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Prayut gets high marks in survey on confidence

Posted by pakin On August - 29 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

MORE than 70 per cent of people surveyed in a new Suan Dusit Poll across the country have confidence in Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Over three quarters of respondents were pleased with the government’s tackling of graft over the past two years, the highest figure, while the economy and bread-and-butter issues remain the areas people most want improved.

The opinion poll was conducted on 1,293 people from Monday till Saturday.

It found that 26 per cent and 46 per cent of those surveyed were very confident or fairly confident in PMPrayut respectively. They said that the PM had accomplished many things in the past two years and was capable of dealing with immediate problems, besides being a good, hard-working, and sincere person.

Some 19 per cent and 8 per cent said they were not very confident and not confident at all in the PM respectively because they thought he had a problem controlling himself and he came to power through a coup, which made scrutiny of his government impossible.

The survey also revealed the five most satisfying works undertaken by the Prayut administration.

More than 75 per cent said they were impressed with the corruption fighting both in the private and public sector.

Some 71 per cent were satisfied with the forest reclamation measures, as well as actions taken against people who had encroached on preserved forests.

Peacekeeping, social order, and drug crackdowns came third with 70.6 per cent of the respondents voicing satisfaction with those measures.

A survey showed that 65.5 per cent of respondents in Thailand were satisfied with government efforts to tackle human trafficking after the country was raiseed from Tier 3 to Tier 2 in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report.

The fifth most satisfying measure was the reduction in petrol and energy prices (63.4 per cent).

As for what needs improvement the most, 82.6 per cent said the economy and 78.6 said bread-and-butter, cost of living, and quality of life issues.

The deep South conflict was third on the list with 73 per cent saying the government should speed up its work to deal with the issue. The constitution and the writing of organic laws and law changes came fourth (67 per cent).

The fifth issue deemed in need of most improvement was the agricultural sector, including the fall in prices for agricultural products.

As for the government’s overall performance, two thirds – 66 per cent – said they were confident in the regime, reasoning that it had been decisive and able to tackle problems quickly and followed the roadmap, as planned.

In another survey by Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Business Administration conducted on 4,000 respondents, PM Prayut earned a score of 8.63 points out of 10 for helping people ease bread-and-butter problems over the past two years.

Trade and investment, security, political conflict, and corruption were named as areas that people want the government to tackle the most.

PM visits Roi Et ‘as a servant, not a boss’

Posted by pakin On August - 25 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday visited the Northeastern province of Roi Et amid speculation his trip was an effort to gain favour in a region that had overwhelmingly rejected the charter draft in the August 7 referendum.

Though Prayut said he planned to visit all provinces regardless of how they had voted in the referendum, he publicly expressed his empathy for the province and the region known as Isaan, and tried to convince them that he had done his best as premier.

“I give importance to Roi Et and the Isaan region the most, no matter whether [Isaan voters] accepted or rejected [the charter draft] referendum,” said Prayut.

“I wholeheartedly trust that the people of Roi Et actually gave me support despite the results. I am never angry about that, and my visit today is as your servant, not a boss, as I’m a military officer serving the people and the country.

“I have not come to make you love me but to bring love to you. We have to work with together for a little while and I want you to have hopes and see the future.”

Prayut urged them to embrace the referendum as a starting point for democracy. He asked them not to be concerned about who would become the next prime minister, and said they should consider the performance of candidates rather than listen to what other people said.

“I wonder whether he or she would perform as much as I do,” he said.

Roi Et saw the region’s second highest percentage of “No” votes against the charter, and the highest against the additional question, 64 and 67.8 per cent respectively. Political observers believe the province’s referendum results were Prayut‘s motivation to visit the province.

During his one-day trip, Prayut presided over a meeting held at Roi Et Rajaphat University to follow up on the implementation of the policies involving local government agencies.

“Don’t be worried that I will cling to power. I have exercised my power to steer the nation forward, never for a second did I deploy it to garner popularity. Though [Roi Et people] don’t like me, I have already allocated more than a billion [baht] of the budget to projects proposed by the province.

“Please tell those who have not come here today that I have never hated them. But, it is because they don’t understand [the premier] and receive distorted information,” he said.

Before the meeting, he told university lecturers and students that true democracy is about co-existence of different opinions without using “guns” and violence. He also asked students to understand that he could not release those student activists, the junta dissenters who were charged and detained following the violation of laws and regulations.

Prayut also urged them to look forward and not get involved in conflicts. “Please be picky and choose what to listen to. Do not listen too much to matters of conflict and nonsense stuff.”

Prayut asked the people to believe and listen to him while the country is dealing with conflicts and said he is the one to steadily push the country forward.

The government delegation on the trip included Deputy PM General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda and Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikalya.

