If you just skim the local media in Thailand, you will see stories about Senators and members of Parliament about ready to get the boot. Normally this would not be much of an issue, but this time in involves dozens of people.
Any foreigner that has lived in Thailand for any period of time will simply say that it appears Thai laws apply only to non Thais. Too frequently Thais are seen getting away with things with impunity while non Thais face the full wrath of the laws. This is no doubt a social fallout from years of corruption.
A recent survey of Thais showed that the police are believed to be the most corrupt group in Thailand. This was highlighted by a 15 year old Thai boy who said he wanted to be a policeman because they can make a lot of money. In reality police do not make much money, so you can easily figure out what he meant. What the survey also showed was politicians were no longer seen as the most corrupt.
The reason for that change in opinion is not just one reason. They are seeing the courts handing out punishments to politicians more frequently, in most cases they lose their seat. The Election Commission is properly doing its followup work on elected politicians, as well as the teeth in the Constitution.
The assorted MPs and Senators under the gun are in violation of the Constitution being both the 1997 and the 2007 Constitutions. So simply put this is not a new law, it is just one that was ignored. That simply supports the feeling foreigners have that Thai laws are for non Thais only. But it appears that is changing at least in a few places. The further you get from Bangkok, the more things remain unchanged, and particularly so where the convicted fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra remains popular.
Some of the MPs in question are not being cooperative with the investigation, and each has their own personal reason for doing so. Perhaps some are in denial, others looking to buy their way out of trouble, and others may have accidently slipped into violation with the unknown actions of other family members. In each case the investigation goes on with the outcome of MPs becoming unglued from their elected seat. It seems with the way things have been going, you could start up the drinking song “99 Bottles” and replace it with ‘99 MPs’ and run the entire 100 verses of the song.
From the governments perspective, it seems that so many people are under the gun and risk getting the boot, dissolving parliament may be unavoidable. It is clear Prime minister Abhisit does not want to do that as it would only stall what slow advancements are being made in Thailand’s recovery. It is very clear his interest are in moving Thailand forward.
The vast number of people affected by this is both an embarrassment and gaining face at the same time. The embarrassment in the numbers, but the face being gained shows that laws that Thais once ignored, can no longer be ignored. This spells a big plus and incentive for foreign investors as it tends to show a leveling of the playing field.
As the eventual outcome of this is a few weeks away, there will no doubt be some behind the scene action going on either trying to fix, delay or explain the problems away.