Businessmen prepared for ‘Bangkok shutdown’


BANGKOK, Jan 7 – Thailand’s private sector is urging other sectors in Thai society to work together to resolve the escalating political unrest in light of the planned ‘seizure’ of Bangkok on January 13 by anti-government protesters.

Issara Wongkusolkit, president of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), said the political stalemate has deteriorated Thailand’s economy and all sectors will meet to discuss solutions to the problems in the next few days.

Political parties in the government and opposition blocs, the Constitution Court, academics, social networks and community development agencies should work out solutions to end the conflicts, he said.

He said seven private organisations had earlier proposed a way out for the country but the growing political dispute has worsened the economy.

He said private business organisations –particularly the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA), the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and the Board of Trade– were instructed to inform their members to be alert to possible business inconveniences on January 13 when Bangkok will be paralysed by citywide demonstrations.

FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsuthipol said the JSCCIB  objected to violence and called for peaceful solutions to the political crisis and impact on the general public during the anticipated January 13 “Bangkok shutdown.”

He said the original projection of economic growth at 3-4 per cent this year may be dropped to only 1 per cent, or Bt120 billion.

TBA president Chartsiri Sophonpanich said commercial banks are prepared for the seizure of Bangkok and some bank branches in risk-prone areas will be allowed to suspend service.

He gave assurances that ATM machines in the capital will have sufficient cash for withdrawal.