High-speed train offers development, improved quality of life but Thai Opposition doesn’t think so

Thailand Constitutional Court rejected the 2-trillion baht national projects. Mr. Chadchat Sittipunt, the Caretaker Transport Minister, said on Wednesday that the ruling is related primarily to legal matters which would authorise the Ministry of Finance to seek the money in loans outside of normal channels.

While nations in Southeast Asia are putting into place plans of action on improved transportation infrastructure, be it in Lao, Cambodia, or even Myanmar, Governments have acknowledged the requirement of growth. With development comes the unavoidable urbanisation that leads to meeting the needs of consumers.

Nations, specially those in the Mekong Region, are distancing themselves from traditional slow, and often costly in the long term, transportation, be it on land, sea or air. With connectivity trade flourish as businesses develop and the quality of life improves. Social factors, such as education, health care, tourism, are just among the few that will be elevated by connecting cities, towns and villages.

Mechanisms for accountability are needed, that said, not just for the trillion-baht project, rather for all. In such situation, even “independent organisations” in Thailand must be accountable and transparent. That by rule of law includes the courts and the decisions they make. Critics have questioned whether the rationale of decisions made reflect honesty and for the benefit of the people. I shall write about this in another topic.

Yingluck Shinawatra’s Government has the support of people outside of Bangkok. Population in many of the 76 provinces need access for expansion. ‎It has been stated by economic circles that the primary reason for the fierce opposition party objection is about profitability and in this situation the lack of profits for the opposition.

Thailand’s oldest political party, the elite-based Democrat Party, has fought tooth and nail against the high-speed train and transport projects. Political rivalry has led the Democrats to object to every single national project proposed by the Government regardless of the prospects for improving quality of life. Mr. Abhisit, an unpopular opposition leader who lost the national polls in 2011 to Ms. Yingluck, is bitterly against any development that does not bring wealth into the Democrats coffer.

After the Court’s ruling, Ms. Yingluck said, “We did it for the nation, so I want people to look at our intentions.”

Regardless of her explanation, Mr. Abhisit and the “Yellow Shirt” cohorts are determined to fight to the end. To the great disappointment of the majority, who support through their representatives in Parliament, all of them stand to lose now since the Constitutional Court and the Bangkok middle class ‎refuse to allow Thai people to be connected, and from there launch into the modern era.

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