we didn’t do it this way, without oversight, the work will be problematic and incomplete. We would not be able to initiate or reform many things. Another case is the Dhammakaya case. Article 44 is not enforced to bully any monk or Buddhism itself. I’m a Thai Buddhist. My family is Buddhist.
I have the responsibility to look after every religion in Thailand. Therefore if it wasn’t necessary, Article 44 would not have been used. But it was necessary in this case because some people were not respecting the law. They thought they were above the law. They broke the law and don’t accept the authority of government officials. They think a group of protesters is above the law and have used a lot of people to break the law and refuse judicial procedures. Not only did they break ordinary laws, the protesters including the monks also broke their code of monastic disciplines. This is why Article 44 was necessary.
Even with the enforcement of the law, authorities have difficulty to perform their duties. It shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place. There have also been false images of officials using force against people. It is a good thing to be loyal to your organization, but you must protect it in the legal and right way by casting out unscrupulous people from the organization through proper judicial procedures. The country has laws and we live under them. Again, no one is above the law. Society is watching. They want transparency.
If ordinary laws cannot be enforced, Article 44 is an alternative. Please put yourselves in the shoes of the officers. Officers are risking their lives. It is possible that violence can erupt at any given moment. There might be a third party who is looking to instigate the situation. Authorities have a family to support. If something happens to them, it will not be good. Violence shouldn’t be an option. Please be more empathetic.
You call them out when they don’t perform. And when they perform, you lay blame on them. Article 44 allows officers to perform with confidence and safety. If their lives are threatened while they enforce the law, who will be responsible? I have to protect them. Please don’t make our officers ‘victims’ of the society.
There have been many similar incidents in the past. And authorities would end up being the victims. We also have to look at the cause of the problem. Please don’t give them a hard time. Their job is already hard enough. In fact, under normal laws they are permitted to use force, equipment, or even weapons when weapons are involved against them.
But they have not done this today. Officers do not carry a weapon. They have high patience. I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to DSI officers, military officers, police officers, and civil servants. I also thank the monks who are helping us. The problem is that the ones who are causing all the problems are not cooperating. These wrongdoers use their followers to protect themselves, further complicating the situation.
We do not wish to use equipment or tools to enforce any law or to control the crowd. We try our best to maintain peacefulness and orderliness. But everyone must learn to get along. If we keep fighting each other, it will set an example for others in the future. This is a bad example for the society. People don’t feel good, nor do government officers. This is not a good example of our children.
Why are you not ending this? Please stop this. Article 44 will be revoked when this mess is sorted out, when everyone agrees to enter the justice system. At the same time, your requests are illegal. No country in the world does this. The government is doing its best to keep a peaceful atmosphere and protect lives and properties. Other laws we have in place are meant to relieve pressure and prevent possible clashes. We have negotiated to prevent violence. We have negotiated with them over and over again, but there is no progress. There have also been unlawful acts by perpetrators.
Please leave the issue to the justice system. Let officers do their job. I don’t want this negative image to be amplified overseas. I know everyone understands what is right and wrong. Still, the media wants to put a spin on the story. Do you know what other countries think of us when they get a hold of this story? They would think the government is bullying monks and Buddhism. Is this good for the country?
As like other times, you don’t think of the consequences of your actions. Only the government and the officials will have to be responsible for what comes after. Please consider this. Don’t just do the reporting or sensationalize the news, instead encourage protesters to go home, to come forward, to fight in the court. This is the right thing to do. This is the ethical thing to do. If the press can do this, there will not be any measures, not even Section 44, to oversee the media.
This is what I want everyone to think about. Exercise patience. Follow moral principles and use your wisdom and knowledge to solve everyday problems. I have never wanted to use any strict laws or harsh measures. Ordinary laws are being used today. Article 44 is only a framework.
Today, officers are becoming victims, treated without respect, and treated with violence. They were pushed around, and then accused of bullying monks and people. It is unacceptable when social media outlets accuse authorities or the government of trying to sabotage the religion. This is a faulty accusation and nowhere near the truth. If people believed this report, I’d be disheartened. The journalist who wrote it probably was not conscientious. Sorry, I did not wish to blame you. But you can’t just write anything that will result in upheaval, without taking the responsibility.
Therefore, I would like everyone to try to understand the law and to support our officials as they do their duties. They have to return home to their families as well. Because of them, traffic congestion is alleviated and people are kept out of danger.
Today, I have also been communicating to foreign countries, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about the situation in Thailand. Their responses have been quite constructive. But at the same time, there are groups of people who are trying to spread false news, news of disorderliness, and about the work of the government.
There are groups that continue to disseminate information that is damaging to the country, with some groups nearby, some abroad and some even using lobbyists. Although the people already know about this, some still listen to them and the media often amplifies this by covering it. It is as if this is some kind of fun and games for them; the state of our country is not for your entertainment.
