In announcing the 2.75 trillion baht infrastructure spending plan, the largest in the history of the country, to facilitate the launch of the Asean Economic Community and the economic expansion of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was certain to command the attention of the nation. Being associated in the minds of voters with dramatic initiatives is usually a good strategy for a political leader, but now comes the hard part: Ms Yingluck must convince the public that the country stands to gain from spending the massive amount, most of which will come from loans, and fill in the picture with considerably more detail. She must explain to the country the value of specific projects to be funded. Above all, it should be laid out from the first what safeguards will be in place to ensure transparency.
But while the plan is sure to draw criticism from the other side of the political fence, it is likely that a similar regional infrastructure scheme would likewise be on the agenda if they were in power.
In her speech before the Thailand Investment Conference on Friday, Ms Yingluck stressed the importance of promoting connectivity by creating supply chain and logistics systems within the GMS, which comprises Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam as well as Yunnan and Guangxi provinces in China.
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