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Business groups hail army move if there is no coup

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Business groups hail army move if there is no coup | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Foreign business groups hail army move if there is no coup
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Foreign chambers and business associations hope that the declaration of martial law will lead to an increase in security and safety, and eventually to a functioning government.

Darren Buckley, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, said the announcement of martial law would be a positive development only if it were to get the opposing sides in the prolonged political conflict to the negotiating table – and not lead to a coup d’etat.

“The military taking control of security is not necessarily a bad thing if it leads to a positive outcome, which is a functioning government at the end of it,” he said yesterday.

The announcement of martial law is not in itself an issue, but the consequences of the military’s move are what really matter, he said.

He reasoned that the sooner martial law could get both sides in the conflict to find a solution via negotiation, the sooner there could be an election and a functioning government, which would in turn lead to an improvement in the economy.

However, if martial law were to lead to a military coup, the economic situation could worsen, he warned.

Buckley added that the declaration of martial law would likely initially have an adverse impact on the tourism industry and the image of the country, since people’s first reaction would be some uncertainty over the differences among martial law, the Internal Security Act and a military coup.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy yesterday released a travel alert for Thailand and warned its citizens to avoid areas where there are protest events, large gatherings or security operations.

David Lyman, co-founder of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce Thailand and chairman and chief values officer at law firm Tilleke & Gibbins, said he was relieved to see someone in a leadership position finally step up and take charge of the situation.

He said he did not believe the military’s move was a coup, as the top brass had learned their lesson from past events.

“Somebody has to step up and say that enough is enough, since the important thing is to get the economy, businesses and the government running again – and fighting among each other will not get the country anywhere,” he said.

“I do not see a coup in the making, as the military [leaders] have learned their lesson that they are not good at civil administration; that they are not built for it. The declaration of martial law can be seen as a start that could lead to a functioning government again, but everyone will have to wait and see how events unfold.”

Ferdinand Gyula von der Luehe, former vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and current director of the Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped martial law could increase the level of safety in the capital.

“A positive sign is that there is no coup. I hope martial law can be effective, due to the recent escalation of violence as seen in the attacks on demonstrators and the amount of explosives that have been found but have not been used at some of the protest sites,” he said.

He also said that the number of inbound tourists would likely decrease in the short term, since the imposition of martial law would mean that foreign travellers would not be able to get travel insurance for visits to the Kingdom.

Govt clarification sought

Hugh Vanijprabha, executive director of the Thai-European Business Association, said clarification was needed from the caretaker government so that foreigners could understand the current situation in Thailand.

This would lessen the negative effect of the latest development on foreign business sentiment, he said.

“The government should make sure that foreigners understand what martial law is all about, as it could affect business sentiment if people do not have a complete understanding of what is going on in the country,” he said.

On the other hand, Hugh said he believed martial law would prevent any further escalation of violence and that once violence was off the table, the parties in the conflict would have no choice but to sit down and negotiate with each other.

Setsuo Iuchi, president of the Japan External Trade Organisation, Bangkok, said that in regard to the security situation, the enforcement of martial law should be positive for the country.

However, for the political situation as a whole, he could not tell yet if it would prove to be a positive or negative development.

“Following martial-law enforcement, I think Japanese investors, together with all other investors, hope to see the situation settled as soon as possible in a peaceful way, so that Thailand can develop again toward the future,” Iuchi said.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Thai private enterprises had a generally positive feeling that the military’s action would bring peace back to the country and prevent further violence.

However, martial law should be enforced for as short a period as possible because it would affect foreign investors’ confidence if implemented for too long, he warned.

He added that martial law offered an opportunity for every party to negotiate for an end to the political impasse, and to have the country’s interests at the forefront of their thinking.

“We [the private sector] hope for peace. Now, there should be a middleman to lead negotiations and end the conflict soon. Thailand should have an authorised government to run the country, but preferably a government formed under the democratic process,” Isara said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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Economy

TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign

Greeley Pulitzer

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TAT says ‘all go’ for tourism discount campaign | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thailand Shopping and Dining Paradise

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s governor says that the TAT will introduce two domestic tourism promotional measures – a 100 baht nationwide tourism campaign, and “shocking-price weekday” discounts.

The 100 baht campaign will offer some 40,000 products and services at only 100 baht each. Registration is required and will be open on November 11-12 and December 11-12, 2019, for up to 10,000 people each day on the the TAT website, starting at midnight each day.

The weekday discount campaign, valid Mondays to Thursdays will run from November 1 until December 3, offering up to 70% discounts on selected tourism products. The TAT will open an online store offering the same discounts. Eligible purchases made with the government’s wallet app will also receive a 15% VAT rebate.

The TAT says they are now ensuring the readiness of the system to accommodate registrations, after issues found during the previous ‘Chim Shop Chai’ campaign for Thais in a recent successful economic stimulus package from the government. In that campaign the government handed out 1000 baht gift to Thais with the stipulation it had to be spent in another province. 12 million Thais registered for the program.

The governor says he is confident these measures will provide an ongoing economic boost following the success of the Chim Shop Chai campaign, spiking revenue 10-20% during the campaign.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

The Thaiger

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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