Thailand

Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Restraint urged on Preah Vihear ruling; 10 hurt as train derails; Fundraiser for typhoon victims; Realty growth continues despite woes

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Govt urges restraint on Preah Vihear ruling
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government and military have held back on making definitive comments on the Preah Vihear case, waiting to see what transpires from a meeting with their Cambodian counterparts.

As villagers living along the border cheered and welcomed the restoration of peace after the International Court of Justice’s verdict, heavy discussion took place on Facebook. Some calculated the loss of land to Cambodia after the World Court’s verdict on the promontory of the Hindu temple. A few postings were about the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area, which will be jointly developed by Thailand and Cambodia.

The court on Monday ruled that the vicinity of the Preah Vihear Temple in accordance with the Annex I map was under the sovereignty of Cambodia. The territory in question does not correspond to the disputed 4.6 square kilometres, and its exact dimensions remain unclear.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Deputy Defence Minister General Yuthasak Sasiprapha pleaded that Thai citizens first think about Thai-Cambodian relations rather than the disadvantages inherent in the verdict, while urging politicians not to use this for political gain.

The Thai-Cambodian joint committee will convene as soon as possible, Yingluck said after the Cabinet meeting yesterday. Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul will hold talks with his Cambodian counterpart and when they are ready, the committee will meet. For now, soldiers are guarding their posts until the joint committee reaches an agreement.

PM Yingluck brushed aside the question of how long it would take to find out how much land Thailand would lose to Cambodia under the redefined promontory.

Regarding foreign media reports that Thailand had lost land to Cambodia, she said it was not a matter of win or lose, but this was a win-win ruling for both countries. “Two neighbours live together without a fight or violence. This should be what all want,” she said.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thailand had not lost its land, as the “small area” that the court ruled on was not yet specified. He said that while all were free to comment on the verdict, people should be careful, with the knowledge that one bad word could provoke a war.

“Soldiers are fully deployed to the South and disaster relief … We can’t afford another fight.”

Late on Monday, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong told reporters in The Hague: “We could say we both win the judgement. By asking the court to interpret the 1962 judgement, Cambodia has only one will – to settle the dispute with Thailand peacefully and to have Thailand stay as a good neighbour. We are close to each other, we cannot stay away,” he said.

Surapong and Yuthasak arrived in Bangkok from the Netherlands yesterday, while Virachai Plasai, Thai ambassador to The Hague, will return today. Led by PM Yingluck, all of them will testify before Parliament today and take questions from MPs and senators.

Saying the translation and interpretation of the verdict was under way, Surapong said it was important that all Thais had a single message, for the peace of both nations. He noted that this understanding would facilitate Thai-land’s stand at the joint committee meeting.

“These [efforts] are to allow both countries to move forward. We must preserve our relations with Cambodia, as our co-existence will be forever. People of both nations are happy with the verdict,” he said.

Professor Chaiwat Khamchoo of Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of political science urged that Thais to maintain unity and not drag the Preah Vihear issue into politics. He said the case went to the court again because it was politicised at home. The university on Friday will host a seminar on the ruling, with Ambassador Virachai as a speaker.

10 hurt as train derails in Udon Thani
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: A train with 50 passengers on board derailed in Udon Thani’s Muang district yesterday morning, injuring 10 passengers.

Three carriages of the Bangkok-Nong Khai train ran off the track in Moo Mon sub-district at 5.30am, with one carriage plunging into a ditch. The train departed Bangkok at 6.20pm Monday.

Among the injured, eight were passengers while two were railway employees. Udon Thani Train Station chief Sukhum Suwancharoen said the train reached Udon Thani at 5.10am, before derailing while heading towards Nong Khai.

While railway officials were investigating the scene to determine the cause of the derailment, the passengers were taken by bus to Nong Khai Station 50km away.

Fundraiser for Haiyan victims organised
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government will hold a special event Wednesday to raise funds for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, Government Spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said Tuesday.

The event will be broadcast via NBT and Radio Station of Thailand at 8.30pm. He encouraged all people to donate.

Phillipines was hit by the super typhoon last Friday. One of the strongest tropical storms on record, Haiyan tore through the centre of the archipelago killing an estimated 10,000 people in one city alone and destroying homes, roads and bridges.

Recent reports indicate that 9.8 million Filipinos have been affected.

Realty growth continues despite political woes
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The political conflict has not yet thrown a wet blanket on the real estate industry as residential demand is still sizzling, according to Pruksa Real Estate Plc.

“The property market continues to grow at 5 per cent in the last quarter of this year thanks to the high demand in the market in the first nine months,” Thongma Vijitpongpun, CEO of the leading residential developer, said yesterday.

However, if the political unrest tends to take a long time and affects the economy, that will have an impact on the market next year, he said.

“We have to take time to forecast and set our strategy for next year by monitoring the country’s political situation for whether it will be a short-term or long-term conflict. If long term that will impact our business estimates for next year. If not, we will maintain our growth. Right now we cannot say what our business plan will be next year,” he said.

However, the company is studying issuing debentures worth Bt6 billion-Bt7 billion next year to prepare for expansion, said Edward Cooper, chief financial and risk officer.

The company aims to maintain financial sustainability and control its cost of funds at not over 4 per cent. Its cost of funds is presently only 3.7 per cent – lower than other property firms in the market.

The company has revised its presales target for this year from Bt35.42 billion to Bt39 billion-Bt41 billion and its revenue target from Bt33.97 billion to Bt36 billion-Bt37 billion after realising presales of Bt36.92 billion in the first 10 months and revenue of Bt25.26 billion in the first nine months, which is up 35 per cent from the same period of last year.< — Phuket Gazette Editors

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