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December 19, 2008

New Thai govt to present policy on Dec 29-30

Thailand's newly-appointed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday his coalition government, currently being formed and now nearly complete, intends to present its policy statement as required by law to Parliament between December 29-30 and it is ready to host the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit around late January 2009, reported Thai News Agency.

The state news agency quoted Abhisit, royally-appointed prime minister on Wednesday, as telling senior members of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) during a meeting that he also wanted to hold his first cabinet meeting on December 23 and that ministers would be asked to consider and possibly revise the government 's policy statement before it is presented to Parliament, if possible, between December 29-30.

If two days of debate on the government's policy are not enough, it could be extended, he said.

Agreements which are to be inked during the Asean summit will be considered by the Cabinet and members of parliament before the current extraordinary session of the House closes, said Abhisit.

Reiterating that Thailand is prepared to play host for the Asean summit in late January, Mr. Abhisit said he would ask whether the rest of the regional association's members would be prepared to meet at that time.

The Asean summit was first scheduled to be held in Thailand in December but was postponed to March by the outgoing government of Somchai Wongsawat due to political discord in Thailand.

The venue was also changed from Bangkok to the northern city of Chiang Mai. It now looks likely that the venue of the summit would return to Bangkok.

Regarding an FTI  request urging the new government to look into the wide spread between bank rates on deposit and lending, Mr. Abhisit said he would find out whether it resulted from existing regulations and, if it is, he would be prepared to amend them.

He also pledged to find ways to boost liquidity in the business system, saying that while there is liquidity, but it lies within financial institutions at the moment.

On measures to stimulate economy, Abhisit said his government will also focus on government budget allocated to other programmes besides the additional budget due to be released in March.

The programmes include the government-mortgage on rice and corn whose prices have declined sharply in recent months.

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