Initially opened to mark Anti-Corruption Day 2015 in Bangkok on Sep 6, the Museum of Thai Corruption is designed to reveal the underlying truths behind 10 major duplicitous cases in Thailand. The exhibition, organized by the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT), a non-profit organization, is now set to re-open to the public on Sep 15-27 at BACC before becoming a permanent museum at the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission later this year. Here, BK talks to Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary of the ACT, about what to expect from this first-of-its-kind event.
Do you think the current government is making progress against corruption?
With this government it’s getting better. In the past, the prosecution process took more than 10 years. If there were 100 corruption cases, not more than five of them would go to trial. However, even though corruption has noticably decreased, we're still worried about what will happen when this government’s term ends. Now, we need to focus on formulating a sustainable process of preventing dishonesty and illegal behavior.
What's the idea behind the museum?
People always say that Thais like to let things go by easily, which serves to make the corrupt even more conceited. For this reason, we want to promote the exhibition as a monument to the dirty trickery of corruption, while roundly condemning those guilty parties. We think Thai citizens need to be consistently reminded of such scandalous people.
What criteria were used to choose the specific cases?
This is still the early stages of the museum, so we decided to feature a wide range of cases to hold people’s attention, from the petty to the grand. After gathering all the information, we found individuals of all political stripes guilty of interfering; moreover, the lack of an effective judgment process is big problem, too.
Can you give some examples?
Of course. The Klong Dan wastewater scheme fraud is an obvious example. It was concocted by a large group of politicians at both the national and local levels [led by veteran politician Vatana Asavahame], who changed the project details from building two water treatment stations to one in Samut Prakarn, specifically in Klong Dan sub-district, which required the government to buy land from them totalling over a billion baht. Then they used contractors who were actually their cronies, so that they reaped even more benefits.
How are the cases displayed?
We've collaborated with many artists and experts so that the cases are displayed as sculptures accompanied by information boards for each. The exhibition will resume at BACC until Sep 27 before becoming a permanent museum exhibition at the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission on Pitsanulok Road this December. We also plan to take it on the road, especially places like Klong Dan. Furthermore, we have created a website, which showcases the entire exhibition.
Have there be any attempts to censor what you display?
Absolutely not. And if someone tried, I insist they would fail. Because preventing corruption is our duty! We must not give up. The ACT doesn’t give up. The most crucial thing for fighting against corruption is making people aware and fully understanding about it. Everyone should be wary of unusual situations taking place around us, and unite to prevent corruption together. In the end, it’s all about finding ways to stop people taking advantage of one another.
For further infomation, visit the ACT fanpage: ow.ly/RMCQB