Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Posters of PM of Caning Nation Burnt in Thailand

The people of Thailand have taken to the streets in an attempt to oust the incumbent Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It seems to have claimed a collateral victim in the form of his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong. This does not bode well for the nation who is set to host the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting. Read on.

BANGKOK - Protesters burnt posters of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outside the city state's Bangkok embassy on Friday as a campaign to oust his Thai counterpart, Thaksin Shinawatra, took a nationalist twist.

Waving placards saying "Thailand Not for Sale, Get Out", several hundred protesters urged a boycott of all things Singaporean in answer to the takeover of telecoms giant Shin Corp by its state investment arm, Temasek, from Thaksin's family.

"If Singaporeans faced the same situation as we do now, we believe Singaporeans would also rise up to do what we are doing," said Somsak Kosaisuk, a key member of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is trying to kick Thaksin from office.

They also torched models of Singapore Airlines planes, its "merlion" national mascot and pictures of Lee's wife, Ho Ching, the Temasek boss.

The political crisis has already caused the Thai stock market and baht to wobble and is now raising long-term economic concerns, with ratings agencies looking at growth forecasts and companies delaying public flotations or investment projects.

The anti-Singapore sentiment, which stems from outrage at Thaksin's family paying no tax in January's $1.9 billion Shin Corp deal, now appears to be hurting business.

According to Chainid Ngow-Sirimanee, head of builder Property Perfect PCL, Singapore firms have delayed decisions on potential Thai property investments worth $256 million.

DBS Group Holdings, which had been thought keen on raising its stake in Thailand's TMB Bank PCL, had yet to make up its mind on whether to go ahead, a spokesman said. Analysts attributed the delay to politics.


With the caning threat imposed on activists who intend to protest in Singapore, little do her govenors know that outside of the country, people are unrestrainedly voicing their unhappiness.

If protesting equates caning, what about burning the posters of the Singapore PM?

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