Thailand is currently going through critically difficult times. Consumer confidence is in a steady decline. Prolonged political
uncertainties are forcing investors to wait at the sidelines as they try to understand the complexities of the situation and their
implications to future investments.
Those who are resident here appreciate and enjoy the conducive environment for work and business in this country. People are extremely friendly. Tolerance and harmony are clearly evident everywhere. The labour force is available in sufficient supply, and motivated to learn. One can find many adjectives, both positive and superlative, to describe Thailand and its people.
With such an understanding, we are thus confounded by current developments in the country. However, as foreigners, we remain unable to understand the complexities involved. We can only hope and pray that, in accordance with the Buddhist teaching, the Thai people will be able to find the middle path, and find a resolution to the confusion in the months ahead.
Unless this is done expeditiously, the damage will become more serious. One consequence will be that the government machinery will continue to function in limbo and further erode the strong economic foundation that has been laid down over the past ten years.
During the past twelve months Malaysians have invested over 500 million dollars in Thailand. On the other hand, during the same period, Thai investment in Malaysia has been negligible; probably partly as a result of current uncertainties. Similarly the large Japanese investment in Thailand may be affected too. Already there are strong indications of a possible slowdown in Japanese investments if the uncertainties remain prolonged.
My sincere hope is that the people of this Land of Smiles will come together, close ranks, and work as a team to return the country to its rightful place as a hub of ASEAN, and towards a steady and sustainable growth for the benefit of everyone.