The weak point in Thai democ­racy? A lack of tax­pay­ers

The Nation - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - Tony Ash Nigel Pike canopy kaorop

The main rea­son why Thai­land has prob­lems with democ­racy as com­pared with other coun­tries is re­ally quite ob­vi­ous!

In more de­vel­oped coun­tries, any pro­posed pop­ulist poli­cies come un­der mi­cro­scopic ex­am­i­na­tion.

This is be­cause the ma­jor­ity of vot­ers pay sub­stan­tial tax and they want to know how their money is be­ing spent. They want to know that they are get­ting their money’s worth.

Any party in a for­eign coun­try sug­gest­ing such out­ra­geous and ex­pen­sive poli­cies as those which elected the last gov­ern­ment in Thai­land would prob­a­bly lose it’s de­posit! Un­for­tu­nately, Thai tax­pay­ers are heav­ily out­num­bered.

In Thai­land, the in­come tax thresh­old is set at Bt150,000 per an­num. Only some 8 per cent of the work­ing pop­u­la­tion pay in­come tax. A large sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion buy nearly all their food and cloth­ing from lo­cal mar­kets, where VAT is un­heard of. They also tend to buy used mo­tor­cy­cles, etc. No­body can blame them, but they vote for the party that ben­e­fits them the most rather than what is best for the coun­try as a whole. This sit­u­a­tion is ready­made for po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion.

When pop­ulist poli­cies are en­forced, the tax­payer’s bur­den in­creases and/or the coun­try gets into se­ri­ous debt, and dis­rup­tion in­evitably fol­lows.

Pre­sum­ably the junta’s much dis­cussed con­sti­tu­tion seeks to find a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem.

Surely, we should all be wish­ing them the best of luck. con­sid­er­ably more le­git­i­macy than those of Barack Obama and Hil­lary Clin­ton, who ex­pressed the op­po­site point of view in a very pub­lic, threat­en­ing and in­tru­sive fash­ion, and nei­ther of whom are Bri­tish cit­i­zens. Gra­ham Phillip Bloy (now an Amer­i­can). Fun­da­men­tally METME takes the en­tire band­width of an AM ra­dio sta­tion and com­presses it to a smart­phone (tele­phone) band­width. But even more sig­nif­i­cant is that METME also takes all the AM ra­dio sta­tions’ mains power and com­presses it to a smart­phone band­width! The tech­ni­cal de­scrip­tion is “re­con­sti­tu­tion of out-of­band har­mon­ics and power”. To weaponise this tech, all one needs to do is take a 5020watt sig­nal and com­press it into a smart­phone line, then trans­mit it to the smart­phone tar­get and re­con­sti­tute the mas­sive 5020-watt WHAMO burst.

Of course, the IoT also has un­lim­ited peace­ful pos­si­bil­i­ties, and only one com­pany pro­duces the var­i­ous IoT items. That com­pany is RF con­trols LLc of St Louis, Mis­souri. It’s ex­clu­sive com­mer­cial part­ner/dis­trib­u­tor is tech gi­ant Cisco Sys­tems.

The IoT was an­nounced by RF Con­trols in April, 2013 and has been called the great­est com­mer­cial event in world his­tory. The sonic at­tacks on US diplo­mats, while in­ter­est­ing, will be a mere foot­note in the IoT revo­lu­tion that’s only just emerg­ing. so­lu­tion is to give back the land to these sell­ers. And mean­while they say it is the poor that is do­ing the en­croach­ment. It’s as if they want the poor to take as much forest­land as they please, as long as the rich are kept out of it. It’s not clear how this pol­icy is go­ing to im­prove any­thing. The words “poor” or “rich” should not be part of any pol­icy to pro­tect the for­est. Just pro­tect the for­est equally with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion. Then the strat­egy mov­ing for­ward will be­come clear.

That’s a lot of ex­cuses for years and years by vested in­ter­ests who “look the other way to find an en­ve­lope”. Vir­tu­ally all the land bor­der­ing on a for­est and na­tional parks is or has been en­croached upon. I’ve seen it first-hand many, many times.

The re­port says: “Since it took power in the 2014 coup, the junta had made land en­croach­ment one of its na­tional pri­or­i­ties. It came up with two or­ders, the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der No 64/ 2557 and 66/ 2557 to di­rectly tar­get the big-time en­croach­ers, gen­er­ally in­flu­en­tial, rich peo­ple.”

Yet another legacy/tri­umph will be deleted from the junta’s his­tory.

The Na­tion con­tin­ues: “The jus­tice process, mean­while, is long and too pro­ce­dural. More­over, the def­i­ni­tion of ‘Nai Tun’ that is used for big-time en­croach­ers is un­clear, prompt­ing wrong­ful ar­rests that con­fuse the cases fur­ther.”

Once again it favours the rich and pow­er­ful. E-mail your opin­ion, with “Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor” in the sub­ject box, to:

let­ters@na­tion­group.com

A res­i­dent of Ha­vana cel­e­brates the thaw in re­la­tions with the US that be­gan with a lift­ing of sanc­tions in 2014. Things have grown chilly again since then.

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