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24 December 2009

Thai PM highlights one-year-old government's achievements

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Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday focused on his government’s achievements on revive Thailand’s faltering economy and improve the people’s quality of life in his statement to report on the government’s one-year of performance on Tuesday, reported national news agency TNA.

In a 50-minute briefing at Government House entitled "12 Months of Administration, Happiness for Over 60 Million Thais", the prime minister hailed as a major success his Democrat-led coalition government's implementation of the country's economic stimulus package in the first phase which helped the country weathering the global financial slump.

"The government took office when the economic figures in the fourth quarter [of 2008] contracted by 4.2 percent. However, the implementation of 'Strong Thailand' scheme successfully reduces the number of the unemployed from 700,000 to 400,000," he said.

The premier also said he was confident that Thailand's economy will turn positive in the last quarter of this year as export growth in November rose by 17 per cent and the number of tourist arrivals has reached its target of 14 million.

"In tackling the country's current economic woes, the government has transformed Thailand from a populist state to a social-welfare state through comprehensive measures such as [the 15 years of] free schooling, subsidies for low-income earners, allowances for the elderly and particularly the price-guaranteed programme for agricultural produces which benefit the majority of the population."

Regarding the continuing insurgency in the three southern border provinces, the prime minister said insurgent attacks have dropped slightly in the past year due to the continuous work of security agencies.

However, he said the government worked in terms of policies and set up a special cabinet to oversee the issue and pushed for development of the southern border areas as a special economic zone to improve the quality of life of local residents.

"Even the figures show insurgent attacks slightly decreased", Abhisit said, "the government is not satisfied with the results of tackling the problem."

In implementing the country's foreign policy, Abhisit said his government has further strengthened bilateral relations with neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Laos.

Concerning the troubled Thai-Cambodian relations, he said the relations between the two countries was normal in the first eight-nine months of his administration but turned sour after Cambodia appointed ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser and [not only] refused to extradite him but criticised the Thai judicial system.

He however said the Thai government will maintain good relations between the peoples of the two countries and will continue its efforts to find a solution to the problem in a way which will not cause any adverse effect on people of the two countries.

Regarding the future plan of the government, the prime minister said that in 2010 the government will further inject 200 billion baht (1$=33 baht) to boost the economy.

Regarding the year-long political conflict which has caused a deep rift in Thai society, Abhisit conceded even though his government has done much things to make the country move on during its one year administration, but some people may still feel that it is not enough, so does he.

The premier however urged Thais to support his government to work for the country's unity and progress.


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