National Broadcast by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, April 29, 2016
Good evening, I am Col.Taksada Sangkachandra, assistant to the spokesperson of the Office of the Prime Minister. Welcome to the program. As usual, the prime minister will today talk to us about what has been happening in Thailand and about the progress on the government’s work. Good evening, Mr Prime Minister. What would you like to share with the audience today?
I have several things to talk about this week. Yesterday (April 28th) was the 66th wedding anniversary of Their Majesties the King and Queen. Long Live Their Majesties. This is a very special occasion for all Thais and I believe that the Thai people should send Their Majesties their highest felicitations and best wishes.
This year is a very good year for Thai athletes and youngsters. Thai athletes have made their presence known in many international competitions. Could you please tell us a little more?
The first one is “Nong May” or Ratchanok Intanon who won three championships in a row within only three weeks. Upon the government’s request, His Majesty the King has graciously bestowed a decoration to the athlete to honour her success. This is a great honour to herself and her family and a gesture of support and encouragement for her to continue to compete at the best of her abilities.
Although she couldn’t defend her title at the 2016 Badminton Asia Championship, she competed superbly was able to make friends at the competition. She will keep on trying and competing. Defending a title is always harder than wining one. The public and I will always support her.
The second athlete is shooter Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit who won a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup 2016. She is the first Thai to ever win this championship. Furthermore, Thai athletes were also able to win medals, gold and silver, in taekwondo and weightlifting. They are now qualified for Olympic Games 2016. Congratulations to all of them. I would like to voice my support for all athletes. Every athlete is committed to bringing recognition to Thailand. I hope that every Thai athlete will be qualified for Olympic Games 2016 to take place in Brazil. I hope it will be a great success.
Also, I would like to congratulate Thai researchers who won awards at the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva. These researchers are from Thammasart University, Suratthani Technical College, and Lamphun Technical College. There were able to win many awards. Every research work will be added to the National Innovation System of the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). This will be under the “Fast Track” concept which will allow the country to make the best use of these researches.
These youngsters will one day become the key to the country’s economic growth. The National Labour Day is also approaching. Thai labourers are also important to the country’s growth. Is there anything you would like to say to the Thai workers?
I would like to express my support to every worker. Thank you for their hard work and I would like to ask them to continue to improve themselves, so that they can raise their incomes through skills improvement. Everyone should consider lifelong learning experiences. We must try to learn something new every day so keep ourselves up to date with new technologies that will allow us to understand where we will fit in and can make progress.
The era of the ASEAN Community has already arrived. How has the government been dealing with the issue of migrant labour?
Migrant workers in Thailand are from Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Cambodia. We are also in the process of registering Vietnamese workers. According to current estimates, more than 1.6 million migrant workers, including their dependents, have been documented. Around 100,000 dependents are now in the system.
The next step is for the ‘upstream’ countries to step up measures in identifying their citizens. Foreign officials are required to identify their nationals in Thailand but sometimes that process takes long. Thailand allows their work permits to be extended. There have been some problems, especially with movement of workers. Those who have yet to be identified by their governments may need to be cautious before moving to another location as this may be in violation of employment laws. Thai people are not fond of manual labor jobs but this is alright, we may still be able to work in supervisorial roles. In any case, Thai and migrant workers will have to work together and look after each other.
In terms of addressing other problems, for the economy, Thailand must be able to address labour shortages in production and the service industry. In the area of national security, human trafficking, and narcotics must be resolved. This is why the Royal Thai Government is asking foreign governments to help identify their citizens before they can enter Thailand. It is harder to register them when they are already here. More than 100,000 migrants were left unregistered previously. Some of them might hold a temporary work permit. If we cannot control this, the country will be more vulnerable to drug trafficking and higher crime rates. We also won’t be able to provide welfare if workers are not legally registered. The government may also have to spend more than its allocated budget on this.
The main purpose of the government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is to restore stability and achieve national reforms. How has the government been doing? Some issues don’t take only 1-2 years to complete. What sort of plan do you have for this task?
I have told the public since the beginning that we have a roadmap. The roadmap shows how the country will move forward and make progress. The first objective is to eradicate conflicts and address existing urgent problems for the country, such as the civil aviation problem and illegal fishing. We are fixing all these problems while trying to ensure integration in public administration, meaning we need to simultaneously work on relevant issues faced by different agencies. This is what we have been doing until today. Although it is hard work, we shall persist.
