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Vichai vows to steer recovery

November 29, 2000

THAI Rak Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra is expected today to formally introduce Vichai Punpocha, the former country manager of Dresdner Bank AG, as his independent adviser on repositioning the country to emerge from the economic crisis.

"I think I am going to help him in this regard as Thailand is facing the problem of the economic crisis and the forces of globalisation," Vichai said.

"I am one of the few who really see the problems. Those who know the problems will not speak out. Dr Ammar Siamwalla is another person who really understands the whole situation. Recently, he said Thailand would not get out of the crisis even five years from now, but he would not say why. I would like to identify the problems so that we and all Thais can help each other tackle the crisis."

Thaksin will lead his economic team to the Stock Exchange of Thailand to speak in the morning session on the direction the economy should take under the new government.

Vichai will be part of the Thai Rak Thai's speaking panel, which also includes Jaturon Chaisaeng, Somkid Jatusripitak, Adisak Photharamik, Suchart Chaovisit and Suvarn Valaisathien.

In the afternoon session, to be broadcast live by UBC Channel 7, Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai will lead his economic team, which includes Supachai Panitchpakdi, Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda, Ekamol Khiriwat, Abhisit Vejjajiva and Pisit Lee-ahtam. The Democrats will also be rolling out their big guns, ready to address policy issues affecting the country three years after the crisis.

Vichai retired from Dresdner Bank in September and has been keeping a low profile. Six years ago, he played a key role in setting up Dresdner Bank's presence in Thailand. He has been a frequent public speaker on economic and financial issues. He worked with Dresdner, Germany's second-largest bank, throughout his career until his retirement at 56.

"I am an independent adviser to Dr Thaksin. I have no formal position, nor do I have any salary. I do not even accept a cell phone from him. What I really want to do is to help him form the strategic economic positioning for the country," Vichai said.

"In fact, my non-partisanship helps me to work with members of all political parties, who are my friends. We all speak the same language. I have no intention to create enemies. Indeed, my only enemy is Thailand's poverty."




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