Thai authorities plan to allow foreigners to buy and own land in the Sunshine Kingdom has found opponents
Some industry professionals believe the government should take other measures to stimulate the economy through foreign investment.
What happened? Thailand’s government scheme to allow foreigners to buy one parcel of land (0.16 hectares) was greeted with enthusiasm in the ex-pat community, but not everyone welcomed the idea. The Home Ministry’s proposal to allow foreigners to own a parcel of land if they invest 40 million baht ($1.09 million) is seen by many as a short-term solution for the kingdom’s economy.
Supporters: The Federation of Thai Industries supports the proposal. According to experts, foreign land ownership would give a boost to the economy and at the same time help the tourism sector. The federation said it will provide assistance and support to real estate enterprises.
Kriengkrai Tiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the plan will be good for the economy and investment in the long run because wealthy foreigners, especially businessmen, will enjoy life in Thailand after they retire.
“One paradise is not much. It should not be detrimental to Thailand’s national security,” he says.
Opponents: Vallaya Chiratiwat, president and CEO of development company Central Pattana Plc, believes the Thai government should take other measures to stimulate the economy through foreign investment. She is convinced that leasing land for 30, 60 or 90 years would be a better policy.
“This remains a sensitive issue among Thais. The government should make sure that most locals can afford to own their own houses before introducing such a measure. There are still many locals who want to buy a house. They may need extra help, such as mortgages,” she explains.
Nipon Poapongsakorn, a distinguished fellow at the Thailand Development Research Institute, is another dissenter. He believes the scheme will only attract investors looking for short-term profits.
“I personally view the potential purchase of only one paradise land by foreign investors solely for speculative purposes. What Thailand needs now is not a stack of short-term foreign capital, but long-term investment, startups and service development to support the country’s economic development in the long term,” he says.
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