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‘Better Thailand’ forum attacked as govt propaganda, a waste of money

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The government has hit back at social media criticism that branded its “Better Thailand, Open Dialogue” event a propaganda exercise and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Held at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon on Thursday and Friday, the event saw Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha take the stage to talk about his government’s achievements and Thailand’s future direction.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Friday that the event was sponsored by private partners and did not use government budget.

It was hosted by three Chulalongkorn alumni associations as well as the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), which represents the Board of Trade, Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Banker’s Association.

The ministers of energy and finance and the Bank of Thailand governor were among at least 35 speakers at the forum, which was broadcast live on YouTube.

However, the event saw sparse attendance with many of the seats unoccupied even during the PM’s keynote speech.

“The event was a collaboration among Chulalongkorn University’s alumni associations from the faculties of engineering, commerce and accountancy, and economics, the Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries, and the Thai Bankers' Association,” said Thanakorn.

“The government did not spend a single baht on this event,” he said, adding that the budget was provided by PTT Group and other private companies.

“The prime minister and participating ministers used the forum to convey government policies to the public, which should help in moving the country forward and creating mutual understanding between the government and the people,” Thanakorn said.

Published : May 21, 2022