Thailand’s government is doing a good job, a good job at sending the absolute wrong message to people who may want to invest in Thailand. By showing active support for a man that the rest of the world recognizes as a convicted fugitive on the run, spells headaches to avoid in the eyes of potential investors.
When the British government canceled the visas of Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife who are both on the run, it put this story on the front page or at least on the news in every country. It simply spelled out that both Thaksin and his wife were undesirable and not wanted in the United Kingdom. It said the British government respects the ruling of the Thai supreme court and the court’s ruling is respected internationally. That is supported by the Philippine government announcing in advance that they would deny Thaksin asylum should he ask.
The issue about Thaksin’s red diplomatic passport is becoming an international issue too. Most countries are very quick to cancel travel documents of fugitives on the run. In many cases it is an automatic process that takes less that a week to finish. Part of the wrong signal the Thai government is sending is tied to Thaksin’s red passport. It provides a level of diplomatic immunity that convicted fugitives and trouble makers should not have. Imagine having someone in your country knowing he or she shows no respect for the law and you can see how immensely disrespectful this looks and is to the host country.
Thaksin is showing absolutely no respect for the law and rejects his conviction. His active attacks on who he sees as enemies only adds to the problem and puts stress on international relationships between countries. Thaksin will make trouble and the host government will not have the means to stop him because of diplomatic immunity. In short every day Thaksin is allowed to keep his red diplomatic pass port, is another day Thaksin’s host country must endure disrespect from the Thai government. The other red problem is the pro government pro Thaksin supporters have chosen for whatever reason the color red.
Right along it has been the red color that has been associated with violence and seeming disrespect for Thai patriots. Those patriots fight to keep their country from being stolen and run by crooks who display double and sometimes triple standards. It is because of the double and triple standards that companies and investors are staying away from Thailand in droves. In Thailand the color red has a big black spot on it that may or may not grow into a black list. Companies see they must deal with a government who very likely will seek to extort money from them one way or another.
Investors also see that the Thai government seemingly has no respect for the law and authority as they are so actively seeking to rip up the Constitution that was designed to keep corrupt politicians in check. This all spells bad news that should be avoided.
In what is seemingly one wrong move after another, The governments desire to set Thaksin free is absolutely the wrong message. Foreigners that live in Thailand can very quickly sort out what is going on and who the bad guys are. It is with the same ease that investors and other governments can come to exactly the same conclusion. With the government trying so hard to save Thaksin, they are killing Thailand in the process.
Already tourism in Thailand is way down. When you can walk into a department store and find 3 or 4 sales associates for every customer, something is wrong. That can be traced back to Thailand’s government too. When the now ex-Prime Minister Samak called a state of emergency in Bangkok in the height of the holiday planning month, other non Thai destinations were chosen by potential tourists.
The increasingly angry vengeance tainted tone Thaksin has been spewing the last few days only reinforces that the Thai government is on the wrong path in the eyes of potential investors. Thaksin’s comments that he wants to go after his enemies spells the sound of major problems. One must assume that his enemies now include the judges of the supreme court as the fact remains they did convict him. That list also most certainly includes people who are very close to the King and other members of the royal family.
Thailand’s government is on the wrong path and they must give up Thaksin if they hope to salvage Thailand on their watch.