Thai voters most concerned about rising cost of living, survey finds
Most Thai voters want the new government to reduce the cost of living, boost welfare and minimum wage as well as upskill the workforce, a recent survey shows.
Respondents to a survey conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Centre for Economic and Business Forecasting also want the new government to tackle poverty, debt and social inequality.
Assoc Prof Thanavath Phonvichai, the university’s president and the centre’s chief adviser, said on Wednesday that the respondents also want the new government to create opportunities for small businesses.
The survey titled “Expectations of Political Parties’ Economic Policies” involved 2,000 voters nationwide chosen on a random basis.
Highest on the list of concerns, especially for first-time voters, was the cost of living, including water, electricity and cooking gas, he said.
Coming in second were free medical examination, internet access, generating income and granting low-interest loans to small businesses.
He added that the survey showed that voters prefer policies that benefit themselves instead of siding with the ideals of a party.
The respondents want the new government to focus on the following eight groups of policies:
Economic stimulus: Increasing minimum daily wage to 450-600 baht, boosting pension for the elderly, offering subsidies to children until age six, launching another round of the “Rao Tiew Duay Kan” travel subsidy scheme and opening community banks.
Labour: Creating jobs for the elderly, giving self-employed people access to the social security system and allowing social security beneficiaries to withdraw 30% of their contribution.
Cost of living: Reducing the cost of electricity, fuel, cooking gas and water, waiving tax for people earning up to 40,000 baht per month, easing access to public transport and reducing the electric train fare to 20 baht.
Debt burden mitigation: Granting people a three-year debt holiday, allowing contributors to the government pension scheme and provident fund to withdraw cash and forgiving student loans.
Welfare: Offering free medical exams and treatment, subsidising renovations for households with elderly people.
Economic development: Allocating funds for improving or developing tourist attractions, boosting communities’ potential, developing national tourism and e-commerce platforms, and promoting soft power.
Agriculture: Creating new generation farmers, offering crop insurance and subsidies, boosting prices, setting up a fund to maintain price of agricultural goods and allowing farmers to sell carbon credits.
SMEs assistance: Allowing SMEs access to funding and granting loans with 1% interest.