IDEAS

    Thai prime minister says downturn could be worse than 1997

    Bangkok – Thais must be resilient going into what could be a very rough 2009, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Friday.

    Workers should not engage in disruptive protests against their employers which 'unwittingly exacerbate economic woes by undermining business confidence,' he said after a meeting with Democrat Party chief advisor, former prime minister Chuan Leekpai.

    This warning comes after a spate of protests by workers who, in some cases, have blocked main roads after factory owners resisted pay and bonus demands. Farmers' groups have also protested against falling commodity prices. Abhisit said 'orderly and peaceful' protests were legitimate ways of calling attention to grievances.

    The government will early next week unveil a package of spending measures to support the rapidly slowing economy. Abhisit said the economic numbers for next year appeared even more alarming than in 1997 during the Asian economic crisis, Thailand's Nation newspaper reported.

    Thailand's economy is widely expected to slow to a virtual standstill next year, if not actually shrink. Although the 1997 currency crash bankrupted a swath of Thai businesses, the global market remained quite robust.

    This time two central props of the Thai economy – exports and tourism – are wobbling alarmingly. Exports fell for the first time in six years in November by 18.6 per cent and tourist arrivals in December may be down to a third of the number predicted.

    Abhisit said the government's priority would be saving jobs and easing the plight of the unemployed. The spending boost of 300 billion baht (8.7 billion dollars), or 3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), could kick in as early as March, he added.

    Tourism minister Chumpol Silpa-Archa said on Thursday the government plans a 15.6-billion-baht package of measures to revive the tourist industry, which has been hard hit by the week-long closure of Bangkok's two airports by activists at the end of November.

    If the idea that Thailand's economic problems are partly self-inflicted gains currency, this may hurt Abhisit's awkward political position, say political analysts.

    His Democrat Party was able to form a five-party coalition only after months of protests by anti-Thaksin militants and Bangkok elites, ending with a court's decision to dissolve Thaksin's party for electoral fraud.

    Many voters in rural areas are thought to be bitter over the political demolition of the former telecoms tycoon whose populist handouts and dynamic personality won many converts.

    Thailand has not had a fully functioning government since the September 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin. The last short-lived government was forced to hold cabinet meetings in obscure locations to avoid protestors.

    MikiMo
    I have spent the past 15 years in the travel industry. Today focused on promoting different ways of traveling, I'm in the process of creating few travel websites, which will be launched shortly. I have a great passion for travel and the travel industry. My goal here atTtripOutlook is to connect to other proffessionals in the travel industry and to exchange experience.

    Related Stories

    Discover

    6 Mountain Biking Tips Every Beginner Should Know

    Mountain biking is a thrilling sport and can give you an adrenaline rush, but...

    Saudi Arabia travel tips for first time visitors

    If this is your first trip to Saudi Arabia, you have some good reasons...

    Information About Boat Storage and RV Storage in Campbell...

    Cool sea breeze, water sports and activities, camping, and island hopping are only some...

    A Beginner’s Guide to the Disney Vacation Club

    Are you an avid fan of Walt Disney characters? Are you looking to take...

    How to Travel Safely in 2021

    The global travel industry was on a roller coaster in 2020. Even as COVID-19...

    10 Most Affordable Cities to Live and Work in...

    Are you thinking about moving to another country? Who wouldn’t want to pack the...

    Popular Categories

    Comments