Ex-finance minister slams Prayut govt for agreeing to sell land to rich foreigners
Former finance minister Suchart Thadadamrongvej, who was once Pheu Thai Party leader, condemned the government for letting rich foreigners buy up land in Thailand.
Suchart said on Sunday that he believes the policy will do more harm than good and will make Thais poorer.
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved the Interior Ministry’s proposal to let foreigners purchase houses and up to 1 rai of land if they can show an investment of at least 40 million baht.
This regulation will be in effect for five years after it is published in the Royal Gazette, which the government says will be soon.
Suchart pointed out that the cost of living in Thailand is affordable compared to other developed countries, which is why the value of the baht is low against the dollar. This means, most rich foreigners will find land in Thailand very cheap and will buy up huge swathes for speculation.
This, he said, will push up the prices and even middle-class Thais will find the cost of land and houses unaffordable.
“In other words, this policy will make Thais poorer,” he said.
[Read also: LTR, 40m baht investment necessary for foreigners to buy land in Thailand]
He warned that the situation will be much like wealthy urbanites buying up farmland for speculation and leaving farmers landless.
Suchart also warned that there is a chance that foreigners will buy up land and hire locals to look after it or lease it to them for a profit.
He added that like the case in Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, Thais may be blocked entry to large clusters of land bought up by groups of foreigners.
Also, he said, some countries may interfere in Thailand’s sovereignty to protect clusters of land bought by their citizens, which could spark diplomatic quarrels.
He added that if the government wants to boost the GDP, it should do so by propping up the manufacturing industry instead of selling off land.
Suchart led Pheu Thai when it was created to house MPs from People Power Party before it was dissolved in 2008.