Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow has defended the government’s plan to allow land ownership in Thailand for residential purposes by four groups of foreigners, in his response to criticism of the plan by Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat in the House representatives.
During the debate, Pita said he would like to know the government’s real motive behind the foreign land ownership scheme which he pointed out is not new, but was introduced in 2003, under the government. from the time of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He said that so far only eight foreigners had bought land for residential purposes and he could not understand how the government could achieve its goal of attracting one million foreigners to do the same, which would mean that 40 trillion baht would be invested in Thailand if the target is reached.
He pointed out that there is a big gap in land ownership in Thailand, with 75% of the Thai population not owning land, while 25% own land and 80% of land is owned by only 5% of the population. population.
In response to Pita’s criticism, Supattanapong said the government’s goal was to attract foreign investment and highly skilled foreigners to work in Thailand, to help develop the country’s economy and new industries.
He insisted that regulations on foreign land ownership in Thailand are stricter than those in Britain, adding that the state still retains the right to revoke land ownership if the regulations are breached.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he had the opportunity to meet the Governor of Seoul, South Korea, and asked why qualified foreign professionals, such as famous designers from Scandinavia and software experts, prefer stay and work in Seoul. The governor of Seoul told him that the trick was to make Seoul a livable city, without discrimination, for all nationalities, married couples in particular.
He said the government had set a target of one million long-stay visa holders over several years, adding that the government did not expect them all to buy land in the country.
“We have to have faith in Thailand that we can attract foreign investment and foreigners. There are millions of people who consider Thailand livable. Don’t look at the country too negatively,” Supattanapong said.