Now we look at the roadmap and see how the government has time until 2017. There are still a number of issues that we need to continue to achieve. And some issues that have already been resolved or put into order may encounter future problems or even return. This is something that we must address as nation once and for all. It is about having a social conscience. I do empathize with the poor and low-income earners. Sometimes they don’t know what to do or have any opportunities. This is why the government must look at their problems from all angles, for instance allowing them to use public space to generate income, etc. In this aspect, we will establish orderliness in the fairest way.
Since 2014 to 2017, the government has many tasks to accomplish. What if the government cannot finish the jobs? Some problems have been solved, some are being solved, and some are not ready for a solution because many other factors need to be taken into account, such as legislation. What we can finish in two years’ time will be finished and in line with the roadmap. Unfinished businesses will be passed on to the next government and included in 4 economic development plans (12+13+14+15).
Each plan has a span of 5 years. These are used to draw up the country’s 20-year strategic plan for the country. This government will push for the first phase of reforms before the end of 2017. The rest will be undertaken in the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th plans. There are a number of reform agendas and each agenda has a lot of details. Hopefully, the next government will carry on the reform plans. This is what the government needs. The plans formulated by the NRSA and the NLA must go in accordance with the NESDB’s plan. We will try to finish everything by 2017 according to the country’s reform roadmap.
This government will lay down the fundamentals for the next government to follow the 20-year strategic plan (2017-2036). We need to focus on the next generation. In the next 20 years, there will be very capable Thai youngsters. The 12th social development plan (2017-2021) will be implemented in October this year.
As for the national reform plan given to the next government, it doesn’t mean that it is compulsory for the next government or the people to follow. I only want the people to understand the areas and aspects of development that the country needs to focus on to make real progress. People will be the ones asking the next government to carry on with these reforms. The plan could be revised. If there are problems later, the government at the time will be the one fixing the problem.
I really hope that the next government will be able to do this and stick to the national strategic and development plans.
It is not mandatory that these plans shall be adopted. But everything has to go in the same direction, be they the reform plan or the NESDB’s plan. It won’t work if the different plans go in separate directions.
In conclusion, country needs to get through 4 stages of reform or until 2036. This is to ensure the country’s prosperous future. Existing problems must be solved as soon as possible, so that we can start new things and be on par with others around the world. This is what I wanted to say.
The public should also cooperate with the government, preparing themselves for positive changes that will come after effective reforms. The country will prosper when the three main pillars – national security, economy, and society – are strong. In terms of national security, what has the government done for this country and what the public can do to help?
Apart from the 3 pillars, I want to add ‘foreign affairs’ to that category. It allows other nations to understand and cooperate with Thailand. Foreign countries are important for our economic growth and national security. We must work with them well on all international issues. This is why I want to stress this issue.
The Damrongtham centers have completed more than 2,600,000 tasks, which is about 97% of all requests. I also have talked about this before.
Next is about the government’s drug/narcotics prevention and suppression plan, which will run for 3 years and will require cooperation from 5 neighboring countries namely Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. We will take on the producers, take on the networks, and block all delivery routes. As for the public, everyone is asked help to in prevention, suppression, and rehabilitation. Stop falling victim to drug abuse. It does not do anything good to anyone.
Next is about the reform of the police and the military. They have also got plans with a span of 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years respectively. It is incorporated into the national security plan. I will talk about this some other day. These plans concern the adjustment of our military and police forces, a higher degree of inter-agency cooperation, and more stability. The country should have modern armaments and use advanced technologies. Sometimes we cannot solve problems like other countries can due to our own infighting .
Plus, technological equipment costs a lot of money and we still cannot afford a lot of items. When we cannot afford this equipment, we often need to rely on our personnel who are always ready to make sacrifices for their beloved country. Please rest assured about the reform of the military and police. Trust must be built first. Without soldiers or police officers, no nation can be secure. Countries have military and police forces, not to go to war, but to protect. National security and economic development go hand in hand.
Next is about the situation in the southernmost provinces. We have formed a committee which has been engaging in peaceful dialogue on several occasions and has made some progress along the way. I don’t want this process to be the only determinant of this effort though. Please understand the entire process. Everyone wants to see a peaceful resolution.
