The business sector is calling for a new government to be quickly established and its policies to be agreed upon by the coalition parties, saying this will greatly affect the country's confidence.
"As for the policies of the leading and participating parties, we have to wait and see which political parties will be part of the government. There will likely be discussions and agreements on each party's policies before announcing them to the parliament, which will make the policies clear. However, if we look at the party that has the opportunity to form the government early on, what we will likely see as the focus is the acceleration of legal reforms and various welfare policies," said Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Nevertheless, according to Mr Sanan, the notable observation in this election is that no party has overwhelmingly won, allowing the top two parties to join hands with each other or for the new government to come in various formulas. "However, today, every sector wants to see a stable government that can continuously govern without interruption," he said.
Mr Sanan says it is normal to see young people taking on leadership roles. (Photo supplied)
From the perspective of the private sector, Mr Sanan said it is considered normal to see young people taking on leadership roles in the country.
"Many countries have young leaders, such as England, France, and Canada. However, the important thing is the integration of knowledgeable and capable individuals in governing the country, just as in the business sector today, where we see a considerable number of successful young entrepreneurs," he said.
According to Mr Sanan, this election also clearly shows that the public is highly engaged, with nearly 40 million people exercising their voting rights, exceeding 75% of eligible voters, which accounts for 52 million people.
"What is evident is that people of all age groups have made the decision to vote for the two major parties, exceeding 50% in the party list system, indicating that the majority of the population wants to see a change," he added.
STABILITY MOST VITAL
Chaichan Chareonsuk, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, said the council wants the new administration and elected politicians to prioritise the nation's interests and expedite their efforts, particularly in establishing stability and reducing conflicts.
Mr Chaichan urged the new government to prioritise the nation's interests.
He said that government stability will lead to high confidence among foreign investors and a flourishing tourism industry due to the absence of conflicts, thus generating greater income for Thailand.
Regarding exports, the private sector has also called on the new government to address production costs such as electricity bills and energy expenses, and provide liquidity support for small and medium-sized enterprises. This is crucial as major export markets, including the US, Europe, and China, are currently experiencing a slowdown.
Additionally, it is essential to foster and maintain relationships with countries in the Middle East, such as through the Thai-United Arab Emirates Free Trade Agreement (FTA), along with the Thai-EU FTA.
According to Mr Chaichan, the private sector and the government sector have been working together to implement the export stimulus plan in the second half of the year. A joint meeting is scheduled for May 25.
Choosri Kietkajornkul, chief executive of Ratch Group Plc, Thailand's second-largest private power producer by capacity, said Thailand needs to solve its expensive electricity prices, but any government plan to reduce power tariffs must be carefully considered, making sure they are fair to power companies.
She was referring to an idea suggested by energy advocates, who asked authorities to review power purchase agreements (PPA) made with power companies.
The deals, each lasting 25 years, commit the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to pay for electricity for the whole period. This is known as an "availability payment" (AP), though the actual usage may be less during the agreed-upon time frame.
An AP ensures electricity is always available to avoid blackouts, but it increases the power tariff.
AP is among the factors blamed for expensive power bills.
If the new government wants to look into this matter, it needs to carefully consider whether or not to adjust parts of the PPA in order to avoid a negative impact on power producers, because a PPA is made under international standards, said Ms Choosri.
A PPA revision may spark concerns among loan providers to power companies, which may eventually affect their financial credit, she said.
The Indonesian government previously tried to control electricity bills during the financial crash of 1997 by delaying electricity payments for power firms. But the method was temporary, lasting only three years, according to Ms Choosri.
One way to slow down a Thai power tariff surge would be to delay plans to build new power plants as they increase electricity costs, said Ms Choosri.
CAPITAL MARKET ASPECTS
Chavinda Hanratanakool, chief executive of Krungthai Asset Management and chairwoman of Asset Investment Management Companies, said she acknowledged the Move Forward Party's policy focus on the welfare of the Thai people but would like to hear about more economic policies, especially those related to the capital market, which is vital to the country's economic growth.
"I would like to hear its plan about budget spending, which must be balanced with revenue management to create financial stability and long-term investment confidence. The increase of government revenue should not create a lot of burden on the consumers who are already shouldering high costs of living now," she told the Bangkok Post.
"We also want the government to allow government agencies to remain independent. The government should respect independent organisations, whether they are economic or social agencies, without intervention because it could affect their credibility and jeopardise confidence."
The social and economic restructuring that the Move Forward Party wants should be done step by step to avoid creating any conflict so that society can remain peaceful, she said.
Economic ministers are important and they should have special knowledge and experience with the ability to manage the economy without interruption amidst recession risks from outside Thailand, said Ms Chavinda, adding that fiscal stability should be maintained and the baht should be managed and not fluctuate too much.
A change in government and policy will cause concerns for investors, she said, but the business sector awaits the formation of the new administration and hopes everything continues without economic faltering.