Foreign investors irritated over political tensions in Thailand

Police use water cannons against street protesters in Bangkok on October 16 (Picture: Twitter)

Peaceful street protest by mainly young people and students seeking change of the political landscape in Thailand and the escalation on October 16 in Bangkok with a harsh response by crowd control police deploying water cannons to disperse protesters has left foreign investors in a state of confusion.

Particularly, the hastily declaration of a “severe state of emergency” on the previous day had many investors left irritated about the impact on their business in the country, which is already disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and wide-ranging travel restrictions.

Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Kalin Sarasin said that he has received numerous enquiries by foreign business people over what the current situation means for their activities and whether they can go on with already arranged meetings and conferences or planned investments in Thailand, according to The Nation.

Government threatens to impose another curfew

The state of emergency, among other restrictions, bans the gathering of more than five people at a public place. It is, however, unclear whether this applies to everybody and if so, under which circumstances.

Moreover, the threat by the government to declare another curfew – after a previous one earlier this year to combat the Covid-19 pandemic – is sending even more confusing signals for businesses as it would severely impede logistics and staff movement. The sudden closure of the entire subway and skytrain system in Bangkok on the afternoon of October 17, including the airport rail link to the city’s largest international airport, to obstruct the movement of protest groups, did not help upholding confidence either.

Thailand is currently witnessing unprecedented street protests that started on October 13 with first gatherings of protesters in Bangkok and has since gathered steam, with thousands of people taking to the street for peaceful protests.

Protesters, additionally making heavy use of online activism, are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his government, fresh legislative elections, ending intimidation of the people by authorities, the drafting of a new constitution, the abolition of the military-appointed senate, amendment of the lèse majesté law as well as a reform of the monarchy, and the granting of full civil and political rights.

Protests spreading across the country

Government responses so far have included the deployment of police forces against the protesters, detention of activists and media censorship. The prime minister insisted he will not resign.

However, the countermeasures have so far not been very effective in curbing the protests. On the contrary, they have spread to other cities across the country and also to parts of the Thai diaspora abroad.

Moreover, international media coverage on the latest crisis in Thailand has been substantial, as has been criticism by international human and civil right groups over the government’s authoritarian stance on the protests.

Apart from dissatisfaction with the political status quo, the protests have been underpinned by a severe economic recession and a collapse of the tourism industry in Thailand and disenchantment with the way the government is trying to handle it.

Below a leaked statement by a Toyota Thailand unit to employees providing safety advice as protests continue:



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Police use water cannons against street protesters in Bangkok on October 16 (Picture: Twitter) Peaceful street protest by mainly young people and students seeking change of the political landscape in Thailand and the escalation on October 16 in Bangkok with a harsh response by crowd control police deploying water cannons to disperse protesters has left foreign investors in a state of confusion. Particularly, the hastily declaration of a “severe state of emergency” on the previous day had many investors left irritated about the impact on their business in the country, which is already disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and wide-ranging...

Police use water cannons against street protesters in Bangkok on October 16 (Picture: Twitter)

Peaceful street protest by mainly young people and students seeking change of the political landscape in Thailand and the escalation on October 16 in Bangkok with a harsh response by crowd control police deploying water cannons to disperse protesters has left foreign investors in a state of confusion.

Particularly, the hastily declaration of a “severe state of emergency” on the previous day had many investors left irritated about the impact on their business in the country, which is already disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and wide-ranging travel restrictions.

Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Kalin Sarasin said that he has received numerous enquiries by foreign business people over what the current situation means for their activities and whether they can go on with already arranged meetings and conferences or planned investments in Thailand, according to The Nation.

Government threatens to impose another curfew

The state of emergency, among other restrictions, bans the gathering of more than five people at a public place. It is, however, unclear whether this applies to everybody and if so, under which circumstances.

Moreover, the threat by the government to declare another curfew – after a previous one earlier this year to combat the Covid-19 pandemic – is sending even more confusing signals for businesses as it would severely impede logistics and staff movement. The sudden closure of the entire subway and skytrain system in Bangkok on the afternoon of October 17, including the airport rail link to the city’s largest international airport, to obstruct the movement of protest groups, did not help upholding confidence either.

Thailand is currently witnessing unprecedented street protests that started on October 13 with first gatherings of protesters in Bangkok and has since gathered steam, with thousands of people taking to the street for peaceful protests.

Protesters, additionally making heavy use of online activism, are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his government, fresh legislative elections, ending intimidation of the people by authorities, the drafting of a new constitution, the abolition of the military-appointed senate, amendment of the lèse majesté law as well as a reform of the monarchy, and the granting of full civil and political rights.

Protests spreading across the country

Government responses so far have included the deployment of police forces against the protesters, detention of activists and media censorship. The prime minister insisted he will not resign.

However, the countermeasures have so far not been very effective in curbing the protests. On the contrary, they have spread to other cities across the country and also to parts of the Thai diaspora abroad.

Moreover, international media coverage on the latest crisis in Thailand has been substantial, as has been criticism by international human and civil right groups over the government’s authoritarian stance on the protests.

Apart from dissatisfaction with the political status quo, the protests have been underpinned by a severe economic recession and a collapse of the tourism industry in Thailand and disenchantment with the way the government is trying to handle it.

Below a leaked statement by a Toyota Thailand unit to employees providing safety advice as protests continue:



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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