What a sad and terrible waste of lives. We want all officials, Buddhist Thais, and Muslim Thais to be safe. We don’t want any more losses. It is a waste of time and opportunities and resources. I want to see soldiers go home to their families. Today, we no longer need to send more forces to these areas, thanks to cooperation between the locals and officers. As for the perpetrators of violence, I would like them to stop and help country move forward. We can all help to improve our nation. We can all live in peace.
Next is about the Security Business Act B.E. 2558. It is meant to uplift the standards of private security services provided in Thailand. I want those affected by the new regulations to understand that this is for the country’s future, and the government promises to mitigate the impacts of the new act.
We are now looking at the bigger picture of the country’s national security. Let’s narrow it down to economic issues. Could you please tell us what the government has done to stimulate the economy?
In terms of the economy, there are two major issues about economic stability I would like the public to understand today.
The first one is the resilience of the nation and the second one is the improvement of the country’s ability to compete. This is like a machine that drives the country’s growth, bringing in more investments while people earn sufficient income.
In order for the economy to grow, peace and stability must exist in the country first. Building stability helps restore confidence from the investors. The economic situation had been afflicted by our instability for years leading up to 2014. Today, the situation has improved, mostly thanks to the people and every sector. The main idea was to adopt His Majesty’s Sufficiency Economy principle and the second idea was to adopt the “Pracharat” approach.
We have also tried to increase efficiency in our work by establishing another committee under joint cooperation between the state and the private sector. Economic solutions must start from the central government, moving down to the provincial level. The private sector also needs to lend a hand and work with the committee.
The second committee oversees state enterprises and their operations. The third mechanism is the 12 Pracharat committees which will work in unison in an attempt to provide quality and fast services for the public and the private sector. Businesspersons can seek help from “One Stop Service” centers and ask for information.
There are a lot of procedures to open a business. When inviting foreign investors, they will look at the country’s stability first and think of short and long term possibilities. They do not seek short term investment opportunities. When investments are made, investors will seek to continue. They look 50 years ahead. This is why we need to have the 20-year strategic plan to ensure stability, progress and security.
Many agendas are still pending while some have been forwarded to the Cabinet. Some projects are waiting on the environmental impact assessment. The process will slow down if we didn’t streamline some procedures. Some projects are obstructed by those who still lack a complete understanding, including some NGOs. If everyone keeps rejecting these projects, how will the country be developed? Impact assessments are part of the process anyway. But it would be quicker if some aspects of a project could begin first, such as proposals by a potential contractor could be submitted while an assessment is conducted. Should we wait for the assessment to be completed first, nothing will ever get done in time.
There remain a number of projects waiting to be implemented such as the dual-rail construction project (2 routes), linking Kaeng Khoi-Chachoengsao and Chira Road-Khon Kaen. In the future, there will be five more routes including Map Kabao-Chira Road, Nakhon Pathom-Hua Hin, Hua Hin-Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachuap Khiri Khan-Chumphon, and Lopburi- Pak Nam Pho. The combined value is 130 billion baht. It will help create jobs and employment.
The second measure is the mobilization of digital economy, with planned projects worth 3.7 billion baht. We also have a draft plan for ICT infrastructure projects worth around 15 billion baht, to be implemented nationwide.
Is that the nationwide internet access project?
Well, we must first focus on certain key areas as opposed to every inch of the country. Important places should have access to the internet. It will take some money to complete this project, the money that we got from auctions and other sources. 8 draft acts must be enforced soon; otherwise, the project cannot be put forth. Enacting a law is never simple as it has to go through 3 sittings of the legislature.
Do the 8 draft acts you are talking about concern the country’s digital economy? These acts will surely turn Thailand into a digital society.
This is a new age. ICT is the most important element in the new age. It is vital to the people and businesses. People must be educated about ICT. Without this knowledge, we will be behind other countries.
Another important project is the establishment of special economic zones under the 7-year investment promotion plan (2015-2021).
The first phase covers 13 industry groups in 5 provinces namely Tak, Sa Kaeo, Trat, Mukdahan, and Songkhla.
The second phase covers 5 provinces including Chiang Rai, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Kanchanaburi, and Narathiwat.
Next is about the One Stop Service (OSS) centers which will be set up in all special economic zones mentioned earlier. Businesspersons can seek assistance and necessary information from officials in Bangkok and in all special economic zones. Many businessmen from other countries have shown great interests in these economic areas already.
Another project that needs urgent attention is the stimulation of grassroots economy. More than 40 billion baht has been put into this project while 90% of the budget has been disbursed, through the following:
1) “Five Million Per Tambon” project. Resilience here is built on the needs of the locals.
