Several local press reports the Thai constitutional court, have axed the Yingluck’s about US$60 billion infrastructure borrowing bill, citing that the bill was, itself, not lawful, and the “Content” of the infrastructure spending was against the constitution.
Pheu Thai Party of Yingluck, secretary general, today, express disappointment, but said the government will try to find other ways, to get the infrastructure project done.
Most observer, said the Thai courts, have again, staged a “Judicial Coup” against the Yingluck government, preventing the government of Yingluck, seen as a danger to the Bangkok establishment, from accomplishing a significant success that would lead to increase popularity for the Yingluck government.
This ruling by the constitutional court, follows an earlier reading opinion of the court. In that earlier opinion, the court said Thailand still had un-paved roads, and that Thailand should focus on paving roads first. Those words outraged many and became a great subject of ridicule, from a court that is acting as if it was an expert in economic development trespassing on the work of the administrative branch, to a court that thinks the Thai people are stupid and would believe every word the court said.
In todays ruling to axe the spending bill, the court made no statement, but gave the court secretary a statement to read.
Un-like many of Yingluck’s government policy, such as the rice scheme, the infrastructure spending have split the Bangkok establishment, with the Central Bank and some of Thailand’s largest conglomerate such as CP and Central, backing the spending. Much of Thailand’s traditional elite firms, many in the construction and related industry, also supported the spending. Moreover, even the World Bank have come out to support the spending.
(Up-Dated) Bangkok Post Reports:
(Start) The end of the 2-trillion-baht infrastructure plan has disappointed the private sector, with representatives saying it is a huge loss of opportunity for Thailand to cash in on economic development. Kriengkrai Thiennukul, a vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the private sector sees it as a lost opportunity, as Thailand has not had a large infrastructure project for 15 years even though investment in logistics is necessary to bolster the country’s competitiveness. Thailand’s logistics costs are at 15.2% of gross domestic product, quite high compared with competitive countries where costs are 8-9% of GDP, he said. “This creates a disadvantage for us in terms of transportation costs,” said Mr Kriengkrai, adding that the seven-year investment would have lowered costs by 2%. Although the FTI is totally against corruption of all forms, investment in infrastructure also needs to be done at the same time as tackling corruption, not later, he said. “It took 35 years for Hong Kong to tackle corruption. Do we have to wait for another 35 years to construct high-speed trains when we are entering the Asean Economic Community in another year and a half?” Mr Kriengkrai said. Somchai Sujjapongse, director-general of the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, warned economic growth might fall short of 3% or even be less than 2% this year if there is no budget disbursement for infrastructure development for fiscal 2014 ending Sept 30. It had estimated 61.6 billion baht would be disbursed for the mega projects.(End)
However, there is a large segment of the elite and other, have been bombarded by news from such elite units as, Thailand Developmental Research Institute, that is highly vocal against the spending, voicing that the spending is not necessary, and many Thai press have repeatedly went to press with the objection, and thus, many are not convince of the spending, especially related to the high speed rail.
These critic, mostly say the spending is a waste and will not be profitable, and backing up their belief, with talk of public debt, sky rocketing from the bill borrowing. Counter argument, such as infrastructure are like roads, there the government has to develop it, and also the related benefit, both social and economy, such as ease of human contact and lessening migration to mega cities,and commercial, real estate and new towns and city development; also assurances of controllable debt level, registed little to critics.
Many in ASEAN, including China, are forging ahead with their high-speed rail ambition. Thailand have also had a high-speed rail ambition for many years, but the project never got off the ground. Thailand’s minister, Chatchart, spear-heading the infrastructure project, said the Yingluck’s government infrastructure spending plan, is not a new idea, but the Yingluck’s government simply bought together, projects that have been proposed before, by many previous government, that went no where, into one package.
Thailand’s is geo-graphically situated at the center of mainland Southeast Asia, and many Thai planners, have said that with strong infrastructure, Thailand can tie the region together, with Thailand as a center. Many have said, that “Center Objective” is important, as Thailand is fast loosing competitiveness in other area.