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PM warns govt against raising debt

Posted by arnon_k On August - 4 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has warned the Pheu Thai-led government about the perils of inflation if it borrows hundreds of billions of baht to finance its policies.

Mr Abhisit, who gives a farewell televised speech to the nation tonight, yesterday urged his successor to move carefully in taking out loans as the country does not need a huge amount of money right now to stimulate its economy.

Thailand needs to be cautious about potential global economic and domestic inflation, he said.

“Pheu Thai is not talking about an economic stimulus policy, but a capital increase [for people’s pockets] policy. This will put the people at risk of expensive goods and inflation,” Mr Abhisit said.

“The world is already concerned about inflation.”

Mr Abhisit was responding to media reports citing Pheu Thai’s economic team which said the new government needed a total of 1.85 trillion baht to mount 13 major policies which the party promised to voters during its campaign.

The party reportedly plans to borrow 635 billion baht from domestic sources and 199 billion baht from overseas.

About 742 billion baht will come from the state coffers and 277 billion baht from joint investments with the private sector.

Mr Abhisit said the government has to consider whether it is worth pouring money into some of its projects. The controversial idea of land reclamation in the sea off Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon to fight coastal erosion had raised many questions, he said.

Mr Abhisit will give his last address to the public as premier at 8.30pm tonight via the TV Pool.

He will talk about potential problems, especially the higher cost of living, that the Pheu Thai-led government is likely to encounter.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s likely first woman prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra sent her best wishes to Mr Abhisit, who yesterday celebrated his 47th birthday.

Calling herself a “freshy” in politics, Ms Yingluck said she hoped to work with Mr Abhisit constructively.

Abhisit’s farewell on TV Thurs night

Posted by arnon_k On August - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will make a farewell address to the nation in a special programme on all TV channels on Friday night, PM’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said on Wednesday.

Mr Sathit said Mr Abhisit’s address had already been taped and would be aired at 8.30pm.

Apart from bidding farewell, Mr Abhisit would report on the economic, financial, social and security situation. The address lasts about 10 minutes.

A booklet containing suggestions for important tasks facing the incoming Yingluck Shinawatra government would also be published, he said.

PM: 2nd plane can’t be impounded

Posted by arnon_k On July - 25 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

A reported comment by a German insolvency administrator that he was considering impounding a second jet used by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is totally out of line, outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday.

The German tabloid Bild am Sonntag reported that the Crown Prince had the second plane flown over to Munich to replace the first one after it was impounded by the court on July 12.

Mr Abhisit said there were no grounds to impound the second aircraft.

He said the government and Attorney General Chulasingh Vasantasing will meet this week to discuss the case involving the impounded Being 737.

“The attorney general has new information to present in the legal action against the German firm [Walter Bau],” the premier said.

Attorney General Chulasingh had already explained that the second jet is the Crown Prince’s personal property and nothing to do with the government.

Mr Chulasingh said the Crown Prince had recommended that the government not deposit the bank surety required for the release of his impounded aircraft.

The parties in the case in court are the Thai government and Walter Bau. It relates to the Don Muang tollway.

The Office of the Attorney General is preparing an appeal against the German court’s ruling that the impounded Boeing 737 belonging to the Crown Prince could be released only upon the deposit of a 20 million euros (846 million baht) bank guarantee.

The seizure was based on a decision in 2009 by the UN Commission on International Trade Law for Thailand to pay Walter Bau more than US$30 million for breaching a bilateral investment treaty between Germany and Thailand.

In March last year, a New York court ruled in favour of Walter Bau, deciding that Thailand had to pay the debt.

The dispute has not been finalised and Thailand is in the process of appealing the ruling.

Democrats deny party executive poll rift

Posted by arnon_k On July - 17 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Outgoing Prime Minister and acting Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday dismissed rumours of an internal rift in the party relating to the election of the new executive board but conceded that there is fierce competition for key positions.

“The Democrats know that the race for the executive posts is normal practice and this should not be called a conflict,” Mr Abhisit said, adding that party executives would be elected through a democratic process.

His comment came as the election for the party’s new secretary-general to replace Suthep Thaugsuban heats up.

Democrat advisory council member Pichet Phanvichartkul on Friday said the party’s executive board should be a combination of senior and younger politicians in the party.

He also said the board should be acceptable for voters in the South, which is a party stronghold.

He added that most Democrat members viewed that party-list MP elect Kalaya Sophonpanich best suited the secretary-general post. She has also gained recognition from southern voters.

“She should be a good fit for the post because the new prime minister will be a woman as well,” said Mr Pichet.

Khunying Kalaya said yesterday Mr Pichet’s suggestion was merely his own opinion.

Khunying Kalaya said the new Democrat leader is supposed to nominate the new secretary-general first.

Party members could then review whether the nominee is qualified for the post.

“Personally, I’m ready to work for the party even though I do not hold any position,” she said.

Theptai Senpong, former deputy secretary-general of the Democrat Party, yesterday said the secretary-general does not need to be a politician from the South.

Mr Theptai wrote on his Twitter page that southern voters paid more attention to the management system of the party than individual politicians.

It had been reported earlier that the Democrat Party would hold the election of the new executive board on Aug 6, but Mr Abhisit yesterday said the date had not yet been set.

Mr Abhisit said there is no need for the party to come up with the executive board before the House session begins early next month as the outgoing board members will still be in charge until the new board is elected.

“Our top priority is to have all MPs endorsed by the Election Commission,” he said.

He was confident that the party’s MPs would be able to perform well during the debate on the new government’s policies, which is expected to take place at the end of next month.

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