Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Thaksin believes protest will fizzle out; Industry gives warning; Mother-in-law admits contract killing [VIDEO]; Govt, Cambodia to work together

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

Thaksin opposes House dissolution and Yingluck’s resignation
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Despite the mounting pressure against his sister’s embattled government, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday instructed the ruling Pheu Thai Party to cling on to power in the hope the opposition-led rally against the amnesty bill would die down soon, a Pheu Thai source said yesterday.

Thaksin, who is believed to be pulling strings behind the ruling party, disagreed with an idea for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House of Representatives, according to the source.

He believed the anti-amnesty protest, now centring around the Democracy Monument, would fizzle soon after “the funds run out” and the Senate rejects the government-backed amnesty bill. He wanted Pheu Thai MPs to help retain the government’s status quo, the source said.

Ruling politicians presented a number of possible solutions to Thaksin, including House dissolution and the PM’s resignation, but the ex-leader disagreed with those proposals, according to the source.

In a bid to further pressure the government, nine MPs from the opposition Democrat Party yesterday announced their plans to resign, at the protest site at the Democracy Monument.

Suthep Thaugsuban and eight other Democrat MPs would resign their seats to be able to turn their full attention to leading the protest against the government, a party source said. Among the MPs who would resign are Thavorn Senneam, Satit Wongnongtaey, Witthaya Kaewparadai, Issara Somchai, and Chumpol Jullasai.

The party source said Suthep decided during a party discussion yesterday to resign so he could lead the protest without worrying that his role would lead to legal action against the party and to its dissolution.

Initially, the party had resolved to allow Democrat MPs to resign of their own volition. However, with the party worried about the by-elections coming up in 45 days, it decided only a few could resign. Many more Democrat MPs would resign if the government remains adamant, the Democrat source said.

Stocks take a hit

The political situation negatively affected the stocks and the baht yesterday.

The baht fell to a 7-week low at 31.62 per US dollar, weakening by 0.70 from Friday’s closing. The SET index closed at 1,405.91 points.

Traffic congestion in many areas of Bangkok worsened yesterday as anti-amnesty protesters gathered at four locations in inner city areas – Silom, Asoke, Ari and Saphan Kwai – before marching to Democracy Monument, where the main protest site was located.

Many business firms cancelled events scheduled for yesterday and later this week, citing severe traffic congestion in the city and the political situation. They included Charoen Pokphand Foods, Kasikorn Bank, and Seacon Group.

The Government Housing Bank announced the closure of its two branches near Ratchadamnoen Road from yesterday until tomorrow.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce planned an urgent press conference today about its concern over possible negative impacts on the country’s economy from the ongoing political situation.

Meanwhile, the Council of University Presidents of Thailand yesterday offered to mediate in the conflict between the government and its opponents.

The council of rectors held a meeting at Chulalongkorn University and came up with a resolution to offer to mediate the conflicts between the two sides. The meeting was attended by the rectors of 26 universities. The council has 27 member universities.

Thammasat University rector Prof Somkid Lertpaitoon, who serves as the council’s president, said the current political landscape was changing very fast and could lead to violence.

End conflict or economy may suffer, bosses warn
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The government should end the political conflict as soon as possible as it has affected economic stability, according to some top executives in the private sector.

Dr Boon Vanasin, chairman of the Thonburi Hospital Group, said the government should use its majority in the House of Representatives to kill the controversial blanket amnesty bill permanently instead of allowing the bill to expire in the next 180 days.

Moreover, the government should quickly proceed with major investment programmes, such as the Bt350-billion water-management project and the Bt2-trillion infrastructure project, to push this year’s growth in gross domestic product to about 4-5 per cent to restore investors’ confidence.

Boonyong Tansakul, managing director of Singer Thailand, said Parliament should be dissolved to bring temporary relief to the current political conflicts and tension, as the situation is not conducive to negotiation between the opposing sides. Members of the National Reconciliation Committee have resigned one by one, the Senate failed to achieve a minimum quorum to vote on the amnesty bill last Friday, and the public’s confidence in the government has dropped.

The current conflict has forced all parties involved to focus on the problem at hand at the expense of paving the way towards prosperity and economic growth for the country via the Bt2-trillion mega-projects, he said.

Likit Fahpyochon, former president of the Thai Retailers Association, believes the prolonged political rallies have a psychological impact on consumer spending, especially the middle-income group with considerable purchasing power, many of whom have joined protest rallies in Bangkok and major provincial cities and tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket and Samui.

Anake Srishevachart, vice chairman of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, fears that if there are violent clashes between opposing groups, this will make foreign tourists worry about their safety. Several countries have issued travel-advisory warnings.

Dr Kesara Thanyalakpak, executive director of Sena Development, said the current political conflicts and protests had affected sales, consumer spending and the stock market, and might cause foreign-capital outflows as fund managers become concerned over the potential risks if the conflict is prolonged.

The Bt2-trillion mega-projects could be shelved if the current government has to step down, Kesara warned.

Mother-in-law admits she ordered killing
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Slain Olympic sharpshooter Jakkrit Panichpatikum’s mother-in-law has confessed to taking out a contract on his life.

“I needed to do it because he abused my daughter throughout the past six years,” Surang Duangjinda said yesterday.

She said her daughter, Dr Nithiwadee Phucharoenyos, was not aware of the murder plot. Police have charged both Surang and Nithiwadee with taking out the contract on Jakkrit’s life, however.

Both are now trying to secure bail – a move that is not opposed by the police.

Motherly love

“I did it because I love my daughter,” Sur

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Thailand News
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