PHUKET: Phuket Governor Pongpayome Vasaputi yesterday denied being too strict on work permits and new company registrations. He insisted that he was simply enforcing the law. “I haven’t been too strict or done anything extraordinary,” he told the Gazette. “All I’ve done is ensure that procedures are followed according to Thai law. “The problem before was that no one checked and no one followed the law. If someone applied to set up a company, the officers approved the application immediately and never checked if the company was bona fide or not,” he explained. Gov Pongpayome said that if foreign businessmen have problems and want more flexibility [in investing], then they should tell the government, which makes the laws. “I’m not against foreign business people, but they should do things by the book and not bypass the law, as has been done up to now,” he said. He also said that businessmen who follow the law and operate legally will have no problems, and that the only people who should be worried are those who have lied to government officers. “Which country in the world would approve a new company in only 10 minutes?” he asked. “I’d also like to know which country would approve a Thai setting up a new company in an hour.” The crackdown has definitely had an effect, said Veerachai Tantiwathanavallop, chief of the Phuket Commercial Registration Office. “Because of the difficulties in applying for a work permit or setting up a new company, we have seen a drop in foreign investment,” he noted.
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