The 1965 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service
CITATION for Puey Ungphakorn
Ramon Magsaysay Award Presentation Ceremonies
31 August 1965, Manila, Philippines
The career of Dr. PUEY UNGPHAKORN confirms that a single individual can make significant contributions to the progress of his country, despite a tendency toward official corruption evident in many developing lands. Thailand's relative prosperity and steady growth matched by stable finances are a measure of his accomplishment.
After wartime service in the Free Thai Movement and doctoral studies in England, Dr. PUEY joined the Ministry of Finance in 1949 as a third-grade official in the Comptroller General's Office. Hardworking and brilliant, within the next three years he became one of the principal negotiators in securing World Bank loans for rehabilitation of his country's railways and port facilities and construction of a large irrigation dam.
Proven competence won him promotion to Technical Assistant to the Permanent Undersecretary of Finance and concurrently Deputy Governor of the Bank of Thailand. In these posts Dr. PUEY instigated reorganization of the country's trade, foreign exchange and fiscal policies. A government monopoly on rice exports was replaced with a flexible premium system that made Thai rice competitive in world markets while keeping domestic prices of this staple within the budget of ordinary citizens. A single, more realistic exchange rate supplanted the former multiple exchange system while an Exchange Equalization Fund stabilized the currency. Thai accounting and budgetary methods were reformed.
When manipulation of import controls threatened abuses, Dr. PUEY requested leave but instead was posted to the Royal Thai Embassy in London. Promoting foreign investment in industry for his country, he also mastered the intricacies of the world tin market, winning an increase in Thailand's quota and election as Vice-Chairman of the International Tin Council.
The Revolutionary Party that took power in Thailand in 1958 brought Dr. PUEY home to direct a new Budget Bureau and Fiscal Policy Office. In 1959, when a bank note printing scandal forced resignation of the incumbent, he was made concurrently Governor of the Bank of Thailand. Among the cautious yet continuing reforms he introduced were the Commercial Bank Act of 1962, low interest financing of raw material stocks for industry and creation of a central planning agency. Through this agency he initiated construction of highways to open inaccessible land for diversified farming, installation of an adequate drainage and sewerage system for Bangkok, and improvements in education to meet growing manpower needs. Over the past year he has also served as Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University.
Exemplary in the conduct of his personal affairs, Dr. PUEY, his wife and three sons live modestly on his salary as Governor of the Bank. He has avoided participation in tempting business ventures and gives earnings from his other posts to deserving people and social services. Repeatedly jeopardizing his career to abide by principle in defense of the public interest, he has become perhaps the most respected civil servant in Thailand.
In electing PUEY UNGPHAKORN to receive the 1965 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the Board of Trustees recognizes his dedication, unquestioned integrity and high order of professional skill brought to the management of Thailand's public finance.
|Back to top|
|Go to Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation Online|