Singapore Media Watch

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Surayud to Singapore amid Shin saga - Bangkok Post

11 November 2006

(dpa) - Thailand's military-appointed prime minister departed Thursday for a one-day visit to Brunei and Singapore, with the latter expected to be the tenser of the two whistle-stops. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont was scheduled to meet Thursday morning with Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah before flying on to Singapore where he will meet with President SR Nathan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

While the stopovers are in keeping with regional diplomatic etiquette - newly appointed leaders of member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) try to prioritise state visits to the grouping - Surayud's Singapore swing promises to be more than just a pleasantry.

It comes at a time of rising Thai-Singapore tensions over the January 23, 2006, purchase of Shin Corp - the business conglomerate of the family of former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra - by Temasek Holdings of Singapore.

The $1.9 billion sale raised serious questions about Thaksin's legitimacy as a national leader and accusations of "policy corruption," if not outright cheating on taxes. (Read more...)


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