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[ 2015-01-24 ]

Yingluck impeachment verdict 'unlikely to hurt govt, economy'

LEADING FINANCIAL and business figures do not expect the National Legislative Assembly's impeachment of ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra to hurt the government, as they believe law and order will be maintained by the military government.

That is the opinion held by Thai Bankers Association secretary-general Kobsak Duangdee, CIMB Thai Bank Research Centre boss Amonthep Chawla, Board of Trade of Thailand and Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Isara Vongkusolkit and Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand chairman Stanley Kang.

But Amonthep said investors might wait to see if there is any civil unrest before making an investment decision.

Isara, an NLA member, said businesses and the public in general now had more faith in the rule of law and law enforcement in the Kingdom.

"There may be some group of people who speak out against the impeachment, but it should not lead to serious conflict as the [impeachment] vote was transparent," Isara said. "The case should be a good example for the country and help people realise the leadership and morality that is expected of a leader."

Isara said the business sector would now have more confidence in the enforcement and predictability of the rule of law, and everybody should accept the judgement as it came from a majority vote.

Supant said the impeachment would not affect the business sector and investment sentiment if there were no violent protests, and the decision might increase confidence in the country in terms of the rule of law.

"There would be no impact even if there is protests against the decision as long as the protests are not prolonged and do not turn into violence," he said. 

"Political demonstrations are a norm in every country and if the protests do not cause a protracted problem, than investors and businesses will continue to have confidence and the sentiment to invest will still be there."

Kang said that with martial law still in place, foreign investors would still have confidence even if there were protests, as long as they were peaceful. 

"We do not want to see a political situation that will affect Thailand's economic situation at the moment as the global economic situation is becoming more and more unstable," he said. "It would also be hard to return to a stable political situation again."

He added that if Yingluck believed that she was innocent then she should continue to fight in the courts because the rule of law should be equitable for everyone.

Banthoon Lamsam, chairman of the board at Kasikornbank, said that every legal decision led to people being either happy or unhappy and that was always going to be the case with Yingluck, but the administration of the country must continue.

Thailand is moving forward, he said, and there would be no conflict while the government stayed in control.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Council of Thailand urged the government to ensure foreign tourists did not lose any more confidence in the country.

TCT president Ittirit Kinglake said tourists in key markets such as Europe, Australia, Japan, China, and United States still had concerns about travelling here. 

He called on the government to beef up security and safety measures in order to regain tourist confidence. 

He said Thai tourism was also facing uncertainty from other factors including the instability of the global economy and competition. 

"Martial law should be lifted soon as the private sector has been urging for months. 

"If it remains, the tourism sector will continue to have difficulties," he said.