Asia Economy

Thai PM Seeks to Reassure Investors After Flood Damage

With Thailand recovering from the worst flooding to hit the country in decades, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says the government is serious about solving the country's long-term problems and will invest in water management to ensure such flooding doesn't happen again.

Yingluck Shinawatra, the opposition Puea Thai party candidate and sister of fugitive Thai ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, speaks during a press conference after becoming the Southeast Asian kingdom's first female prime minister.
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Her comments come amid heavy criticism by some foreign manufacturerswho said the administration's response to the flooding was less than adequate.

"Please be confident in Thailand and invest in Thailand," Shinawatra told CNBC on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

"We won't let this kind of bad impression or bad thing come through Thailand again," Shinawatra said.

Shinawatra said the government would use the flooding as an opportunity to redesign the whole system of water management. She also said the government was keen to boost domestic consumption and would proceed with its plan to raise the minimum wage, even though some corporate leaders have warned it will raise the cost of doing business just when the economy risks a slowdown.

"We have to go back to the basics of Thailand's problem, Shinawatra said. "The Thailand problem is we have a wide gap of higher income and lower income. So (increasing)) the minimum wage is one way (to) bridge (the) gap."

Thaksin Amnesty

A proposed pardon for thousands, including Yingluck's brother - the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawtra - has angered the opposition. But Yingluck said the list of those to be pardoned has yet to be decided.

"It's normal of the royal pardon every year before the king's birthday... They have to work on the legal (aspects). After that, the committee will select the name(s). So there are still many processes...It's not done yet."