The news should not be presented as if it’s like a sports competition with a winner and a loser. There are no winners or losers. The only potential loser is the country if the people suffer. So I ask that you be alert to this and use discretion to analyze such information. Please don’t let the country’s image and credibility be damaged internationally.
This goes for social media as well. You may think that you can’t be caught now, but there are laws that will hold you accountable. Therefore, you will not able to deny what you have done now because the evidence of your actions will be available.
Therefore I urge you to not cause any controversy or conflict now and join along with our reconciliation efforts at this time.
As for destructive behavior by some groups both domestic and overseas, regardless of if they mean it or not, I ask that these people cease their activities immediately. I want things to be resolved according to ethics, principles, the rule of law, and so that credibility in our Buddhist institutions remains. We are a Buddhist nation that welcomes other religions as well. So please refrain from quarrelling.
As for reconciliation, the Committee For Reform, National Strategy and Reconciliation is in the process of conducting its duties. Yet, there have been many disparaging comments, include threats by some of those released on bail that if “there are no results in 3 months, then there will be changes.” Why are you stirring up confrontation again? Many people have been hurt and have even perished because of our political conflicts and yet, you are still doing this.
As for those who are demanding an election by August this year and threaten to mobilize if it isn’t held, let me ask you ‘what is going on’? Have your loved ones ever been injured or lost their lives as a result of political violence?
I do want to place too much focus on these people. I’ll let society be the judge of these people. Will the Thai people allow this type of thing to recur? I say this because I would like you to be conscientious of our actions and have reason, and I don’t want something like this to ruin our atmosphere of national reconciliation. Let’s not have a repeat of the violence that happened in 2010 and 2014.
I don’t understand how these people still have standing ground in Thai society. These people have money and a public image despite having broken the law, lied, and distorted information every day. And the media continues to interview these people and disseminate their messages to the general public. They are destroying our peacefulness and the country’s credibility. Many are involved with court cases, some are out on bail, some are awaiting a ruling – in any case, all they do is cry foul. But when a case goes their way, they rejoice, while never mentioning the fairness of the system. However, when a case ruling is against them, they speak of injustice and double standards. They are the ones with double standards who don’t respect the justice system. Please don’t create any more hate with your words, it is enough.
Think about other people, especially the ones who have lost their lives. How would you feel if it were your family? Let’s all help each other preserve peacefulness and orderliness in this country and move forward towards reconciliation on all matters. Please respect the rules and let go from only thinking about personal gain. There will be gains and losses along the way because we are in the process of reforming.
As for the grassroots economy, what is vital include the agricultural sector, water management, free contractors, SMEs and startups. We must care for all of these sectors. There are lots of useful information being presented on television and newspapers. Please follow up on this information as it talks about our progress, how to develop yourself to increase your income, or how to share wisdom from farmers who have been successful. Some farmers received honorable degrees and have returned to agriculture as “smart farmers” or community leaders.
Try out these new approaches and adopt success stories to suit your condition. There are many cases where people have successfully increased their income by a significant amount. However, there are also a significant number of people who don’t care for change and are easily convinced not to make any changes to their lives, and that another government will come to give them more handouts. To these people, after all these years of working, have you paid off your debts yet? Have your ways really worked and have you seen any real development?
I would like people not to remain in their old failing ways. If you claim that you don’t have the knowledge or capabilities, please go and consult with local officials or the people around you that have been successful. Don’t just demand assistance and handouts from the government when times are bad. If you plant the same crops the same way, they will likely be damaged the same way. You will be stuck in the same place if you do so. Try to embrace change and avoid being manipulated by people with ill intentions. There are lots of good people out there that you should listen to. Be wary of people who have political motives.
I would like to ask those former politicians, in particular those pre 2014 who have been known to be unscrupulous…. what have you done that was successful? What have you done that wasn’t damaging to the country, which strengthened the efficiency of the country? Have you done any of this?
Today, the world has drastically changed in many aspects, from technology to the natural environment. We need to change the way we think as well if we want to change our future. If we continue to procrastinate, we will not be able to keep up. Many who have changed have become affluent and have paid off their debts. Some of you are still mired in your debt. What would your children do if they don’t have land to conduct a living? The government cannot simple give you land.
Everyone must develop themselves. Please don’t let it reach the point where you lose your land and are mired in debt. Nothing can be done if this happens. The government is doing all it can to address a myriad of problems. All these issues are equally important because they are all intertwined.
I only ask for your cooperation and that you are flexible. Solutions require time and patience. These are problems that have festered for tens of years. Therefore please try not be easily cajoled by false information, especially from previous politicians. What have they done in the past that has resulted in real progress? There have been both good and bad undertakings. So we need to support only what is good.
