Singapore Media Watch

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Singapore and Thailand face showdown after Temasek deal - IHT

16 November 2006

By Wayne Arnold
International Herald Tribune

Bangkok insists phone deal broke law

SINGAPORE: They have been careful to appear cordial, but in the polite language of Asian diplomacy, a stubborn standoff has emerged between Thailand and Singapore over how to handle Singapore's purchase of the communications assets of the deposed prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, and a legal confrontation between them is looming.

The trouble between the two Southeast Asian neighbors began in January, when Singapore's investment arm, Temasek Holdings, purchased a controlling stake in Thailand's dominant phone company, Shin, for $1.9 billion. That stoked public protests in Thailand over foreign ownership of a national champion and the Thaksin family's tax- free windfall - adding to complaints alleging corruption that culminated in the September coup.

With Thaksin in exile, both governments have emphasized that their relations are on track. Yet the two are now at loggerheads over Shin. (Read more...)


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