Thais say peace and security 'desired most'

Thais say peace and security 'desired most'
PHOTO: Reuters

Societies with harmony, peace and security are most desired by Thais, according to a survey conducted with more than 50,000 people - aimed at raising awareness of what can be done to create a Thailand closer to what people want.

The research project was conducted by the For Khonthai Foundation and the Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

It survey of 52,947 people was done between February and April, and has been billed as the Kingdom's first tangible platform that listened to the wishes of the people.

A goal was to gauge people's wishes to create "active citizenship", explained UTCC rector Saowanee Thairungrote. "To have people asking themselves what they can do is the most important process [to achieve successful reform], as they will reinforce the commitment," Saowanee said.

The survey discovered that around 28 per cent of respondents wished to see a harmonious, peaceful and secure society without crime or social threats, with 31 per cent saying that to achieve that goal they themselves have to be generous, law abiding, and respect other people's rights and be honest.

One quarter of respondents wished to see a progressive Thailand with a strong economy and competency, while 48 per cent look forward to building co-operation and supporting policies to achieve the goal.

Some 9 per cent wished for a corruption-free Thailand, with 43 per cent saying that would be realised by people following the law and being conscious of their roles in society.

Results from different target groups proved enlightening, Saowanee said.

For example, when categorised by regions, Saowanee said it became clear that most people from the South and the Northeast wish to see a peaceful Thailand, implying a tolerance of political situations.

When categorised by age, most people aged 20 and below called for a thought-provoking educational system. This showed the importance that youths place on education, the researcher said.

Khonthai Foundation chairman Vichien Phongsathorn believed the survey results could be used to stimulate Thais. "They are generous by nature. We just need a platform like this to emphasise what they can really do for society," Vichien said.

Juree Vichit-Vadakan, chairwoman of the National Reform Council's panel on ethics, good governance and countering corruption, said she felt more hope for the country after seeing the results. She highlighted how Thais need to be conscious of what they are doing.

"We don't need to wait for laws to conduct us if we can conduct ourselves," she said, emphasising that the law was of no use to those determined to do wrong.

NRC member Buntoon Sretha-sirote supported more efforts being launched to tap people's voices. "I also managed a website to receive comments from people on how they want the interim constitution to be. I believe that reconciliation can truly happen in Thailand if people are alerted to what they can achieve," Buntoon said.

Chairman of the Local Develop-ment Institute, Poldej Pinprateep, agreed with the survey results, citing his countrywide project on public hearings that covered more than 90,000 people. "More than 90 per cent of participants also wished to live in harmony," he said.

He emphasised the importance of people's voices being heard as "Thai-land should be a people-led state".

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