2) An agricultural project which aims to create jobs and generate income for farmers and low-income earners.
3) An Agricultural equipment procurement project for members of cooperatives. Today, we can no longer use only human labor in farming. We must use advancements in technology. Renting equipment can cost a lot of money. So here, we offer the equipment so that farmers can cut production costs. If production costs stays high, farmers will be in debt continuously. Therefore, this problem must be addressed upstream.
Mr. Prime Minister, you have mentioned about Thailand 4.0, SME matching, and new startups. Do you think all of these will be a part of the mechanism to stimulate the economy?
That’s right. People need to understand this fact. As I said, the world is constantly changing. Thailand 1.0 was the era of a labour intensive economy. Thailand 2.0 adopted small machineries in the production sector. Thailand 3.0, where we are stuck in for the past 20-30 years, involves heavy and small machineries. So, we will be a step behind others if the Thailand 4.0 concept is not introduced. Here we must look at the problems presented in the 3.0 era, problems like inequalities, imbalance in our natural resources, and a lack of attention to social development. All of these problems were holding the country back. Therefore, Thailand must step past the 3.0 era and adopt “Thailand 4.0”.
What else did you ask me?
It was about the startup project.
The Startup project emphasizes the development of SMEs. It aims to turn smaller businesses into larger businesses. At United Nations meetings or ASEAN meetings, leaders would talk about the SME sector. More than 2 million SMEs in Thailand are exporters, accounting for up to 90 percent. The government is registering all these businesses, providing loans, and education about the single-entry bookkeeping system and the tax system. These efforts were absent in the past. We need to achieve this in a timely manner.
Startups and SMEs are very similar, but startups are for the new generation of businesses, just like the 4.0 concept. In the era of Thailand 4.0, development will circle around innovation, robotics, and other areas of development that require new innovation. These innovations are called new startups. The initiative answers the idea of New S-Curve and helps to ensure development in 5 future industries on top of the 5 existing ones. This is to prepare Thailand for future global developments.
Another issue lies in the agricultural sector. When prices of crops plummet, farmers remain poor, and some farmers look for other jobs. Amid these problems, the government, through the Agriculture Ministry decided to set up learning centers in 882 locations.
7,110 centers will be established to pass on technology to local farmers. The Department of Agricultural Extension will give its support to social enterprises. A “Holding Company” project will be introduced soon in several provinces.
This is cooperation between private companies, which will be run by the local community. Profits made by social enterprises will not be paid to officials but will be used for future investments or for other things that will benefit the community. There will be no middlemen. Large enterprises should render cooperation as well. Social enterprises have been established in many areas. Another problem is water scarcity. The concept of ‘zoning’ would be an ideal solution. We need to zone out farming in agricultural areas and make sure we don’t grow too many crops.
The Agriculture Ministry has been assigned to draw up an agricultural map and it has done so succesfully. I would like to commend all personnel involved with this. The map is very useful as it tells local producers how much water they have, the abundance of soil in their areas, and which crops are suitable and have potential to grow in which areas. In the future, there may be an agricultural ‘intelligence map’ which will teach the farmers how to manage their crops if they have 5, 10, or 30 rai of land. With this knowledge, farmers will be more assured of their stable income. The map is now available on many channels including the G-News channel. Handbooks have also been handed out. Farmers also need to share their expertise more.
More than 150 million rai of farm land has been zoned out and designated into 500 and 1,000 rai of land. Zoning allows farmers to have access to a sufficient amount of water. We also need to look at new and potential industries. Thailand has seen more and more investment over the past year especially early this year. Investors are keeping an eye on the overall situation in the country; therefore, I am asking for all of us to stop quarrelling among ourselves .
For the past 2 years, the drought has been a significant hindrance for the development of the agricultural sector. You have established a committee on water management. Can you please tell us about the work progress of this committee?
We established the national water management committee and this organization has become part of the responsible ministry. This committee has drafted a 15 year plan that will be carried out gradually. This is a difficult undertaking because we can’t predict the situation in advance, and how the global situation is going to be in the next year. There are a myriad of weather conditions so we have also had to deal with a 40 year record in water shortage.
Another issue is agriculture outside of irrigation boundaries. We have made it known how we have addressed this issue and I would like to report that there are a total 12 projects that have been carried out throughout the country.
