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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora