Thai PM spent almost $10m for globetrotting

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Yingluck NZ
Yingluck Shinawatra is greeted by a Maori senator at her visit to New Zealand in March 2013

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been criticised for spending $9.4 million for extensive overseas travel since she took office in August 2011.

Yingluck, who visited 41 countries on 52 trips including exotic ones such as the Maldives, Mozambique and Tajikistan, after 2 years in office now ranks 3 among world leaders behind US President Barack Obama (5 years in office) and former US president George W. Bush (8 years in office), the opposition argued, asking if the visits had yielded “any concrete results that were worthy of the money that had been paid for her journeys.”

Ranked 31 on Forbes global “Power Women” list, Yingluck, who is currently on a trip to China, earlier replied to parliament that the visits were “aimed at fostering relations with other countries and open up trade opportunities.” The prime minister was adamant that the visits would “pay off in more foreign investment in the country which was important amid the global economic uncertainty, and result in more tourists coming to Thailand.”

However, apart from the tourist numbers which are actually rising, export figures over the past 7 months showed that Thailand suffered a trade deficit of more than $18 billion during the period.

The opposition also found fault with the fact that, due to her frequent absence, Yingluck would not be able to attend important debates on domestic politic matters in parliament, some on core issues such as the 2014 budget, the rice subsidy scheme, the rubber price crisis and the multi-billion infrastructure fund.

On the trips, she has also been alleged to frequently meet her brother, ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is banned from entering Thailand.

Some critics made sardonic remarks that she is deliberately staying away from parliamentary discussions because this would “expose her incompetence in political matters.”

Others, however, say that the costs for her trips were “a drop in the ocean” compared to what is being spent on subsidy schemes and other populist policies by the government.

So far Yingluck has been using chartered Thai Airways planes for her trips, but in July 2013 she ordered the acquisition of 4 aircraft for transporting members of the royal family and very important persons including the prime minister and other cabinet members, each for around $82 million. One of them may be particularly intended for the prime minister, similar to Air Force One used by the US president, sources said.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yingluck Shinawatra is greeted by a Maori senator at her visit to New Zealand in March 2013

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been criticised for spending $9.4 million for extensive overseas travel since she took office in August 2011.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yingluck NZ
Yingluck Shinawatra is greeted by a Maori senator at her visit to New Zealand in March 2013

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been criticised for spending $9.4 million for extensive overseas travel since she took office in August 2011.

Yingluck, who visited 41 countries on 52 trips including exotic ones such as the Maldives, Mozambique and Tajikistan, after 2 years in office now ranks 3 among world leaders behind US President Barack Obama (5 years in office) and former US president George W. Bush (8 years in office), the opposition argued, asking if the visits had yielded “any concrete results that were worthy of the money that had been paid for her journeys.”

Ranked 31 on Forbes global “Power Women” list, Yingluck, who is currently on a trip to China, earlier replied to parliament that the visits were “aimed at fostering relations with other countries and open up trade opportunities.” The prime minister was adamant that the visits would “pay off in more foreign investment in the country which was important amid the global economic uncertainty, and result in more tourists coming to Thailand.”

However, apart from the tourist numbers which are actually rising, export figures over the past 7 months showed that Thailand suffered a trade deficit of more than $18 billion during the period.

The opposition also found fault with the fact that, due to her frequent absence, Yingluck would not be able to attend important debates on domestic politic matters in parliament, some on core issues such as the 2014 budget, the rice subsidy scheme, the rubber price crisis and the multi-billion infrastructure fund.

On the trips, she has also been alleged to frequently meet her brother, ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is banned from entering Thailand.

Some critics made sardonic remarks that she is deliberately staying away from parliamentary discussions because this would “expose her incompetence in political matters.”

Others, however, say that the costs for her trips were “a drop in the ocean” compared to what is being spent on subsidy schemes and other populist policies by the government.

So far Yingluck has been using chartered Thai Airways planes for her trips, but in July 2013 she ordered the acquisition of 4 aircraft for transporting members of the royal family and very important persons including the prime minister and other cabinet members, each for around $82 million. One of them may be particularly intended for the prime minister, similar to Air Force One used by the US president, sources said.

 

 

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