Chang Noi: Chairman Maews thoughts for 2005 - The Nation, January 3, 2005
[Maew is the nickname of the Prime Minister and the
way he is always referred to in the Thai-language press.]
As we march steadfastly towards the Second Glorious
Era, I see the country as a land of promise, a nation
transformed. Poverty will disappear. Poverty-relief
caravans will visit everyone registered under our poverty
scheme. Experts will advise them how to earn a living
and pay them Bt100 a day during training...
[2015 note: Like many Thai newspaper articles from the early days of the Thai internet, this article is no longer online. Below is the complete text of the original article.
Despite the withering tone of the piece, the Thaksin pronouncements can give one a feel of the amazing change of tone in politics he brought. Can anyone imagine the coalition builders like Banharn, Cahvolit, or Abhisit making promises to the people? Maybe to other coalition partners, but not the people.]
Chairman Maew’s thoughts for 2005
Published on January 03, 2005
As we march steadfastly towards the Second Glorious Era, I see the country as a land of promise, a nation transformed. Poverty will disappear. Poverty-relief caravans will visit everyone registered under our poverty scheme. Experts will advise them how to earn a living and pay them Bt100 a day during training.
Every landless family will have land. Every landholder will have land deeds. Government will dig a pond for every farmer who just pays a little fuel cost.
Village funds will be upgraded into village banks. (Some people think these funds are just “Mr Thaksin’s money” which they don’t have to pay back, but never mind. We are also creating lots of new ways for people to circulate their debt.)
The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank will dish out Bt20 billion to support new entrepreneurs. The Government Savings Bank will give Bt10,000 quick-loans within four days of application. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has Bt10 billion to lend for non-farm activities and Otop schemes. The Farmers’ Rehabilitation and Development Fund will buy back farmers’ debts from the banks. The Special Purpose Vehicle will allow farmers to take out loans in cash and repay them in produce.
All 80,000 villages will get an SML fund of Bt200,000-Bt300,000. Villagers will not fight over getting their hands on this money but join together in harmony to work on village development projects.
And then the cash cows. We give the farmer a calf. He turns it into a cow. Two years later we buy it back. Farmers get rich (and we, ummm, get a lot of cows). This scheme sounds so good we are putting Bt8.4 billion into it.
I will go door to door round the country to make sure every child in every household has access to education. We will put Bt80 billion into six new organisations to oversee children’s learning. If kids have had to drop out because of poverty, we will pay them to go back to school. School fees will come down. University fees will be payable after students have finished studying. Every child born from next July 28 onwards will get a government gift bag advising parents how to raise their child.
We will put Bt1 trillion more into healthcare. There will be special centres to look after old people, and special jobs for those who want them.
We will build a water grid to pump water all over the country to 90 million rai of farmland that currently has no irrigation. We will end water pollution. We will build more reservoirs to stop flooding and drought.
Long-distance phone calls will cost less. We will build lots more cheap urban housing. Nobody will be evicted from a slum. Officials will become the people’s helpers. I have told all ministers and government officials to redefine the word “happiness” as helping disadvantaged people.
We will build 200,000 cheap homes for police officers. We will give better pay and welfare to state officials. The incomes of people in general will be higher.
Bangkok will become as easy to get around as your own backyard. We will invest Bt1 trillion to build 291 more kilometres of mass transit, giving us the third largest system in the world. The fares will become cheap so everyone can use them. The city will have more schools, fitness centres, day-care facilities and a thousand new parks.
We will improve the transport and communications links with neighbouring countries. We will attract 20 million tourists. We will develop our hospitals. We will be an aviation hub, a shipping hub, a land-transport hub, a health hub (indeed a hub hub).
The economy will grow at double-digit rates through my second term. (In fact I promised this a long time ago when the second term seemed pretty remote. Even my most faithful poodle economists are reckoning not much more than 5 per cent next year.) The new promise is that GDP will increase by half over the next five years, and in 2009 it might hit double-digit rates.
The stock market will go up. In fact it will double next year. (Yes, this is remarkable with the economy slowing down, the US dollar tanking, the South in a mess and bird flu here to stay . . . )
Corruption will be dealt with. We will use clean money to flush out dirt in this country. Any Cabinet ministers and senior officials engaging in malpractice will be sacked and punished. Drug dealers will be sent to meet the prince of hell so drugs disappear from the country.
In the next four years there’ll be no Thai citizen left in poverty, no hardworking person without a home, no farmer who does not own land, no child without education, no patients left untreated, no lonely elderly and no helpless disabled.
If all this is not enough, people can just come and tell us what their problems are, and we will solve them. All these big sums of baht add up to quite a lot. But taxes will go down. The untaxed allowance will be bumped up from Bt80,000-Bt100,000. Taxes on the first Bt1 million of profits will be halved. More small businesses will not have to pay any VAT at all.
But I will have no problem paying for all of this. We have the money because I know how to make money. I know how to “turn paper into cash”. (Just look at my own family’s shareholdings: last year they went up from Bt18.5 billion to Bt31.5 billion.)
Indeed, a land of promise! Alas, I will still have critics, people of little faith. I look at those people with pity and mercy. I pity them because they hardly understand anything. I have mercy on them because they are my fellow human beings.
[All the above promises have been taken from Thaksin or TRT spokesmen, mostly verbatim, and mostly in the past three months.]
I will go door to door round the country to make sure every child in every household has access to education. We will put Bt80 billion into six new organisations to oversee children’s learning. If kids have had to drop out because of poverty, we will pay them to go back to school. School fees will come down. University fees will be payable after students have finished studying.
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