The first is accessing groundwater during the drought. We’ve allocated the budget to provide emergency relief in this aspect. There are currently 3,086 spots that require assistance and we have already provided relief to about 51 percent of these.
The next is groundwater for agricultural purposes. In the next 12 years, we have a goal of creating 18,559 sources.
Creating water reserves in farms. In 13 years, we plan on having 331,750 ponds. We’ve already achieved 34 percent of this.
The next matter is a 4 year plan to provide plumbing to 7,490 villages. We have now carried out 75 percent of this project.
As for plumbing for schools, in 7 years, we aim to provide water for 6,132 locations. We’ve carried out 18 percent of this.
The next matter is creating 2,922 new water sources in the next 3 years. We’ve achieved 56 percent of this project.
Another matter is increasing water for farming. We plan on increasing this by 1.178 billion cubic meters. In the next 12 years, we aim to increase this number by 8.250 billion cubic meters.
The key issue is how to provide residents with access to water sources, whether it be for consumption, farming or for preserving the ecosystem. In order to accommodate this year’s rainy season, we expect that this year’s storms will provide us with adequate amounts of water for us to store.
The next matter is how we can raise the standards of living for the public.
The situation sounds bleak.
When I look the drought situation, I am sympathetic for the public as they are without a source of income. I think about how we can strengthen the local communities, regions and provinces in a concerted manner.
As for management policies that are environmentally friendly, by the year 2017, we will have spent 99.356 billion Baht. This government has zero tolerance towards corrupt practices. However, investigations need to be thorough and take time. There are many stories of corruption and we aim to investigate all cases and issue punishments accordingly. We will expedite our efforts to bring the violators into the justice system as this is a matter of the taxpayer’s money. Therefore, we will prosecute any violators accordingly. Those who have been found guilty will be sentenced accordingly. At the same time, we will need to focus on how to continue with the work.
We’ve talked about security and the economy. Now let’s talk about society. Can you tell us about what the NCPO has achieved in this field?
If you look before this administration, the cues for motorcycles and vans, the public footpaths, the public beaches, the taxis, so many problems with them. We’ve tried to create orderliness as you can see. So, I implore all to respect the law, otherwise there will be no justice and equality. We need to create a just society by allowing those who respect the law to prosper. I would like all to cooperate and learn to share opportunities and benefits. The government will provide places for people to conduct business. This is a drastic change for many as they’ve been doing this for 10-20 years but they must adjust.
The second issue is forest encroachment. We need to enforce expropriation laws and preserve at least 40 percent of the country’s forest land, which is a total of 128 million Rai in the next 10 years. We need to do this gradually because people who have encroached upon these lands have a livelihood to make as well. We need to examine whether we can allocate certain parts of land for people to continue dwelling on. However, we must not allow for further encroachment and we must also work on restoring what still can be recovered. We need to preserve our natural parks and create community forests for various communities. An example is the Food Bank initiative by Her Majesty the Queen.
We have enforced the law in over 100,000 Rai of land and have processed over 4.6 million rai of land. From then on, the authorities and the public will jointly manage a total of 101 million rai of farmland. However, in our efforts to restore forest land, there’s also been an excess of rubber tree planting to the point that we’ve had to increase our utilization of rubber. We aim to take back another 5.5 million rai.
[For those who have had to encroach into public lands], I want people to first know what is right and wrong and manage accordingly from there in terms of laws and jurisdictions. Those that have been affected by from expropriation will need to be assisted by us looking at other industries and occupations in communities that they can engage in.
The committee that I’ve established has a goal of expropriating 325,205 rai in 47 provinces in 2016. In Chiang Mai Province, I’ve handed out a license for conducting joint-farming in 3,878 rai of non-restorable forestland in Mae Chaem and 2,308 rai in Fang.
The next matter is eliminating corruption. This has been a longstanding matter and there will be no exceptions. All cases will be brought into the justice system. Corruption cases have so far involved damages totaling to 500 billion Baht. The corruption situation in Thailand in 2015 has improved in the last 6 years but we need to mobilize our efforts even more.
The first matter is the establishment of the national anti-corruption commission.
The second matter is the establishment of the committee to follow up on budget disbursements by the state.
The third matter is legislation on expediting license examinations for the civic sector.
The CoST System has a system of receiving complaints and enforcing laws. There will be examinations of projects that will cover over one hundred thousand outstanding cases. This is a lengthy endeavor but it must be done and any violations will be punished accordingly.
As for education reform?
Everyone should see that education reform is the most important matter because it involves our human resources. We need to think about how we can make the system better and produce human resources that match the needs of the country, while people learn for the sake of real knowledge instead of just getting a degree or getting promoted. We need to develop the education system and teach people to be ethical. I’ve had to use article 44 in solving various issues by establishing various committees. Today, I’ve tasked Ministers to be in charge of various policies and they have delegated jobs to related sectors. There are 5 aspects of education reform that we must tackle. Today, progress may be slow because we need to deal with certain laws regarding education. Today, there has been a redistribution of education districts into 18 districts which include participation from local administrations. Today, I’ve asked all to work together and improve education at the community level. Today, there are 12 working committees to ensure that all things are interconnected. I ask all involved to continue to follow up on the progress of this.
The second agenda is reducing class time while increasing learning time. We are encouraging people to learn for their own sake and to be able to peacefully coexist in society without harbouring conflicts.
The third and fourth matter is joint education programs between schools to reduce differences in standards of teaching. Today we need to examine whether we are all progressing according to the same standards. The beneficiaries will be students, teachers and the country in the long run.
The fifth matter is distance learning. His Majesty the King had started this program with DLTV. We’ve able to achieve this is for around 15,000 schools and have continued to improve this as part of our agenda of developing a digital economy.
The sixth matter is Pracharat schools which include participation by the state, public and social organizations. We now have a total of 7,424 schools conducting this model with at least 1 school in 1 subdistrict with plans to expand further to the local level.
Going to the villages.
We will see. I’d like to ask faculty and staff to coordinate with regards to teaching models instead of only doing their own thing separately.
Another important matter is linking our education reforms with the Thailand 4.0 agenda in the industrial sector. We currently lack technicians from the STEM industries. Therefore, education institutions need to coordinate with the private sector in exchanging equipment and training human personnel to equip them with real skills that will make them employable according to real market demands. The vocational students themselves will be much more satisfied at school and there will surely be less quarreling between them. I’d like students to think of their parents who have sent them to school. Please do not fight and cause any violence anymore.
Mobilizing research is also important. The state must also rely on the private sector to do more investments in this area. Major private corporations will have their own research institutes while universities can also provide resources and know-how. The government is trying to establish a collaboration network and provide funding, according to our needs. We also need to ensure that our funded projects yield results. Do you know how many Thai’s have PhDs? About 30,000.
All with PhDs
Yes, so we need to ensure that the 30,000 Thai people with PHDs can contribute to educating the Thai people, especially about living together in peace and encouraging a worldwide perspective within our people, not to mention developing our ICT system.
What we’ve seen recently is the Pracharat model through student councils. I think this increased participation and inclusiveness will solve issues in a sustainable manner in the future.
As we can see, student councils have continued to submit suggestions to you. Has this aspiration for student participation been realized?
Yes, however, there remain many longstanding problems that need to be examined and solved carefully. I’ve tasked the Ministry of Education in solving issues that are able to be solved right now. The Ministry must work with student councils to make sure that no issues in society are overlooked. The student council has expressed its enthusiasm to be the intermediary between students and the justice system and the Ministry of Culture. We need to instill the Pracharat approach of listening to the public which includes listening to the youth in order to better create a future for them.
What is the government’s 10 year plan on developing homes for the public? Can you talk us through the various projects?
Agencies that I’ve tasked include the Ministries of Social Development and Human Security and Defense because we need to take care of civilian, police and military servicemen, in addition to homeless individuals. The plans for 2016 to 2025 will focus on 2.7 impoverished families. However, there are a total of 4.6 households that qualify right now. Therefore there needs to be plans to stimulate the economy for these families as well.
The problem is that that some claim that sometimes these people haven’t followed the rules, in terms of qualifying. There must have been rules applied otherwise these wouldn’t have become NPL loans in the first place. We are examining this and we are providing homes and land worth more than 1.5 million Baht. I’ve suggested that we should find cheaper houses that cost only a few hundred thousand Baht by refurbishing older homes. This is an issue that we must solve systematically which includes the Ministries of Finance, Social Development and Human Security and Defense.
If we allow debt to surmount, it will result in more NPLs which would be a burden on our financial institutions. Therefore we need to consider projects for the long term and accommodate for those who want to participate. I urge people to use money wisely and examine their financial situation before making decisions.
