Thailand’s government policy debate, conducted by a joint sitting of Parliament for the second day, focused on social, political and security policies
House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranond ordered an end to the first day of the two-day debate at about 1am and announced that the session should reconvene at 9am.
The second day of debate was expected to focus on social, political and security policies, while the first day was dominated by economic policy concerns.
The opposition Democrat Party said earlier that 10 MPs led by former education minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat will scrutinise social policy and 10 MPs led by former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban will use two full hours to debate political and security-related policy.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra spent over two hours reading her government’s policy statement in her address to Parliament.
She said that her government’s urgent policies included national reconciliation and the restoration of democracy, as well as a rehabilitation plan for those of all parties who have been negatively affected in several years of political divisiveness.
The urgent policies included the drug problem as a national agenda concern, along with an integrated water management plan to prevent and manage flooding, restoring relations with neighbouring countries, reducing income tax for juristic persons and the improvement of the public’s quality of life through, for example, wage increases and suspending farmers’ debts.
As for the four-year plan, Ms Yingluck said it will focus on national security including reverence for and protection of the monarchy and the country’s defence system.
In its policy statement presented in Parliament, the Yingluck Shinawatra administration proposed restructuring the entire tax system in order to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness and ensure social justice.
Emphasizing income distribution for sustainable economic growth, the Government will create a long-term base of tax revenue and increase the efficiency of collecting national income from taxes and non-tariff activities.
In its macro-economic policies, the Government will improve the structures of various state enterprises, with an emphasis on better services and asset management for the maximum benefit. It will consider setting up funds to manage national assets, such as the national prosperity fund, the national reserve oil fund, and the food security fund.
Concerning income generation, the Government will promote tourism to increase the country’s tourism income twofold within the next five years. It will also expand agricultural and food businesses in an effort to develop Thailand as a center for quality food production and trade and a center for futures markets of agricultural products. As a new strategic industry, the petroleum and alternative energy industry will be promoted to generate more income and employment.
The Government will develop community enterprises as part of the creative economy system to add value to Thai products and services. Thai business people will be urged to invest more in neighboring countries which have potential in terms of labor force and raw materials.
Regarding economic restructuring, the Government will promote the National Farmers Council, increase the efficiency of crop production through research and development, and introduce the registration of farm families, linking with the program on credit cards for farmers. It will also promote the “New Theory” in agriculture and empower the agricultural sector to cope with the global food crisis. At the same time, the Government will accelerate agri-business and produce a new generation of farmers, while developing farmers’ organizations in terms of business.
As for the industrial sector, it will reduce production costs for entrepreneurs, promote brands for Thai products, and improve the standards of Thai products for more international recognition. The Government will upgrade the industrial sector into creative industries based on local wisdom and technology innovation.
It will promote knowledge-based agro-industry associated with creativity, local wisdom, and innovation in order to add value to Thai products and improve their quality. Small and medium-sized enterprises will be given greater opportunities to have access to financial support. New industrial zones will be developed, including the land bridge between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
The Government will promote the opening of more Thai restaurants overseas and the developing of Thailand into the “Kitchen of the World.” In addition, it will accelerate the establishment of special economic development zones, with an emphasis on border provinces to boost trade and investment with neighboring countries.