Matchima, Populist Policy, and PrachaiBy Bangkok Pundit Oct 25, 2007 12:06AM UTC
I have previously blogged on Democrat Party, Chat Thai, and PPP TV ads, but there is another political party with ads on Thai TV. The newly formed and also newly renamed Matchima Thippatai, led by Prachai Leophai-ratana, have a new TV ad where they promise free education until the end of university, free healthcare, and a social welfare system of up to 1,500 baht a month for the elderly.
COMMENT: Why not just go the whole hog and throw in free beer too? If Thaksin and TRT were such big spenders, what should one call Matchima Thippatai?
Their policy sounds like an update to the policy advocated by the 2005 Democrats although Abhisit recently ruled out free university education under a Democrat government so there is some point of distinction. The current military-installed civilian government has already made healthcare “free” so I am not sure how “freer” they intend to make it here. Unsurprisingly, they are very short on details now and don’t state how they will finance such policies.
I do hope the media will ask for costings and further details of policies promised by each party. Many policies will need to be fleshed out over the next couple of months, but policies cost money and no party should be able to get away without stating how these policies will be financed as a Post Today editorial, translated by the Bangkok Post noted (cache):
However, none of these parties has declared how they will get the money for the projects. Therefore, economic experts should analyse these economic platforms and spell out their good and weak points. This will help the electorate make a good decision at the polls.
Good ole Prachai was in full display in the ad. Word on the street is that he is financially backing a number of different “third alternative” political parties. There is another ad which solely focuses on Prachai and doesn’t make any mention of the party – will this continue beyond today as election advertising is now banned? It talks up his “leadership qualities” and his achievements in “successfully” running his company. This reminds me of Nattakorn’s op-ed (cache) last week in the Bangkok Post. Key quote:
The real disappointment here lies in Somsak, for why would he associate himself with the likes of Sondhi and Prachai, knowing full well what these two are after. If this is not an about-face U-turn, I wouldn’t know what is. Please don’t tell me it is because of the money; that answer is not good enough. And let’s not even compare Prachai to Thaksin.
One ran his company into the ground, amassing millions of dollars of debt after the financial crisis, and is still bent on a personal vendetta that dates back to as far as July 1997.
The other made his company into a multi-billion-dollar telecommunications conglomerate before becoming foreign affairs minister and deputy prime minister.
If Thaksin is not fit to be leader, Prachai certainly does not even come close.
It is fair for society to question the motive behind Prachai’s push for the premier’s post. If not to pursue a personal cause in reclaiming Thai Petrochemical Industry, what then is it for?
This is not necessarily a man who has ostensibly fought for political causes in the past, except for ones which related to his own firms.
COMMENT: Will he go back to his little sand bit once all the kids give him his little toy (TPI) back? Exactly, how does he expect to get TPI back? Buy out the shareholders at full market value? Or “nationalize” the assets and “donate” them to the Leophai-ratana clan?