It emerged last week that Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, was planning to pen an open letter to the country’s 20 wealthiest people to request guidance and assistance in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.
The announcement sparked controversy online with some social media users using the hashtag #BeggarGovernment in reference to the Prime Minister asking for financial assistance despite claims from the government that this was not the purpose of the open letter.
Now, the letter has been published and sent. The English translation of the letter in its entirety is shown below:
Thailand is facing a covid-19 outbreak which is one of the gravest crises the country and the world have seen. The disease has affected both social relationships and the economy at an unprecedented level. Now is the time for Thai people to work together on all levels, especially those who have strong knowledge, abilities and financial resources. This is why I am reaching out to you who are considered the elders of the society.
I deeply appreciate that many of you have already helped people in several aspects, but I must ask you to do more. Please use your abilities and resources to help Thai people who are facing one of the biggest obstacles in their lives in the fastest and most efficient manner.
I do not ask for donations or handouts, all I ask is to send me details of projects that you are ready to carry out. I also ask that those projects should reach all groups of Thai people and all parts of the country, as well as help them in any aspect of their lives in a tangible way.
I also welcome suggestions as to how the government can help or facilitate those projects so they succeed. I would be highly thankful if you could send me the details by next week.
Please kindly consider my request, and thank you in advance.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha
Translation: The Nation