Thursday, August 05, 2021

in-focus

Cabinet reshuffle, new public health minister necessary, say most CEOs


A recent survey of business leaders in Thailand showed that most believe a Cabinet reshuffle is necessary to effectively tackle the third Covid wave, which has sent the number of infections soaring and pushed the daily death toll into double digits.

In a survey conducted by Nation Group’s Bangkok Biz News, 55 per cent of the 200 CEOs said new talent was needed, 30 per cent said this government should step down, 21.3 per cent asked for clear, measurable solutions, while 12.2 per cent said the Parliament should be dissolved.

Meanwhile, 79.3 per cent said if there is a Cabinet reshuffle, then the public health minister should be changed, 35.2 per cent want the interior minister changed, while 31.6 per cent want both commerce and finance ministers changed.

The CEOs said the government should also come up with effective economic policies to cope with the crisis, with 82.8 per cent wanting the government to offer incentives like reduced taxes, lowered interest rates and extended payment periods, while 53 per cent said soft loans should be provided for small businesses that are severely affected. Meanwhile, 46.5 per cent called on the government to reduce or waive utility bills and 27.8 per cent said they want the state to offer remedies in a bid to stimulate spending.

The CEOs also called on the government to accelerate the vaccination roll-out and allow private hospitals to order vaccines.

Speed up inoculation drive

When asked what the government’s most urgent policy should be, 86.9 per cent said vaccination, 54.5 per cent urged help for the private sector, while all of said the government should provide more beds, treatment facilities and patient support.

More than 43 per cent called for strict penalties against violators of public health measures, while 42.9 per cent said telemedicine systems should be fully employed to serve patients in need.

As for measures to curb infections, 36 per cent want their home provinces to be locked down, 33.8 per cent want knowledgeable personnel to provide advice via hotlines or applications and 27.3 per cent said lockdown measures should be used in some provinces or even the entire country. CEOs also said the state should permanently shut down venues where cluster outbreaks were sparked and arrest Thais who have been bringing in illegal migrant workers and spreading new strains of the virus.

Ministers fail test

When asked to give the premier and economy and public health ministers a score out of 10, most CEOs gave them a “fail”.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha got just 1 point out of 10 from 24.9 per cent of the respondents for his work in solving the crisis, 5 points from 14.7 per cent, 3 points from 14.2 per cent and 6 points from 10.6 per cent. Only 2.5 per cent of the respondents gave him a full 10 points.

As for Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, 40 per cent gave him 1 point, 11.6 per cent gave him 2 and 15.7 per cent gave him 3 points. Only 1.5 per cent of the respondents gave him a perfect score.

Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who also oversees economic policy, got just 1 point from 23.4 per cent of the CEOS, 3 points from 13.7 per cent and 5 points from 14.7 per cent. Only 2.5 per cent gave him a full 10.

Similarly, Finance Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith got a failing grade from 19.5 per cent of the CEOS for his fiscal policy, 5 points from 14.9 per cent, but a full 10 from 1.5 per cent.

Published : April 28, 2021

By : The Nation