Following Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s surprise announcement on Friday evening that he will be approaching Thailand’s 20 richest families, who are “seniors of the society,” to help the country fight against the outbreak of the coronavirus, one question lingered on.
Who exactly will Prayut approach?
Prayut did not reveal which families he considers to be Thailand’s top 20 richest. Will he stick to Forbes’ top 50 rich list or is he going to come up with a list all on his own.
After all, in the top 20 is Thaksin Shinawatra, the head of a family that the military has overthrown from power twice in the last two decades.
If Prayut were to expand the list further, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s mother is at number 28.
Both Thanathorn and his mother were seen handing out food and supplies to the public last week but their altruism is likely to be untapped by the premier after the courts banned Thanathorn from politics and are actively trying to jail him.
More likely Prayut will approach the billionaires that have benefited since he came to power.
For example, the Chiaravanonds who own the CP group, and top of Forbes rich list, have been awarded rail projects linking Bangkok’s three major airports since the Prayut-coup government came into power.
Perhaps they could give something back to the country in this time of need?
Or maybe the Srivaddhanaprabha family, owners of King Power, could give something back after getting their duty free concessions extended by the government. Screw Leceister City, how about something for us?
Sarath Ratanavadi and Gulf Energy have certainly benefited since Prayut took power and implemented favorable energy programs. They have rocketed up the Forbes Rich List since the 2014 coup. Just look at Gulf’s stock price and compare it to the date of the putsch.
Perhaps they too can contribute to the country?
Maybe the Bhirombhakdi family can also contribute, after all, their most famous daughter Tant Chitpas is now an MP in the ruling coalition. Remember how hard she fought for the country when she blew her whistle up and down Bangkok to usher in the Prayut government. Remember how hard she celebrated once there was a coup?
Maybe they too owe the country something.
The point is if Prayut doesn’t want us to guess who he will be approaching, he should just bloody tell us.