Private sector urges NCPO to lift martial law to woo tourists


BANGKOK, Aug 28 — A leading member of the Thai business community today urged the NCPO to end martial law.

Kobsak Pootrakool, executive vice president of Bangkok Bank, predicted that the Thai economy may expand by more than 2 per cent this year while calling for the martial law imposition to be lifted to attract tourists to support the economic growth.

Mr Kobsak said the Thai economy could grow by 3 per cent in the third quarter and by 5-6 per cent in the fourth quarter of this year.

Three important factors supporting the national economy — consumption, investment and government spending — have begun to drive the economy again, although exports had not recovered significantly.

He advised the government to implement the country’s planned megaprojects to boost investors’ confidence.

Expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport and building double-track railways, he said. and their implementation would demonstrate economic stimulation with investment, not consumption.

Mr Kobsak also said that the end of the martial law to woo foreign tourists could increase the Thai economic growth rate for this year by more than 2 per cent.

He noted that if the government achieved its national reform plan in the next 12 months, the Thai economy could recover and its growth rate would exceed 5 per cent next year.

Mr Kobsak also said that Thailand had better opportunities than other countries in the region regarding the formation of the ASEAN Community, so Thai operators should explore business opportunities in Southeast Asian countries.

Competitors like Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and China were doing so, he said.