Thailand’s transport minister rattled off the list of projects underway, delayed and still on the drawing boards as he sought to defend the government’s efforts amid the country’s historic recession at a forum in Pattaya.
The “MoT 2020: Move on Together” forum was a public-relations platform for Transport Minister Saksiam Chidchob to detail the many transportation and logistics projects envisioned under the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor program.
Panelists at the Oct. 8 forum at the Dusit Thani Hotel also included Chonburi Gov. Pakarathorn Thienchai and Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh.
There were no new projects or news announced with the minister simply spending long periods of time to describe the litany of government-funded projects in their various stages.
Saksiam claimed the government has been working tirelessly to raise Thailand out of the economic doldrums caused by its extreme measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Critics increasingly have blasted the government’s economic leadership as incompetent, as exemplified by the parade of three finance ministers in the Cabinet over the past year.
A former transport minister has now been put in charge of the economy.
The current transport minister cited completion of the Maptaput extension of Highway 7, Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Road and five other projects as evidence of the hard work. Two more road-infrastructure projects have been budgeted for 2021, he said.
He also tempted the construction of high-speed rail projects linking the country’s three main airports, although that has been delayed indefinitely.
Among other projects planned but not yet even budgeted are development of a new pier in Pattaya and islands in the East, dams to prevent coastal erosion and new cruise ship terminals.
He said the ministry also was working on improving road safety through installation of rolling rubber guardrails, which also would benefit rubber farmers.