Thailand’s new government to unveil policy priorities

Two days of debate will begin in Thailand’s parliament today, with the new government expected to present its policy agenda.

thailand government policies

Photo: AP

Two days of debate will begin in Thailand’s parliament today, with the new government expected to present its policy agenda.

A 40-page document submitted by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha outlines 12 key priorities for the government, including farm subsidies, welfare for people on low incomes, expanding exports and restructuring tax laws. The administration also plans to get feedback from the public on whether to redraft parts of the 2017 military-backed constitution.

The government faces the task of reviving Southeast Asia’s second largest economy—in the first quarter of 2019 Thailand recorded its weakest economic growth figures since 2014. But the contentious $55 billion Eastern Economic Corridor, which seeks to develop the country’s eastern provinces into a hub for technological manufacturing, has fostered concerns that the government is simply pushing the policies of the military junta. Indeed, the EEC was then army chief Prayut’s flagship policy under the junta.

The Thai opposition parties will each be given 13-odd hours in the two-day parliamentary session to debate new government policies. Given the government’s sprawling coalition and slim majority in parliament, it is likely that PM Prayut will face serious questioning over both his policies and his qualifications to be prime minister. However, the policies will likely be approved. A more divisive fight will come in October, when parliamentary debate over the country’s budget is set to begin.

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