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AseanAffairs Magazine July - August 2010
CONTENT • BEYOND ASEAN 
• ASEAN BAZAAR • ASEAN TALK
ASEAN AVIATION • INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN MONEY • OPINION
• ASEAN TRAVELLER • INDIA IN SPOTLIGHT

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THAILAND IS RECONCILING?

In a weekly televised appearance, Prime Minister Abihist Vejajiva said that his reconciliation and reform panels should show some tangible results between now and the end of the year but he also showed some concern about groups trying to stir up trouble in the country.

One tool in the reconciliation effort is the expansion of social programmes and the Thai Finance Ministry is looking for ways to finance them. The latest word from the department is that income tax rates may be cut but the Value Added Tax (sales tax, VAT) might be increased to 10 percent. Other Asean countries that have a 10 percent VAT are Indonesia and Vietnam, while Singapore has a 7 percent VAT.

Meanwhile, both the Thai and foreign business communities voiced their concern about the current state of affairs in Thailand. The head of the Federation of Thai Industries said that the continued state of emergency decree had harmed foreign investor confidence, even though it had been partially eased.

The Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce said the reconciliation and reforms the government is promoting, should also include reforms of the financial and telecom sectors.

The chamber urged full speed ahead on the auction of 3G mobile broadband licenses and reform of the Foreign Business Act to catch up with its neighboring Asean competitors. The difficulty both Thai and foreign businessmen have in obtaining bank financing was also stressed by the joint chamber, as preference was given to larger firms.....


BRUNEI GOES GREEN


With a land area of only around 5,800 square kilometers and a population of only 400,000 Asean member, Brunei, however, has been assuming a big role in going green.

Formally, the country is called Brunei Darussalam and the same family has ruled Brunei for more than six centuries. The country derives its income from its oil and gas reserves but is hoping to expand its economy beyond those natural resources.

Among the recent steps taken by the sultanate are: signing a deal with a Singapore- based carbon conservation company to transform the Sultanate into a green and low-carbon economy, exploring the possibility of exploring alternative energy and conducting a feasibility study, funded by the Spanish government, on turning waste into energy through incineration.....


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