Punishing elite traitors

29 12 2010

PPT often misses stories of interest. Even with readers’ prompting and collective work, we overlook a story that deserves some attention. Such a story appeared in the Bangkok Post a couple of weeks ago. It relates to that now mostly forgotten story of deep-seated corruption, nepotism and political favoritism in the Constitutional Court. If readers need a reminder on the story, PPT posted here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Yes, there were a lot.

The report we now refer to was about punishing Pasit Sakdanarong, the one who has fled and has been blamed for the leaks showing the court to be hopelessly corrupt and compromised. The report has it that Pasit’s former bosses and collaborators “have found another way to punish its errant former official…” adding that “[s]ince the former secretary to Constitution Court president Chat Cholaworn fled overseas after allegedly making video clips purporting a shady connection between the ruling Democrat Party and the Constitution Court, Mr Pasit’s name has been mud in court circles.”

What happens to an insider who does wrong and is seen to have betrayed the elite? Thaksin Shinawatra is one example of a former member of the insider’s club gone wrong (well, some do argue that he was never really fully and insider). So what’s happened to Pasit?

The report explains that “Pasit studied in an ‘elite’ course offered to top-level executives by the King Prajadhipok’s Institute [KPI]. The course is reserved for high-ranking officials, lawmakers and senior administrators of public and private organisations and Mr Pasit was placed in the programme while he served as the secretary to the court president. Mr Pasit completed the course in May and was among the 120 graduates of Class 13 of the so-called ‘High-Level Executive Programme in Politics and Administration in Democratic Government‘.”

KPI is an institute  named to recognize and celebrate King Prajadhipok as the so-called father of democratic government in Thailand. While few serious historians would today accept such a grand claim, it is the symbolism that is important. It has been allocated considerable funds to engage in all kinds of training about “good governance.”

Getting into the program mentioned in the report is a perk for insiders. As the report states, “the course is seen as a fertile ground for building work connections.” It is meant to build solidarity as a kind of finishing school for the elite.

Indeed, Pasit seems to have entered KPI’s courses in exceptional circumstances. The report states that it “is believed his seat in the programme may have been secured with the help of the Constitution Court. Mr Pasit has never served in any state agency and held no experience in top-level management. He is also younger than the minimum enrolment age of 40 years old.” So good was the court connection that he was admitted not just to one but two KPI courses!

Borwornsak and KPI students

Now that Pasit is seen to have become a traitor to his bosses, the court and the elite, the word has apparently gone out to have him punished. Some of the judges have pressed defamation and have demanded that he be investigated for breaking the draconian computer laws.

It seems that KPI, headed by another turncoat (but he turned the right way, away from Thaksin and back to the royalist fold) Bowornsak Uwanno “has called into question Mr Pasit’s qualifications and suitability to join the course.” They would have known this before – or should have – but influence was involved in getting him in, and the report acknowledges this when it observes: “But that was before he turned against the court.”

The response it that KPI “has now deemed Mr Pasit’s conduct undeserving of the institute’s recognition. At its meeting next week, the board is expected to pull him off the list of graduates waiting to receive a certificate to be royally bestowed next year.” It adds: “For Mr Pasit _ facing the prospect of being booted off the course retroactively, and the weightier threat of legal action should he return to Thailand _ any prospect of career advancement looks set to be put on hold, at least for now.”

That’s an understatement. But like Bowornsak, maybe some time in an elite temple and some articles extolling the wonders of monarchy and defending lese majeste might do the trick and rehabilitation might be possible. Somehow we doubt it.



3 responses

29 12 2010
Tweets that mention Punishing elite traitors | Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NEWSpace. NEWSpace said: Punishing elite traitors: PPT often misses stories of interest. Even with readers’ prompting and collective work… http://bit.ly/e387Fc […]

9 01 2011
13 10 2011
Court corruption clips update | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] of corruption and elite collusion, Pasit was the only suspect for anything. For more on Pasit see this post and for some of his allegations, see […]

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