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Phuket business: Indonesia – Asia’s new rising star

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket business: Indonesia – Asia’s new rising star | The Thaiger

PHUKET: For many of us expats in Phuket, our Asian paradise has sheltered many of us from the financial woes being experienced back home by family and friends.

Asian markets, though not totally immune to European debt levels and the impending push for White House power, have been fairly resilient over the last few years and have provided steady economic growth and a view that Asia is still the place to be if you are looking to expand a business or if you wish to put your feet up and relax upon retirement.

For the savvy investor a few well placed investments within the Asian markets, even in troubled times would have still meant significant upsides and portfolio growth. Can this last forever? Obviously nothing lasts forever, but while we can reap the rewards of a strong Asian market place and try and forget about the economic troubles of less fortunate geographical regions, as they say, “let’s make hay while the sun shines”.

We can look at places like Latin America and especially Brazil, and even though there has been an economic slow down, high interest rates and good investment opportunities mean that this is still an attractive proposition for investors.

Not to be out done, we don’t have to look too far over our shores to see we have our own emerging economic powerhouse in our midst. Casting a glance at our Indonesian counterparts, we get a glimpse at what is very fast becoming an investment draw.

We only have to take a look at what is happening in the economy. While the rest of Asia is slowing down, Indonesia’s economy has posted its fastest growth for 15 years. In 2011 GDP grew by 6.49%, the best year since before the Asian crisis. That compares favourably to slowing rates in big regional neighbors such as China and India.

Indonesia’s success is very much a home grown story, domestic consumption and investment has enabled it to grow faster than neighbors such as Singapore, whose economies are more dependent on global trade flows and therefore more vulnerable to slowing export demand. If we look at the stats, more than 60% of Indonesia’s £442bn economy is generated by domestic consumption and exports are worth around 25%. Only a fifth of these exports go directly to Europe or America making Indonesia less susceptible to the European crisis than many other Asian countries.

If we look at Indonesia’s population size, 240 million and predicted to reach 315 million by 2013. The population is younger than many of its neighbors and it is calculated that its working population won’t peak until 2040; China’s is predicted to peak this decade.

Indonesia’s young population is also largely debt free providing future scope for spending.

Indonesia is also rich in commodities. It is the World’s largest exporter of thermal coal and palm oil, it has tin, copper and gold and is also self sufficient in oil & gas. There is also a conscientious that it will grow by 6% next year. This presents fantastic investment opportunities, however you have to be careful. Like most exotic markets, its stock exchange suffers when investors lose their appetites for risk based investments, the rise of the Indonesian Rupiah is not certain too.

There are definitely more pluses than negatives when looking at the Indonesian market, but you would need to be able to stomach the risks involved with this.

For more information please contact Alyman@montpeliergroup.com.

Anthony Lyman is a Senior Financial Consultant for the Montpelier Group

— Anthony Lyman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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