Thai PM urges unity in the coming year

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra asked people yesterday to "think positively", be merciful and compassionate to others and listen to each other in order to welcome new opportunities and allow the country to achieve sustainable development.

"In the New Year, please join hands and generate the power of positive thinking [in order to] bring happiness.

May Thais have good health and receive whatever they wish for," she said during her weekly television programme.

Yingluck thanked the state and private sectors as well as the public for joining hands in getting through the flood crisis late last year and rehabilitating the country.

She said she had boosted foreign countries' confidence in investing in Thailand.

The government was preparing for the Asean Economic Community by developing infrastructure, including in the provinces, especially in the areas of English proficiency and trade laws.

"To make the economy strong and grow, exports, state investment and private-sector investment must go together. The private sector is a key player; the government is just a mediator that promotes investment opportunities and reduces obstacles, as well as creating confidence in trade and investment.

"In the past we have seen a lot of tourists coming to Thailand, and we see opportunities for future investment [in this sector]. Therefore, 2013 is deemed a year of development," she said, adding that the government aimed to improve the quality of life for the people, especially welfare for children, women, the elderly and the underprivileged. It would also develop systematically instead of letting ministries work separately.

Later in the programme, video clips were displayed touting the government's work according to its 16 urgent policies.

At a press conference, Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut faulted the government's performance in six areas, including higher fuel prices and lower agricultural product prices, and increases in the trade deficit and public debt over the previous year. He also cited irregularities in implementation of government policies and said the country lacked a real leader, as senior members of the administration looking to fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra for orders.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Jirayu Huangsap, meanwhile, nicknamed the Democrats "the CNS's Guard", referring to the 2006 coup-making body the Council for National Security, and said the opposition was "an opposition in front of the Ammat's [the Elite's] Curtain". He said people most loved Yingluck's statement that "As a Thai, I want to see the money amount more than the [amount of the rice in] tonnes."

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