THAILAND: PM takes economic policy to the airwaves

Puea Thai officials says the government should remove the requirement that the opposition's time slot on NBT must be hosted by a opposition leader

Bangkok Post
Monday, January 19, 2009

By Manop Thip-Osod

The government will focus its efforts on helping nine groups of people survive the economic crisis, says Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Mr Abhisit yesterday used his TV talk show, Having Confidence in Thailand with Prime Minister Abhisit, to outline the government's performance over the past 11 days and its future plans.

The programme went to air live on state-run NBT television station and the radio network under the Public Relations Department. The programme made its debut yesterday.

The targets for help in surviving the crisis are farmers, low-income community entrepreneurs, the unemployed, workers with no protection from the social security system, the elderly, low-income earners, students and parents, small and medium-sized business operators, and people in the tourism industry.

Those involved in the tourism sector need more help than others at present, according to Mr Abhisit.

The prime minister also pledged to bring peace and order to the strife-torn southern border provinces.

He hoped Thailand's image in the eyes of the world community would improve after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit from Feb 27 to March 1 in Hua Hin.

Protests had dominated recent media coverage of Thailand.

These pictures had alarmed people around the world, he said.

Meanwhile, the Puea Thai party said the government should be flexible in the TV time slot it allocates to the opposition to counter Mr Abhisit's programme.

The government should keep its promise to make a TV time slot available to the opposition on a state-run TV station without setting conditions that the programme host must be the opposition leader, said party spokesman Prompong Nopparit.

The opposition would focus on the government's policy for tackling the economic crisis and its decision to revive the agricultural land reform scheme by handing out Sor Por Kor 4-01 land documents to landless farmers, he said.

The scheme brought down the coalition government led by then prime minister Chuan Leekpai in 1995 after the scheme was found to favour some rich people who were close to the Democrat party.