We must create resilience at all levels. This country is populated by a variety of people and occupations. All these people must strengthen themselves and enhance their potential. Don’t just wait for money to be put in your hands. In some case, it is not even legal to do so.
Don’t seek to solve problems only at the surface level as the deep-rooted problems will still remain. This way, our budgets will only be wasted and only a handful of people will benefit from corruption. I want everyone to realize that all governments must be the government of all the Thai people, not just the government of your voting base. This government is trying to address all issues, and we will keep on trying with our best efforts.
Regarding loan sharks, this administration is taking this matter very seriously. The Cabinets has resolved to address this issue with legislation and financial policies. Please follow up on developments. No other government has seriously attempted to address this issue. Those who had criticized Prompt Pay, where are they now, now that it is up and running?
Therefore, this government has established 12 Pracharat committees in order to enhance the efficiency of the government sector. The government can’t implement this policy on its own. Agendas must include public participation. We do not cater to special interests and we need to address our problems within the ‘economic ecosystem’.
This is like a natural ecosystem, where there are small and large plants and animals that depend on each other. Without each other, the ecosystem will be off balance. Today, we have invited businesspersons to take part in our new Pracharat Rak Samakkee Company and to see to its successful inception.
These business people will be present in all provinces to participate in the company’s management, database, funding, and training. These people also are in the 12 committees that the government has established. We wish to create sustainability.
Whatever project that is approved by the Cabinet will need to have undergone consideration on whether it has a workable plan, whether it coincides a strategy development in the next five, 10, 15, or 20 years. These projects have to address issues in a sustainable manner. An example is the policy to address the drought and the flooding in the southern region. If we are unable to get rid of obstacles, such as blockades, housing, or buildings, that stand in the way of natural water irrigation, will not be able to solve this issue in a sustainable manner.
Therefore, I have stressed the importance of sustainable solutions. There may be people who are impacted by these policies, but the government must take care of these people as well. Think about the long-term impact if we fail to address these issues. The flooding in the southern region is a prime example of this.
I would like to thank everyone who has participated in assistance measures or has donated to the assistance cause in the southern region. We have been able to put together over 700 million baht to be allocated towards repairing homes. Other less urgent projects will follow suit. The government will also allocate its budget in addition to this amount.
Addressing our drought and flooding situation requires a systematic and comprehensive approach. First we must address the root cause of the problem which is forest encroachment. There are laws that must be passed. We may need to allocate some of the decayed forest land for farming activities. We will allow people to utilize this land while also conducting ecosystem restoration activities in order for this land to become community forest land.
Next, we need to effectively manage our river basins, irrigation systems, and canals. We need to dispose of the water hyacinth in canals, which is yet to be complete. A lot has been done but it’s not 100% yet. People need to help out as well.
So please lend the government your assistance as well. Another matter is preventing soil erosion by planting vetiver or just regular grass in certain cases. Vegetation would help secure the soil. This method has been mentioned in “The King’s Philosophy”
An important issue is providing water resources for agricultural, consumption, and drought prevention purposes. We need to create small dams across the region, especially areas out of the reach of an irrigation system. Once we succeed, we will need to continue our efforts to create water passages to ensure that water is sent to all communities.
This may require some digging by residents and farmers may need to have their own ponds. This is because communities beyond the reach of an irrigation system must stockpile their own rainwater. This is an example of an issue that requires an integrated approach that utilizes large amounts of resources and manpower.
If we start today, things would not be so difficult for us in the next 10 to 20 years. In these two years of this administration, we are doing our best.
Regarding electric trains, I need to address this as well. We have drafted a blueprint of our projects according to priority. It turns out that certain lines that are of lower priority were constructed first. I find this odd and do not understand the benefits of this decision.
For example, the purple and blue line in Bangkok has a 1 km gap between each other. The Blue Line should have completed the remaining 1 km before the purple line is completed. I don’t understand why we had to finish construction of the purple line and leave a 1 km gap. We need to find a way to fill this one kilometer gap. I am troubled that this has caused a lot of inconvenience for commuters.
I asked that you place your trust in this administration to solve our problems. Please don’t assume that we are trying to appease certain groups. We must fix these problems today and ensure that there is clear progress.
I will also try to expedite the construction of other train lines. We are confronted with a myriad problems and obstacles that make the task very difficult. However, I can’t let it be like this.
Today, Bangkok traffic has become very congested because of all these construction lines. However, these projects are necessary. We must all have patience as we work towards building a complete transportation system And our traffic situation will improve. Right now, we need to construct train lines, replace our buses, and construct underpasses and overpasses.
We have not had much tangible progress with several of these projects and therefore the consequences have manifested as we have seen. Therefore, I ask that everyone be calm, kind, share the roads, be tolerant and obey traffic laws, so that our cities can reflect our namesake as the ‘Land of Smiles’.
