Pheu Thai’s ‘ultra-populist’ digital wallet could backfire: NIDA academic


By Thai Newsroom Reporters

THE PHEU THAI “ULTRA-POPULIST” campaign could probably worsen the economic conditions of the debt-ridden country and backfire on the party’s hopes for a landslide victory in the May 14 general election, said a noted academic today (Apr.6).

Pichai Ratanadilok na Phuket, head of the National Institute of Development Administration’s Political & Development Strategies Project, posted on his Facebook page to give a warning against the Pheu Thai of their campaign-pledged, 10,000-baht digital wallet to hand out to each of all Thai adolescents and adults only if the party becomes government after the nationwide election.

The NIDA academic’s comment followed yesterday’s campaign promise made by Settha Taweesin, one of a trio of Pheu Thai partisan candidates for prime minister, to provide the 10,000-baht digital wallet for all Thais to spend in six months on the purchase of goods and services in a radius of four kilometres from their home.

A post-election Pheu Thai government will need an estimated 540 billion baht fund to cover their “ultra-populist” digital wallet for some 54 million recipients aged 16 years and over throughout the country, Pichai commented.

The NIDA academic doubted how the future government could possibly find so much money to feed the digital wallet unless they would borrow a sizable loan, thus worsening the public debt situation, or slash budgets of varied government agencies.

Though the 10,000-baht digital wallet may increase the people’s purchasing power and boost the national economy on a short-term basis, such “ultra-populist” measures will almost certainly cause inflation to rise further and worsen the country’s public debt situation, Pichai said.

He said the Pheu Thai’s “Think Big, Act Smart For All Thais” campaign with an unfettered aim to score a landslide victory might possibly backfire to the extent that their purported popularity declines toward the May 14 election.


Pheu Thai partisan contestants for prime minister Settha Taweesin, centre in above photo and left in Front Page photo, Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Chaikasem Nitisiri, at a campaign rally earlier this week. Photos: Matichon

Insert: NIDA academic Pichai Ratanadilok na Phuket. Photo: Thai Rath

Also read: 10,000-baht digital wallet for each Thai pledged in Pheu Thai campaign

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TNR staff

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