Lose the gun scheme

Re: "Stamping out gun crime", (Editorial, Oct 5).

With all the calls from the government and others to do something about gun crime and gun control in the wake of the Siam Paragon tragedy, I haven't seen any suggestion that the government plans to rein in its own gun retailing business.

The Interior Ministry's Civil Service Welfare Scheme is the largest importer and distributor of firearms for civilian use. It imports up to 200,000 guns of all types annually for sale to civil service and state enterprise employees at a discount.

Many of these are used in crimes and some are found by police in neighbouring countries. Given that the retail value of this business must be up to 10 billion baht a year, it is understandable that the Interior Ministry would find it hard to let go and it might also be left with a lot of unsold stock, if it shut it down and ceased issuing permits to civilians.

However, the Interior Ministry is also responsible for gun control. So it should set a good example by sacrificing this business which is inappropriate for a government agency to have and creates a conflict of interest with the ministry's role as the regulator of firearms.

George Morgan

Tax plan turnoff

Re: "Overseas earnings targeted", (BP, Sept 19).

Is the proposed tax on foreign income in Thailand's national interest?

Suggestions that foreigners who don't like the new tax on foreign income should simply leave are at best naive and fail to reflect the interests of the nation. Those who understand Thailand's economy know it is heavily dependent on foreign currency remittance. Foreign currency inflows act as a critical support for the baht, and remains an important driver of the Thai economy.

This is the reason respective Thai governments worked tirelessly to attract affluent long-stay foreigners to its shores. The new tax on foreign incomes will work to undermine decades of progress in this critical policy area. Good faith cannot simply be restored by reversing this ill-conceived policy once the damage is done.

Tax planning is the single most important consideration for affluent foreigners. The many residency programmes offered around the world, many even in EU countries, make an effort to exempt long-stay foreign residents from taxes on their foreign income remittances. So fierce is the competition for foreign currency inflows that some countries go to extraordinary lengths to lure affluent foreigners, providing access to social services, the benefit of permanent residents and even a clear path to citizenship.

If the new tax proposal is implemented on Jan 1, from a tax perspective, Thailand will become one of the least attractive destinations for foreigners. The new tax proposal will force many affluent foreigners, and their critical foreign currency inflow, to more tax-friendly shores, and those that do remain will be reluctant to remit more than meet their basic needs.

This will not only slow foreign currency inflows, putting further downward pressure on the baht, adding to inflation and necessitating the Bank of Thailand to increase interest rates, but it has the potential to inflict serious and permanent damage on major sectors of the Thai economy. The Thai property sector has the most to lose as Thai residency loses its appeal to foreigners, but it does not stop there, discretionary spending on motor vehicles, luxury goods, healthcare services and even finance and insurance services are all at risk.

Not to mention the loss of indirect taxes generated by long-stay foreigners, such as stamp duties and value-added taxes. Far from meaningfully contributing to the funding of the stimulus, the tax on foreign income remitted will make the situation much worse and may even create more inequality and suffering for ordinary Thais.

MP Foscolos

Respect is earned

Re: "Let's stay respectful", (PostBag, Oct 4).

In his usual reasoned and respectful way, Burin Kantabutra makes the case for why "chef Ari Alexander Guojonsson should be condemned for berating Senator Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan out of his restaurant in Iceland over her political views". He is correct that "all are entitled to voice their opinion, but all involved must show respect for their opponents". Therein lies the problem, the pertinent reason why reason and respect sometimes fail.

Thai law, Thai tradition is protected by that same law, and in this case the current Thai senate created by that law to do exactly what it has recently done, refuses to accept that "all are entitled to voice their opinion", no matter how peacefully or respectfully they do so. The maintenance of that same law is the explicit reason the senate gave for refusing to respect the people by endorsing the government that Thais voted for on May 14. Sen Porntip agreed with the Senate's reason contradicting Khun Burin's rightful reminder that "all are entitled to voice their opinion".

A pertinent current example is that Thailand's internationally honoured human rights advocate Arnon Nampa, recipient of South Korea's 2021 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, today remains in prison under those same laws.

When reasoned, open dialogue is denied to them, people reasonably choose other ways to express their deep feelings. Mr Guojonsson's outburst was a performative act. It was intended to convey an attitude, not to argue for a position in an academic debate, which debates can also become passionate. As the expression of an attitude intended to induce the same in its audience, the restaurant outburst is on a par with such performative acts as the state opening of parliament or a tradition-bound procession through the streets.

Khun Burin correctly concludes that "noisy confrontation, such as the chef's or harassment, is the anathema of truth-seeking", but at failing to respect different views, it pales compared to a law that actively criminalises truth-seeking.

Felix Qui

End is not near

Re: "Scorching reminder", (PostBag, Oct 3) & "The roots of the global water crisis", (Opinion, Sept 29).

Ioan Voicu writes: "Knowing that July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded in human history, which affected water worldwide, we must recognise that the climate crisis is one of the most urgent threats."

His admittance is based on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who curiously resembles an over-boiled egg, ceremoniously announced, "the era of global boiling has arrived".

Such people are irresponsible, unelected, politically programmed bureaucrats who know nothing about science. The warming they refer to has been generated from existing NOAA data assembled by the US Historical Climatology Network, which revealed a cooling trend beginning in the 1930s. That is until "adjustments" were made, which incorporated anomalies that permitted the existing data to align with data modelling projections. The government gives the following excuse for their data tampering: "Anomalies more accurately describe climate variability over larger areas than absolute temperatures do." Altering data to fit an agenda is the epitome of corrupt science. It is how we got "safe and effective" from useless and deadly.

Data without "adjustments" show a cooling trend -- with "adjustments" we get global boiling. The climate emergency is a scam of unbridled proportions, easy to spot if you look beyond the hysteria and the hype.

Michael Setter

Know your history

Re: "Armenia's latest exodus: Not a genocide", (Opinion, Oct 3).

I find columnist Gwynne Dyer's portrayal of the events of 1915 as "the Armenian genocide of 1915, which is a real historical fact" untrue and misleading. Genocide, which is a clearly defined crime in international law, should not be used loosely to describe the tragic event that took place in an empire on the verge of collapse, fighting for survival on multiple fronts.

World War I and the final years of the Ottoman Empire were a tragic period for all its citizens. Nearly 4.5 million Muslim Ottomans perished in the last 50 years of the empire, while about 5 million were driven away from their ancestral homes to find shelter in Istanbul and Anatolia.

Privileging the Armenian rhetoric on an issue subject to legitimate scholarly debate does not do justice to such grievances experienced by so many. Compassion becomes problematic if it is selective.

In addition, it is far from fair to degrade centuries of Turkish-Armenian relationship of peaceful coexistence and friendship to an incriminating version of the tragic events of 1915.

Such an approach only makes it difficult for the Turkish and Armenian nations to come to terms openly with their common history and draw the right lessons from it.

That is why Turkiye has initiated a process aimed at an honest and open dialogue with Armenia. I believe a successful conclusion of this process will not only benefit the two peoples but also put an end to one-sided, biased and ill-informed portrayals of history like the one in this opinion piece.

Ayse Aytun
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