News / Asia

Thai Army Rulers Prepare Emergency Economic Measures

A soldier stands guard outside a shopping mall to stop protests against military rule at a shopping district in central Bangkok, June 1, 2014.
A soldier stands guard outside a shopping mall to stop protests against military rule at a shopping district in central Bangkok, June 1, 2014.
Reuters
The military junta running Thailand has drawn up a list of emergency measures, such as price caps on fuel and loan guarantees for small firms, to kick-start an economy threatened by recession after months of political turmoil.
 
The plans, outlined by Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong late on Sunday after a meeting with officials at economic ministries, take in longer-term measures such as the development of special economic zones on the borders with Burma, Laos and Malaysia.
 
The military toppled the remnants of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's administration on May 22 after months of protests that had forced government ministries to close, hurt business confidence and caused the economy to shrink.
 
Error rendering storify.

The coup was the latest convulsion in a decade-long conflict that pits the Bangkok-based royalist establishment, dominated by the military, old-money families and the bureaucracy, against supporters of Yingluck's elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who is adored by the poor in the north and northeast.
 
Yingluck herself was ordered to step down two weeks before the coup when a court found her guilty of abuse of power.
 
Considered the power behind Yingluck's government, former telecommunications tycoon Thaksin was ousted as prime minister in a coup in 2006 and has lived in self-imposed exile since fleeing a 2008 conviction for abuse of power.
 
Air Chief Marshal Prajin, who is overseeing economic matters for the junta, said 30 urgent proposals on the economy would be discussed with coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 
Among them, Prajin mentioned a form of price insurance for rice farmers. This would replace a costly buying scheme run under Yingluck that collapsed when her caretaker government was unable to find funding, leaving hundreds of thousands of farmers unpaid for months.
 
The military rulers said they would also tackle the problem of loan sharks, made worse by the hardship suffered by farmers because of the rice fiasco, and are looking at low-cost home loans to be offered through the Government Housing Bank.
 
Prajin said he had told the Finance Ministry to look at a complete overhaul of the tax structure and report to him next week.
 
State enterprises
 
The Nation newspaper said state enterprises, including Thai Airways and the State Railway of Thailand, would put forward investment plans to Prajin on Monday. These would also be discussed with Prayuth this week.
 
TMB Bank said the economy should pick up under the new government and it expected its loan book to grow 10 percent this year, rather than 6 to 8 percent. It used to be known as Thai Military Bank and the armed forces retain a small stake, with Prayuth sitting on its board.
 
Moody's Investors Service affirmed Thailand's Baa1 credit rating on Monday with a stable outlook, based on the country's manageable debt profile, its fiscal controls, the strength of economic bodies such as the Bank of Thailand and a likely current account surplus this year.
 
In a commentary on May 26, it had expressed concern about the repeated political disruption in Thailand, saying it had held back economic development over the longer term.
 
Prayuth, in a televised address on Friday, said the military would need time to reconcile Thailand's antagonistic political forces and push through reforms, indicating there would be no general election for about 15 months.
 
The United States, European Union countries and others have called for the military to restore democracy quickly, release political detainees and end censorship.
 
As well as working to revive the economy, the military council has moved to suppress criticism of the coup and nip protests in the bud.
 
Yingluck, as well as prominent supporters of the Shinawatras, have been briefly detained and warned against any anti-military activities.
 
On Sunday, the army council sent 5,700 troops and police into central Bangkok to stop anti-coup protests, which were mostly limited to small gatherings held around shopping malls.
 
The military has banned political gatherings of five or more people and protests that have taken place in Bangkok since the May 22 putsch have been small and brief.
 
On Saturday, as on the two previous days, the authorities closed normally busy roads around Victory Monument, which was becoming a focal point for opposition to the coup. The area was flooded with police and troops but no protesters turned up.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid