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January 26, 2009

Ousted Thai PM Thaksin criticises govt stimulus package

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra attacked the current government's economic stimulus plans on Sunday, saying they were just short-term fixes for long-term problems, reported Reuters.

"It's more or less like giving the people money to mow the lawn and the next day the grass still grows back," Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, said on a new anti-government cable television channel.

"The country will see more people out of job(s) this year due to global financial crisis," he said.

Moments earlier in a broadcast on state television, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he might consider borrowing money from foreign countries in the second half of 2009 if stimulus measures announced this month did not work.

"The government is speeding up ways to help low-income people by giving 2,000 baht ($57.40) to workers from state enterprises, government bodies, independent agencies and teachers," the Oxford-educated Abhisit said.

"Training seminars are also being organised and we hope to provide this to as many as 500,000 people who lost their jobs."

In his broadcast, Thaksin, now in exile after jumping bail to avoid a graft conviction, confessed to being lonely, but said he would never give up his fight against what he says is the injustice that has typified Thailand since the coup.

"Please don't think of sending someone to kill me out here because even if I die, this won't stop," he said. "I'll still have to fight for justice."

"What I want is justice for me, for my family, and for the people. If you want this to end, all I want is justice and starting over," he said.

Abhisit came to power last month when the ruling pro-Thaksin coalition was dissolved by the courts for vote fraud. Critics say he owes much of his rise to power on the army, courts and the palace, rather than the electorate.

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