Two days after the head of Thailand’s army declared martial law on the protest-ridden country, General Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday announced a military takeover of the government, explaining that a coup was necessary in order to maintain stability.
Chartchai Singhadeja, executive director of Thai Garment Manufacturers Association, said by phone that there are still no details as to how long the takeover would be, or what it would entail for the business community.
“[The army] think it’s the best way for the country if they take over the operations and start over again,” Chartchai said, adding that he welcomed such a drastic move from the military. “Before this, we were all lost in space. For six months, we did not know what the [situation of the] country was.”
He also said that while a coup d’etat might seem alarming from an international standpoint, it would ultimately bring security back to Thailand, which could boost investors’ confidence.
Thailand has been rocked with continuous demonstrations for the past six months as anti-government protesters called for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. She was officially removed from her position on May 9, but demonstrations continued in Bangkok as the caretaker prime minister is a part of the ruling party. Since the movement began in November, more than 20 people have been killed and about 700 protesters suffered injuries.
“[T]here are two main problems: the economic problem and the security problem. If we have to choose, security comes first, and then later, we will deal with the business problems,” Chartchai said. “This way is better than letting everything solve itself because I don’t think it will be solved.”
He added that the 400 exporting factories will run as usual, and that the city of Bangkok is functioning like normal — save for a few military checkpoints near “critical areas,” like by government buildings and ministries.
Thailand exported $2.87 billion worth of clothing last year, and TGMA is confident to forecast $3 billion worth of exports for 2014, despite the political unrest in the beginning of the year.
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