The Nation



Private groups form panel to seek national reforms

Seven private organisations set up a committee yesterday to draft a plan for national reform to be proposed to political parties, as part of efforts to seek ways to end the ongoing conflict in Thailand.

The committee consists of representatives from the Tourism Council of Thailand, the Thai Bankers' Association, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations, the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Thai Listed Companies Association, as well as organisations that have the same goal in helping to end the conflict.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who presided over the meeting, said although a national election would be held within 60 days after the government dissolved the Parliament, the crisis would not end if the country could not find joint solutions to solve ongoing conflicts.

The seven private organisations offered themselves as a committee to set up a dialogue and called on organisations that agree with a peaceful solution in which all people help achieve a reform agenda for politics, to defend social and economic well-being and fight corruption.

The proposal would be drawn up before the election, as reform must be done for all stakeholders in the country, not just people in the conflicting parties, Isara said.

He said the committee discussed the possibility of inviting foreign groups to join - but this aspect was not finalised.

Thai Bankers' Association secretary-general Twatchai Yongkittikul said the deep-seated conflict was the biggest issue for the country, so the private sector agreed that economic growth should not be their top priority.

"It is too selfish for the country if we are giving importance to the economy rather than how to quickly solve social matters and the political conflict. We do believe if corruption is solved, the economy will improve by itself," he said.

Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn, chair of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations, said that even with the House being dissolved, the sentiment of stock traders had not improved yet because the conflict remained. Foreign investors were not confident as the national conflict had not been solved.

"Yet, the dissolution has helped solve some uncertainty, so if the country gets the right solutions within a certain timeframe, we hope the stock market will return to positive movement," he said.

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