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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid