Poll: Economy, violence, politics and drugs top Thai people’s woes


BANGKOK, Dec 17 – Economic constraints, violence in Thailand’s South, political conflicts, constitutional amendment and drug trafficking are the five topmost concerns among Thai people, according to an independent survey. 

The poll, conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, reveals that 40.26% of the respondents complained about economic hardship, rocketing commodity prices and inability to make ends meet, saying they have to think twice before spending, buy only necessities and find extra jobs to earn additional income.

The decade-long crisis in Thailand’s far South bothers 18.57% of the people most, who proposed military and police reinforcement and harsher punishment against insurgents in the region.

Of three other concerns raised in the survey, 17.53% said they wished for an end to the years of ongoing political conflicts and looked forward to national reconciliation, 12.30% feel uneasy with the public uproars over constitution amendment and 11.34% wanted efficient action on drug problem.

Asked about their sympathy for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, half of the respondents pitied her for widespread corruption in various government projects, 20% cited her political inexperience and inept public speeches, almost one-fifth feel sorry for her inability to act independently due to ex-premier Thaksin’s (her brother’s) shadow over her, and 12.38% say pressure on her is extreme, especially from the opposition and academics.

Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is sympathised by almost half of the respondents for the murder charge against him by the Department of Special Investigation, which accused him of conspiring in the murder of civilians during the 2010 political upheaval. One-third of them say it’s an uphill task for Mr Abhisit, as leader of the opposition bloc, to check the performance of the government which enjoys a majority in the Lower House. Some respondents say it is unfair that Mr Abhisit’s personal issues, including military conscription, were brought up and attacked again, and his Democrat Party is isolated in the opposition bloc.

What will dampen people’s merriment most during the New Year holiday? Their replies are accident and traffic congestion (35.79%), exorbitant commodity prices, insufficient money to spend and give as gifts to parents (25.74%), domestic unrest, political conflicts and rallies (19.31%), crisis in three southernmost provinces of Thailand (13.87%) and natural disaster and the predicted doomsday (5.29%).