Thailand’s Constitution and international business

According to news reports, changes to the 2007 Constitution are being recommended. Some of the changes involve key articles that keep bad boy politicians in check.

Changing Thailand’s Constitution is 100% Thai business and to encourage change from the outside would simply be seen as wrong. However non Thai business owners will be basing investment decisions on what happens to the Constitution, and that could help or hurt Thailand depending on what type of business they want to attract.

Nothing is easy when it comes to quality. The extra mile must be driven to insure a quality product. You can buy cheap products that look nice and fall apart after a short period of time. Or you can buy a quality product that will do more than simply look nice. It is this difficult task that is not typically associated with Thailand.

To be an honest politician in Thailand who puts the country first is not an easy task. In fact Prime Minister Abhisit is the exception and not the rule. One of the constitutional changes recommended will make it easier for corrupt politicians to get into and stay in office. Seeing that corrupt politicians often have their hands in the pockets of non Thai companies, this change to the Constitution could hurt Thailand financially in the long run.

Talking to non Thai business owners, everyone will tell you it seems every time you turn around there is some new requirement or regulation that simply makes it harder to stay in Thailand. The regulations seem to have no reason to exist except to have a smaller hoop to jump through. However when you look at it more closely, it is just another way to bleed money from the non Thai business. The person who came up with the new requirement often is a recipient of that money in one way or another. To stop this type of practice requires changes from the top down, and Thailand’s Constitution is the first link in the chain.

Taking the same scenario with a new regulation, politicians can intervene and make the new requirement simply go away. If this is starting to sound like a protection money shakedown, that is exactly what it is, and it happens all the time. For smaller businesses it tends to be the police who step into this roll. For example a bar may want to have longer hours at night, so paying off the police lets them stay open. Once again to change this starts at the first link of the chain.

So when a company decides to set up in Thailand or not, the strength of the Constitution will be part of that decision making process. The availability of quality jobs for the Thai people rests entirely in the hands of the Thai people who look to either serve themselves or serve the country. The business and investment world will be watching. So to coin a classic phrase from an Indiana Jones movie ‘Choose wisely’.

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