Vol. VI No. 9 - Tuesday April 23, - April 30, 2007
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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Only 223 million baht recovered from alleged corrupt officials

Chiang Mai-Kaohsiung non-stop

Tourism Authority launches aggressive campaigns to lure tourists

Thai stock market set to improve after election

Only 223 million baht recovered from alleged corrupt officials

Despite attempts by the current government to root out the official corruption, malpractice among state officials continues, according to a senior Finance Ministry official.

A total of 206 cases of alleged corrupt practices among government officials were identified during the preceding six months, from October 2006 through March this year, resulting in a Bt1.269 billion (US$39 million) lose to government coffers, said Manus Jamweha, deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry’s Comptroller General’s Department. To date only Bt223 million (about US$7 million) has been recovered.

According to Mr. Manus, 140 cases involved legal violations totaling Bt1.128 billion, 30 cases of cash and assets theft valued at Bt56 million and 36 cases of theft amounting in total to Bt85 million.

He said government officials found to have been implicated in corruption were ordered to pay back Bt223 million to their offices.

The military Council for National Security (CNS) cited massive corruption as one of the major reasons in toppling the elected government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, 2006.

The current military-installed government of Gen. Surayud Chulanont has pledged to weed out corruption in the country. The Comptroller General’s Department plans to hold a seminar on law and responsibilities of the government officials, aimed at preventing malpractice within government organizations, Mr. Manus added. (TNA)

Chiang Mai-Kaohsiung non-stop

China Airlines launched a new Kaohsiung, Taiwan to Chiang Mai non-stop service with three flights per week, using a Boeing B737-800 jet.

This is China Airlines’ second passenger service to Chiang Mai, following its Taipei-Chiang Mai flights in March of 2005. China Airlines will operate a two class service, with eight seats in Dynasty Class and 150 seats in Economy Class. The Chiang Mai-bound flight CI 691 will depart Kaohsiung every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 07:00 and arrive at Chiang Mai International Airport at 09:35. The return flight, CI 692, will leave the same day at 10:25 from Chiang Mai, and arrive in Kaohsiung at 14:50. CMM Reporters.

Tourism Authority launches aggressive campaigns to lure tourists

TAT Governor Pornsiri Manoharn says the number of tourists from many countries such as Japan and Singapore was low during the first two months of this year. In order to meet the target of receiving 14.8 million tourists, or about 547 billion baht of tourism revenue, the TAT is cooperating with many of its alliances such as VISA and KTC. The TAT and the KTC are jointly organizing the Bangkok Fest & Fun project from now until December 5th, 2007. The purpose of this project is to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King while promoting tourism.

This year, the TAT is planning to spur tourism during the low season by attracting tourists from the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with the help from the Thai Hotels Association (THA) and the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA).

Thai stock market set to improve after election

The Thai stock market is expected to become bullish again after the completion of the draft constitution and the fixing of the date of the general election, a senior executive of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) said.

SET Vice President Vichate Tantiwanich said most investment in the Thai stock market this year would be for speculative purposes as most investors believed stock prices would decline further and yields would fall below their expectations.

Political uncertainties in Thailand are to blame, said Mr. Vichate. He said he was optimistic that stock investment, especially by local investors, should improve following the completion of the draft constitution and the date of the general election is fixed.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said the general election would be held this December but many analysts are still worried due to the prevailing political tension.

Business operators are also feeling uneasy about political uncertainty as consumers slow down spending, said Mr. Vichate. Firms which plan to list on the SET with an aim to mobilize funds are now reluctant on fears that initial public offering (IPO) price would not fetch attractive prices.

Many of the companies are waiting for the right market timing and they would probably list on the market during the second half of 2007 when local political atmosphere brightens, said Mr. Vichate.

Despite the ongoing gloomy market, the SET still maintains its projection that 40 companies would be listed on the SET and 24 on the Market for Alternative Investment board this year. (TNA)

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