At the meeting, Prayut also gave the green light to an economic plan for the area and urged local agencies to start implementing projects related to government policies within the 2017 fiscal year.

According to provincial governor Anusorn Kaewkangwan, the plan focuses on producing value-added jasmine rice grown in Thung Kula Rong Hai, promoting the province’s tourism, and developing Roi Et to be the transportation and investment centre in the central Isaan region.

Democrat Party politician Phumsan Seniwong na Ayutthaya said he appreciated Prayut‘s visit and said the area is still struggling with poverty and has the country’s widest gap between the well-off and the poor.

But Pheu Thai Party key figure Surapong Towichakchaikul decried the trip. He said Prayut should stay in the area overnight to see the real problems in the area. Prayut flew back to Bangkok in the evening.

Political uncertainty in Cambodia has forced the garment and footwear industry to look to alternative countries to meet production needs, forcing more than 70 factories to close and a sharp drop in orders, a senior official from the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said.

Speaking at a press conference before the 6th Cambodia International Textile and Garment Industry Exhibition and Machinery Industry Fair in Phnom Penh on Monday, Ly Tek Heng, the GMAC operations manager, painted a worrying picture of the first eight months of the year, the Khmer Times reported on Tuesday.

“I think the political situation has affected business, both businessmen and investors. When one country has instability in politics, it is difficult to make investments and there are concerns, especially from buyers,” he said.

“The political issues, illegal demonstrations and competition from the other garment and footwear exporting countries such Vietnam, Bangladesh and Myanmar has deterred investors from investing in Cambodia and has made buyers reluctant to order products from Cambodia.”

He said that in the first eight months of this year, more than 70 factories had been shuttered, while only 20 new ones had opened. This came as orders from buyers for footwear and clothing made in Cambodia dropped by almost 30%, forcing not only closures, but the slashing of hours for workers.

The decline in orders has had a knock-on effect within the industry, leading to a decline in orders for machinery used to make clothing and footwear, warned Akai Lin from Chan Chao International, which organised the fair.

“For the last few years, the demand for machinery in manufacturing has been great, but now it is decreasing slightly due to factory closures, leading some buyers to wait for the political situation to improve before making orders,” he warned.

Commerce Ministry spokesperson Soeng Sophary on Monday downplayed the news, telling the Khmer Times that the closure of factories did not mean the industry was under threat. She blamed global insecurity for the closures, citing the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, the recent referendum in the United Kingdom where just over half the population voted to leave the European Union, as well as the high price of electricity.

“Cambodia is a small country which depends on garment exports, and as such is affected by outside issues as our export market focuses on the UK and US. The factory closures are maybe due to changing demand in the EU and US. The economic waves in foreign countries have an impact on Cambodia,” Sophary said.

“However, it is not only the impact from outside the country, but also domestically, since investors are looking for profit with low operational costs. So if the operational costs in other countries are lower than Cambodia, they could turn to those countries. We have an issue on electricity and labor costs that we be must be alert to,” she said.

She stressed that it was too early to judge whether the industry was in trouble, as the 70 closed factories need to be compared with the 20 which have opened, which may be bigger or more important.

In contrast to GMAC’s figure of a 30% drop in buyer’s orders suggesting trouble in the garment sector, recent figures released by the ministry paint a far healthier picture. The ministry stated that total garment and footwear exports in the first quarter of this year have increased by 39% to $2 billion.

The EU was the largest market, taking $717.8 million in goods, followed by the US at $419.2 million and $41.7 million to Canada.

In 2015, total exports in the sector were $6.3 billion, a 7.6% growth over 2014, with 699 factories ‒ from 73 in 2014.

THE RESULTS of an E-Saan Poll released yesterday spelled out the reasons why Northeastern, or Isaan, people voted for or against the draft charter in this month’s referendum.

The poll, conducted by Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Economics, surveyed about 1,100 Isaan people in 20 provinces between August 13 |and 16.

Those who voted in support had eight reasons offered.

About 93 per cent said they wished to see a return to peace; 89 per cent wished to see an election held as soon as possible; 85 per cent wanted to see a more effective check and balance system against corrupt politicians; 75 per cent feared the worst from the draft; 71 per cent said they were satisfied with the overall charter content; 61 per cent said they trusted in the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to get the country through a transition; 58 per cent said they voted because politicians had declared their stances against the charter, while 54 per cent said they wished to see Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha continue his premiership.

Most want a ‘true people’s charter’

Among those voting against the charter, 94 per cent said they wished to see a true people’s charter; 87 per cent said they wanted to see a standard referendum process; 84 per cent feared the NCPO would prolong its tenure if the charter was passed; 81 per cent were not happy with the proposal concerning the appointed senators, and a similar figure showed people were not confident in the NCPO; 76 per cent said they were not happy with the overall content of the charter draft and 58 per cent said they followed their favourite politicians.

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