Skip to main content

Some Respite For Thailand

AP: Thailand's opposition Democrat Party said Saturday it has gathered enough support to form a new government, raising hopes that the country can emerge from a paralyzing six-month political crisis.

Democrat Party Secretary-General Suthep Thaugsuban gathered with other Thai members of Parliament for a meeting Dec. 6 in Bangkok.

Party Secretary-General Suthep Thaugsuban announced that his party has the backing of 260 lawmakers in Parliament's 400-seat lower house, giving it a majority and allowing it to form a government.

But given the chaos of recent months and deep political and social rifts, the apparent Democrat triumph will not be assured until Parliament meets within the next 30 days to vote on whether to endorse party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the new prime minister.

An activist group, the People's Alliance for Democracy, has spearheaded mass demonstrations against several recent governments led by exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies which culminated in a weeklong siege of the capital's two airports.

The Democrat Party remained on the sidelines of the protests, but sided with the alliance.

The sudden rise of the opposition party came amid anxiety over the illness of 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, regarded as a cornerstone of stability, and fears that a new prime minister close to Mr. Thaksin could again ignite mass protests.

Mr. Thaksin, a former telecommunications billionaire who was ousted by a 2006 military coup for alleged pervasive corruption and abuse of power, remains at the center of the country's instability.

Politicians who switched from the pro-Thaksin camp to the Democrats said they did so because the outgoing government was clearly unable to run the country.

"All parties agreed that this is the best way for tackling the national crisis. We have selected the best choice for Thailand," said Ranongrak Suwanchawee from the Phrua Phendin party, one of four in the former ruling coalition to join the opposition.

Thailand Seeks a Way Out

As political unrest has grown in recent months, Thailand's economy has suffered.

Mr. Abhisit, 44, born and educated in England, is an articulate, sophisticated politician but critics say he is out of touch with ordinary people, particularly the rural majority, and lacks charisma. His party's supporters include Bangkok's middle class, influential military figures and foreign investors who see him as a stabilizing force.

Friday's official reopening of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international airport, still partially crippled after the siege by anti-government protesters, had raised hopes Thailand was emerging from the chaos of the past months. However, many Thais were also following with trepidation the health of the revered monarch. The palace announced Friday night that the king was suffering from an inflamed throat and fever after he failed to give his annual birthday address.

The siege of the capital's two airports by the protest alliance trapped more than 300,000 travelers and dealt a heavy blow to the country's tourism-dependent economy. Suvarnabhumi was operating at only about 50% capacity Friday. An airport public relations official said operations were stepped up Saturday, but it could be at least a month before all flights were back to normal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

A number of members of ousted Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat's People Power Party have regrouped in a new party, Pheua Thai, which called an emergency meeting Saturday evening when it learned that some of its members were switching to the Democrat camp, The Nation newspaper said on its Web site. It quoted a former People Power Party member as saying 37 of the party's lawmakers would support the Democrat Party in its effort to lead a coalition.

Thaksin and his ex-wife, a highly influential figure during his years in power, are hated by many of the country's elite, who charge that they were trying to usurp royal authority. Their November divorce is widely regarded as a ploy to reduce their individual legal liabilities and preserve the family fortune.

But Mr. Thaksin is still popular among the rural masses, reflecting the deep divide between the urban elite and the country's poor.

Friday night's celebrations of King Bhumibol's birthday -- marked by fireworks and crowds of people holding candles -- were dampened by the news of his illness. The king's traditional birthday remarks had been eagerly anticipated this year because of sharpening social and regional divisions fostered by the militant campaign to purge the country of Mr. Thaksin's influence.

The monarch has historically been the country's sole unifying figure in times of crisis. The protesters have repeatedly claimed defense of the throne as one of their motivations.

p/s photos: Kou Shibasaki


Popular posts from this blog

My Master, A National Treasure

REPOST:  Its been more than two years since I posted on my sifu. This is probably the most significant posting I had done thus far that does not involve business or politics. My circle of close friends and business colleagues have benefited significantly from his treatment.

My Master, Dr. Law Chin Han (from my iPhone)

Where shall I start? OK, just based on real life experiences of those who are close to me. The entire Tong family (Bukit Kiara Properties) absolutely swear that he is the master of masters when it comes to acupuncture (and dentistry as well). To me, you can probably find many great dentists, but to find a real Master in acupuncture, thats a whole different ballgame.

I am not big aficionado of Chinese medicine or acupuncture initially. I guess you have to go through the whole shebang to appreciate the real life changing effects from a master.

My business partner and very close friend went to him after 15 years of persistent gout problem, he will get his heavy attacks at least…

PUC - An Assessment

PUC has tried to reinvent itself following the untimely passing of its founder last year. His younger brother, who was highly successful in his own right, was running Pictureworks in a number of countries in Asia.

The Shares Price Rise & Possible Catalysts

Share price has broken its all time high comfortably. The rise has been steady and not at all volatile, accompanied by steady volume, which would indicate longer term investors and some funds already accumulating nd not selling back to the market.

Potential Catalyst #1

The just launched Presto app. Tried it and went to the briefing. Its a game changer for PUC for sure. They have already indicated that the e-wallet will be launched only in 1Q2018. Now what is Presto, why Presto. Its very much like Lazada or eBay or Alibaba. Lazada is a platform for retailers to sell, full stop. eBay is more for the personal one man operations. Alibaba is more for wholesalers and distributors.

Presto links retailers/f&b/services originators with en…

How Long Will The Bull Lasts For Malaysia

Are we in a bull run? Of course we are. Not to labour the point but I highlighted the start of the bull run back in January this year... and got a lot of naysayers but never mind:

p/s: needless to say, this is Jing Tian ... beautiful face and a certain kind of freshness in her looks and acting career thus far

I would like to extend my prediction that the bull run for Bursa stocks should continue to run well till the end of the year. What we are seeing for the past 3 weeks was a general lull where volume suddenly shrunk but the general trend is still intact. My reasons for saying so:

a) the overall equity markets globally will be supported by a benign recovery complemented by a timid approach to raising rates by most central banks

b) thanks to a drastic bear run for most commodities, and to a lesser extent some oil & gas players, the undertone for "cost of materials" have been weak and has pr…