As for the economy, please look at the numbers presented by the National Economic and Social Development Board. The GDP in 2017 is expected to expand in a range between 3 to 4%. This is considered a good thing.
I ask that you don’t prejudge this forecast. In 2016 the economy grew by 3.2%. Isn’t that better than the previous 2.8%? When numbers at the upper level are good, it should have a positive effect on the lower level, but whether this benefits all people will require other support measures. So please avoid listening to people that are deliberately distorting facts.
We will never forsake the grassroots economy. I think every day about how we can assist the common street merchant and how we can reorganize the streets without causing them distress. I think about how the consumers will eat because as well, as we all must rely on each other. If we all cooperate, we will be able to coexist. If you don’t cooperate, then things won’t work. The law is the law.
Therefore, please be aware of the care this government has put in implementing its policies. All these things are intricate and interconnected. We must make sure that solutions don’t cause adverse consequences. We must enhance our country’s competitiveness, develop the skills of our labor force, and create a network that connects our economy at all levels.
We must help reduce household debt, strengthen SMEs, eliminate loan sharking, develop our special economic zones, invest in infrastructure and government programs, and draft strategic plans that are connected to each other, otherwise there will be discrepancies in our system.
Therefore, we must do everything we can to build up our credibility. If we keep on criticizing each other, how will there be confidence in our progress? Then people who have money will be reluctant to spend or invest. When there is no economic growth, what will we all get apart from the distorted words of people who criticize? These words have not been constructive for the country.
Please remind yourselves that our success depends on our commitment and cooperation. Everyone plays a part in the economic ecosystem. There are opportunities for all who are diligent and are willing to continuously develop themselves. If all you do is sit by idly, opportunities disappear.
The next matter is preventing corruption. We now have a committee and have made this a national agenda. Today, we are confronted with more and more problems, not because there is more corruption, but because of the existing systematic problems. Investigations into corruption cases are still underway. We will penalize those who are guilty. This will take time and require various mechanisms.
Most importantly, we must fix the system. I’ve discussed with my deputy prime ministers and legal section on how to improve upon the system so that it is more transparent and can prevent future corruption. In carrying out the various government programs, we have our Committee on Reform, National Strategy and Reconciliation as well as the Committee on Strategic National Administration.
We have aggressively pushed for new legislation and have been able to prevent corruption for a considerable amount. A problem we have uncovered is corruption in the procurement system. There have been issues of price fixing, appraisals that aren’t according to standards, unclear TORs, or pre-determining contractors or brokers in advance.
Over the past two years, we have addressed these issues by developing an electronic government procurement program (e-GP) which sets up in electronic market place with an electronic bidding system (e-bidding). By doing this, we have been able to save around 70 billion baht in government expenditures.
We’ve formed integrity pacts for 35 programs, saving over 2 billion baht. We’ve introduced a project transparency system based on the CoST system used by England. Currently, seven programs are under this system, worth over 100 billion baht. We have also pushed for legislation pertaining to procurements that will soon be in effect.
In the near future, we will need to define clear parameters for bidding programs whether local or international. For example, for projects over 5 billion baht, we will establish a super board to oversee the entire procurement system, examining the pricing and construction of government and state enterprise projects.
This committee will investigate any contentious matters. In the event of corruption, they will refer the case to the legal process. Otherwise, we will be unable to investigate corruption in government programs. This has been the result of my discussions with my deputies and various officials from the justice department.
They have agreed that this committee must consist of representatives from the state, occupational organizations, academics, and experts. I have tasked the anti-corruption bodies and related agencies to consider the feasibility of revising the statute of limitations for corruption cases to begin on the day evidence is discovered instead of the day that crime was committed.
Finally, I would like to say that we are working together to take on many difficult matters, some that we have never attempted before. So if we conduct our duties with the obligation to the highest ethics, we will thus be accepted in the eyes of the sensible person. I wish everyone success with their aspirations.
For example, the medical team from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital has aspired to make history in its 1.5 million-step run from Chiang Mai to Siriraj. This charity running event of 750 kilometers will take place on March 11-17.
This program aims to raise money for the construction of the Navamindrabopitr 84th Anniversary Building that was named by King Rama IX with the aim of promoting equality access to medical services for the Thai people, which is in accordance with King Rama IX’s aspirations.
The charity run also is a campaign to encourage people to exercise and take care of their health. This lifestyle choice is a way of preventing health problems and reducing medical costs. For those who are participating, please know your physical limits and don’t push yourselves. I ask that drivers be sympathetic and make way for the runners in this event.
Information pertaining to donations can be found at the bottom of the screen.
Thank you very much. I wish everyone happiness during the weekend and let’s start next week by working together to do good things. I wish everyone good health and good spirits, so that we can together promote the ethics and principles in our society as we develop Thailand to be a nation of stability, prosperity, and sustainability. Thank you. Sawasdee Krub.