Thailand’s PM assures no quid pro quo with 20 billionaires
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha gave his assurance today that the Government has no intention whatsoever of begging for or borrowing money from the country’s 20 richest people, after he invited them for discussions about how they could help to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister floated his idea, about seeking help from the 20 unidentified super-rich tycoons, during his live televised address last Friday. The idea has, however, drawn widespread criticism on social media, with many accusing the Government of being a beggar, while others suggest that the tycoons will demand concessions from the Government in return for their help.
The Prime Minister told a news conference, after the cabinet meeting today, that his Government is still financially stable and there is no need to borrow or beg money from the tycoons.
He maintained that his idea is to talk to the tycoons about working together, to make sure that those working in their organizations are taken care of, which will help supplement the Government’s efforts to assist people affected by business closures.
He assured his detractors, and the public, that there would be no quid pro quo and asked his critics not to distort his initiative, adding that he welcomes ideas and input from the other stakeholders to help the country to weather the economic crisis.
Regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Prime Minister said that he had not yet set the timeline for the relaxation of some measures, noting that he has to consult with the medical professionals best placed to understand the coronavirus situation.
He cautioned against a premature lowering of the guard, saying “if we do it too quickly, the outbreak may erupt again and all our efforts would have been in vain. I have to be especially cautious about this matter.”
He did say, however, that the cabinet will consider, at its meeting next Tuesday, whether to extend the state of emergency, which is due to expire at the end of this month.