Another matter is how to take care of our civil servants. We need to look into how we can assist civil servants who can’t afford homes before they retire. Perhaps we can provide affordable rental houses. On the other hand, we can also provide housing for those who have retired. These things must be planned out systematically in order to be mindful of time constraints, the budget and conflicts of interest.
So, there are things that the government will do and things that the private sector will do, and then things we shall cooperate on.
So this is all done to assist civil servants who cannot afford homes.
They are entitled to a residence and rental subsidies. Perhaps we can reallocate certain funds so that they can afford homes when they retire. Upon retiring, residences can be passed on to other civil servants. This is a productive form of debt that is an investment into the future. If they are not satisfied, they can sell off their homes.
In foreign affairs as well, we need to achieve many things, at the G77 dimension, in other meetings, including the development of our strategic outlook. Thailand is committed to proactively engaging with the international community and achieving tangible results in connectivity.
There is also the matter of legislation and the judicial system. How has this government focused on reforms in the legislative system?
Laws need to be modern and internationally acknowledged. We need to examine our old laws that are not in line with international standards and amend them to make them relevant to modern times. Issues that have yet to be covered will need to be drafted into legislation. We need to focus on amending laws instead of canceling them. However, amendments in one law can affect another, not to mention various organic laws or provisions. Therefore we must spend a considerable amount of time. What we can do is shorten the processes. We need to do what we can with the time that we have. This takes collaboration.
This past Wednesday, you visited Chiang Mai Province to follow up on various policies and how local administrations have carried out the government’s policies. Can you please talk about successes in this area?
We’ve mainly focused on solving the smog/haze issue in the region. I’ve urged that this issue be approached while seeking cooperation from neighboring countries as this matter affects the entire region.
We also integrated the workflow of organizations on land appropriation for commercial use. We’ve also followed up on the progress of the command center on solving the smog issue. This center will give out instructions to many agencies so that efforts will be concerted.
As for ASEAN, we’ve established a roadmap for a smog-free ASEAN by the year 2020. We’ve been able to reduce hotspots by 47 percent. Hot spots are the red spots that show up on the screen.
Community forest projects have been carried out in 450 villages in 2015 and 200 in 2016.
Towards the end of this program, would you like to talk about any activities that the public should know of?
I will summarize from now because I’ve talked a lot now. The government has been doing many things. However, I must talk about projects that people are waiting on to create understanding.
Today, I chaired the country’s annual startup event. I was pleased with efforts to mobilize our economy and create competitiveness by engaging the next generation. Businesses have collaborated more to enhance competitiveness. We are also including information technology to add value to projects. We’ve assisted in tax exemptions and created forums to serve as venues for meeting and networking with experts from various fields from 10 countries. The event included up to 200 startups.
Many Thais who studied abroad have come home to help develop the country. Many have also started up businesses because they see how the government has been supportive and really engaging. Many senior university students and graduates have also taken the effort to provide guidance to their junior colleagues at this event. I appreciate their efforts here. I also appreciate the help from university students rendered to me in all aspects and affirm my support for all of you.
The market at Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem will hold an event on May 11-13 on selling goods and discounted prices to reduce consumption costs. This will also happen in other provinces.
The market will sell school supplies and uniforms with discounts up to 40 percent. There will also be a “fix it center”, school and job exhibitions, showcases of inventions and innovations that won awards.
I would like for all citizens to render their cooperation with the government and the NCPO. If people obey the laws, there will be less conflict in our society. Please use good judgement when taking in information as there will be those who prefer to distort truths in order instigate more conflict. Their intentions are to harm. Mine are not and I have given you my all. Thank you for your cooperation and thank you for contributing to a brighter future together. Sawasdee krub.
This week, the Prime Minister has told us about security and economic issues and social policies. We must now step forward together to create a Thailand that is strong and prosperous. This is all the time we have for this week. See you again next week. Sawasdee ka.
In terms of creating standards for labour skills, the Ministry of Labor will be issuing certificates to skilled workers in 22 professions within 5 industries and services. Thailand also needs to prepare for an aging society in the near future. The country may also encounter labour shortages. Therefore, we also need to prepare for the era of Thailand 4.0 where investments and robotics will flourish. I have mentioned this many times.
I would like to inform the public that the government has undertaken many projects in this field. The government has launched an application called “Smart Labour”, we have set up a smart job center and the “Smart Job” application, we have been seeking employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and we have registered migrant workers from 3 nations.