Charoensawasd, Pornlapus (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The effects of economic and political transition dominated Thailand’s economy since the 1990s; with the great change from economic and trade victory to widespread financial
slump, the political crossroads in 1992 and the reform of political democracy, Thailand drew up a preliminary version of a new constitution and pledged significant political and
economic improvement. In the context of the reconstitution of the Thai telecommunications policy from the beginning of 1990 to the end of 2001, this study presents the progress of restructuring Thai telecommunications industry and examines key forces determining the policy-making process of its Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In order to investigate the role of manifold policy factors and the role of the Thai State in ICT policy formulation, the study applies political model of policy process and is based on the conceptual framework of J. P. Singh (1999)’s factors in determining the nature of the telecommunications restructuring in developing country and the State’s role in the decision-making process. While the primary impelling force for restructuring was Thailand’s ambition to become the economic centre of Southeast Asia, a vast number of secondary forces are discovered to have been involved in the restructuring of telecommunications industry and evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policy. Economic cooperation and a global liberalisation programme enforced by the WTO and the IMF have had an explicit effect on Thailand’s policymaking.
Internally, in the collocation of the advanced development of parliamentary democracy and intensifying money politics, business interests became steadily stronger in ICT policymaking through the more direct political manipulation of the situation to gain some advantage at the top levels. There was also a growing impact from public interest groups
and the Senate. The diversity of interests in the policy process limited the power of the State to direct policy decisions. In a system in which policy-making was plagued by
political infighting among groups seeking to control the social system and the activities from which they derived private benefit, the policy-making function of the State was
seriously impaired and the progress of Thai telecommunications reform and its ICT policy underwent a major crisis in consequence.
The thesis seeks to answer: how the ICTs policymaking developed during the telecommunications industry reform, and the interplays among the policy forces; and what
role the State played in the policy-making process. It argues that the Thai State’s weakness to create a regulatory regime to implement the ICTs policy of telecommunication liberalisation represents essentially a problem of institutional change. The thesis demonstrates that the State role in policymaking was phenomenon, and even facilitated particular group’s interest and idea, and that it was ill-suited implementation for society at large.
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