Chula Economics Lecturer Receives International Anti-Corruption Award 2021

Congratulations to Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus Yomnak on becoming one of the 12 anti-corruption activists from around the world to receive the U.S. State Department’s International Anti-Corruption Champion Award 2021 on International Anti-corruption Day.  Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus, the Director of the Political Economics Studies Center, Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, was chosen as the academic award recipient from Southeast Asia.

                                                    Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus Yomnak
                                                 
                                                                   Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus Yomnak,
                                         Director of the Political Economics Studies Center,
                                                                   Faculty of Economics

“I am deeply honored to receive this award and grateful that the anti-corruption efforts put forth by me, and many in Thailand, have received international recognition.  This will in a way help prevent and reduce the corruption in Thailand”, Dr. Torplus revealed. 

 

The inspiration to become an anti-corruption activist

Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus has been interested in conducting research on corruption since he was a fourth-year student at the Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University.  He then continued his research on the issue, and his PhD thesis at the University of Cambridge focused on strategies to fight corruption in Thailand’s construction industry.                    

“People all over the world are working hard to combat corruption. Thailand has 30-40 private and public sectors working to fight corruption and promote good governance.  I am just a small part of Thailand’s anti-corruption network”, commented Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus.

Faculty members at Chula Economics, including Prof. Dr. Pasuk Phongpaichit, Assoc. Prof. Dr.Nualnoi Treerat, Assoc. Prof. Noppanun Wannathepsakul, Asst. Prof. Dr. Thanee Chaiwat and many others, have embarked on corruption research studies.  Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus has continued his anti-corruption work not only for academics and practical impact, but also to work behind the scenes to support a broad range of impactful anti-corruption projects in Thailand.  Through such efforts, Thailand’s anti-corruption network and instruments have become more effective.

 

The working principles of a Thai academic and winner of an international anti-corruption award

Throughout his work, Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus has always adhered to the principles of transparency and believes that public participation is the most important factor in addressing corruption issues.  It is difficult to battle corruption with a single instrument and a top-down policy, since anti-corruption activities can become successful through a group of people working together, not by a single individual.

To support corruption research studies, Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus and academic members from various areas, such as linguistics, marketing, political science, and law, formed the Corruption Research Center, “Siam Lab”, at the Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University.  Moreover, Dr. Torplus has collaborated with friends to form an enterprise for society, called “HAND Social Enterprise,” to research projects with government agencies, and public and private sectors.  To this day, Thailand’s corruption has decreased to an extent, and the Corruption Perception Index has improved.

 

Participation of Thai people in anti-corruption activities

Asst. Prof. Dr. Torplus stated that the public sector is now aware of anti-corruption. According to a survey conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, 98 percent of Thais say that corruption is a problem relevant to everyone.  Regardless, the low number of people participating in anti-corruption campaigns is worrisome.  To this end, instruments must be developed to arm the public against corruption.  Encouraging people to snub corruption is very important and requires an understanding of the social context. Dr. Torplus concluded that academics and marketing specialists can and must play an important role to help boost public awareness of corruption. In recent years, research projects on anti-cheat marketing have been carried out with great success.