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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           8   August  2011

Administrative reform called for

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Reforming the whole administration should be the top priority for the new government, to polish the country's image and lift confidence among local and foreign enterprises, according to the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand.

"Thailand's competitiveness has slipped gradually each year due to it old-fashioned administration and delay in reformulating rules and regulations. The country needs to restructure in broader aspects. It should focus on facilitating business growth," JFCCT chairman Nandor von der Luehe said last week.

Education reform is also a must for the country to deepen people's knowledge and create a critical mindset in young generations in a bid to promote sustainable development of the country, he said.

Laws and regulations, paperwork, the tax structure and work permit issues should be reviewed urgently by the new government.

After gaining a majority in Parliament, Yingluck's government should focus on promoting the country's growth and coordinate its tasks and harmonise benefits for the public, he said.

The new ministers should be capable and transparent. Corruption is not acceptable anymore. Both government and private enterprises must say "no" to corruption and "yes" to competition, as it is an efficient way to develop businesses and promote economic growth with a level playing field, Von Der Luehe said.

The education system has only taught students to remember. Providing free tablets is not the right answer to improve students' efficiency. The government must think more before giving away tablets. Students need to learn functional knowledge and have a critical mindset to analyse on their own, he said.

The government must carefully consider whether to proceed with its promised policies, in particular the increase of the daily minimum wage to Bt300, as this policy seems to focus too much on the social and populist angles, while ignoring economic and business promotion, Von Der Luehe said.

Immediately implementing the Bt300 wage plan will push up the workers' pay as well as the prices of goods. The measure will create a burden for the public, as people will not end up benefiting from rising income because prices would move up in line with labour costs.

"The Bt300 wage hike is a very dangerous policy. It could make Thailand lose its competitiveness, while nobody will really benefit if the policy is implemented without careful consideration," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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