If the word normal could be applied to Thai politics, this may be as close of an example as you get. The Abhisit government must now go head to head with other Thai politicians on what appears to be a graft issue. However in this case it may amount to self inflicted wounds.
It was going to happen sooner or later, bad politicians pretending to be good are pushing through something that is very likely to line their pockets with money. For the sake of this story, Connecting the Dots will assume that the bus leasing project in question is loaded with kickbacks to the proposing politicians.
Prime Minister Abhisit who has been nicknamed the ‘White Knight’ must now challenge coalition partners over the bus leasing proposal. The coalition politicians that proposed the bus deal are former colleagues of the convicted fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. Just the simple fact that they danced with the devil places them under increased scrutiny.
Thaksin took corruption to an entirely new level. Corrupt politicians before Thaksin were content with just small pieces of the pie, so they were tolerated. However Thaksin came to town looking for double digit percentages, and that is when the Thais said enough is enough. Because of that past greed, the bus deal is being questioned.
There are other transit projects that look to be just money makers for corrupt politicians. The new SkyTrain to the airport is just one example. The general prediction is few if any will use it because of the inconvenience of getting to the train along with your bags just to save about 100 Baht.
Abhisit is not the only white knight about these days, there are some senators that will fight to end graft and they are making it known that if Abhisit caves in, it could be the end of his government. Indirectly that provided Abhisit with an excuse to say no to the bus deal.
Even the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) is getting into the act just to stir the pot and drive Thaksin’s wedge between Abhisit and the coalition. It is a bit of ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ at this point. The PTP is simply the worst of the worst when it comes to being self-serving. In reality they would have taken an even bigger cut than the corrupt coalition partners. But now they are supportive of killing the bus deal. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that move is self serving.
What is going on is exactly what was going on in the first few months of 2008, when Prime Minister Samak of the People Power Party (PPP) started to feel the heat for not seeing to the people. Ultimately their can only be one answer for this and that is, the bus deal must be properly cleaned before it can be approved. The thinking that you can still get away with graft had to be at least tested when Thaksin was significantly out of the picture.
The only answer to this is the corrupt politicians must modify their thinking as the good old days seem to be over. There however will be a second thought of somehow getting Thaksin back into office to bring back the good old days. That thinking is exactly why the PTP have taken the position they have.