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Government U-turns on land plan

BANGKOK: The government is reportedly backing down from its plan to allow wealthy foreigners to purchase up to one rai of land for residential purposes in return for investments, after the proposal drew fierce criticism.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 8 November 2022, 09:01AM

Land for sale sign on empty land. Photo: Bangkok Post

Land for sale sign on empty land. Photo: Bangkok Post

The Bangkok Post reports that Chayawut Chanthorn, director of the Department of Land, said yesterday (Nov 7) that Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon had approved the withdrawal of the Interior Ministry’s draft regulation on land ownership by foreigners.

The draft regulation, which was approved in principle by the Cabinet last month, allows four groups of well-to-do foreigners with a long-term resident visa to buy up to one rai of land for residential purposes, if they invest at least B40 million in the country for at least three years.

However, the policy, which is aimed at attracting more foreign investments to the country, has drawn flak from critics who accused the government of “selling off” the country.

Mr Chayawut said the Interior Ministry submitted a letter to Gen Prawit last week seeking to withdraw the proposal, and that Prawit endorsed the request yesterday morning before it was forwarded to the Cabinet’s secretariat.

“The ministry decided to withdraw the draft regulation due to widespread public concerns and if the Cabinet agrees with the decision, the ministry will take the chance to review it and decide if it will continue with or drop the proposal,” he said.

According to Chayawut, the ministry’s 2002 regulation on land ownership by foreigners would remain intact if the revised regulation was dropped.

Chayawut’s remarks followed media reports that Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda would ask the Cabinet to withdraw the draft regulation on land ownership today.

Gen Anupong had told the House of Representatives last week that the land policy could still be scrapped if there were serious public concerns.

A source at Government House said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was deeply concerned by the criticisms and that it was highly likely that the draft regulation would be ditched altogether.

“If the Cabinet agrees with the withdrawal request, the Council of State will be informed and it will drop its examination [of the draft legislation],” said the source. The Council of State is the government’s legal arm.

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Under the proposed regulation, wealthy global citizens, wealthy pensioners, those who want to work from Thailand, and highly skilled professionals or specialists can purchase up to one rai of land in Bangkok, the Pattaya municipality or any municipal area specified as a residential zone.

Prayut declined to comment on the issue yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said yesterday that if the public disagrees with the policy, the government will listen to their concerns.

“If people feel uncomfortable about it and the regulation has to be withdrawn, so be it. The public should take their time because it is just an option,” he said.

Mr Supattanapong said the government understood the public’s concerns and is willing to make improvements.

He also played down concerns about the impact of the policy U-turn, saying the government will do its best to explain the issue to foreign investors.

Meanwhile, property developers yesterday called on the government to clarify the regulations to prevent property speculation, as they believed the policy would benefit the economy.

Atip Peechanont, honorary chairman of the Housing Business Association, said yesterday the government should listen to criticism and make changes to the land policy.

Pipat Luengnaruemitchai, chief economist at Kiatnakin Phatra Securities, said the policy has pros and cons which the government must weigh carefully.

However, he said the government should not focus solely on wealthy foreigners or pensioners as these individuals are not totally investment-oriented.

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Fascinated | 10 November 2022 - 18:41:31

Tas- dkk aways resorts to the thaigeezer 'well if you don't like it , leave' default position- you'll get used to it.

christysweet | 10 November 2022 - 10:31:45

I agree, belittlement of others should not be posted and at one time there was a rule change implementing it- let's get back to that, please.  

Taswegian | 10 November 2022 - 09:04:19

Just a thought from a regular reader of the comments here: I am yet to see a comment from DeK 0r Poolie that actually relates to the story. Their only comments are simply disparaging remarks about other letter writers. Does anyone else think they are getting tiresome?

DeKaaskopp | 09 November 2022 - 13:09:46

Reciprocal ? LMAO !! Ok, let's talk reciprocal when it's come to get a holiday visa for Thai's or a retirement visa for Thai's in other countries !!!
@Captainjack69    Feeling not welcomed here ?  You know what to do !  RELOCATE !!

christysweet | 09 November 2022 - 10:38:05

Wealthy people are usually mercenary, give a hand up to the middle class foreigners  if you want  to boost an economy, it's the only way. 

CaptainJack69 | 09 November 2022 - 04:37:00

If ever you needed proof of the innate racism engrained in the very roots of Thai society... here you go. Stop fooling yourselves people, you're not welcome there. 

Pooliekev | 08 November 2022 - 20:48:55

Yes. Poor, skint pensioners from the west are left out again, atrocious!

Kurt | 08 November 2022 - 16:59:46

Present Thai high Land prices, many Thai middle- and poor class people can't affort are due to Thai-Sino speculants/business people. Nothing to do with foreigners, that is just distraction of reality. Time to be reciprocal and stop/deny the filty rich Thai to buy multi million dollar properties, including land, abroad.

Fascinated | 08 November 2022 - 12:52:24

Now maybe foreign gov'ts can ban Thais from buying property and land overseas- its only fair!

DeKaaskopp | 08 November 2022 - 12:19:24

Poor John! Thai government  doesn't listen to you and your own government would give a ... about your proposal too.

Kurt | 08 November 2022 - 10:11:39

Not surprised at all. The Thai, in their xenophobic way of thinking can't make that swing to normal house and garden ownership. That Thai max 49% ownership law of apts in condo's say it all. Sure they read/hear all the foreign laughing about that allowance 40x40 sg m land when ínvesting $1 million in Thailand. Thai see the loose face hanging, and quick stop/bury this idiotism now.

JohnC | 08 November 2022 - 09:40:10

Of course they are. Couldn't figure out how to make money for themselves out of this proposal so it goes on the backburner until they can. I wish I could influence my country's government to not allow any Thais (especially Hi-Sos) to buy land there until a fair reciprocal arrangement is made here. Fed up with their double standards..


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