Finance Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee has ruled out a reduction in VAT from the current 7% to 3%, on the basis that the government has made a number of changes in the tax system already and had decided to postpone increasing VAT to 10% for at least another two years. However, it is not clear how much longer Dr Surapong will be in his job after the latest extraordinary decision by the Supreme Court to proceed with the junta’s case against the democratically-elected government’s policy on the lottery.
It has been quite difficult to work out what the Cabinet and so many other top officials are supposed to have done wrong in this case but the end of this story provides some not very clear details. The junta’s Asset Scrutiny Committee (now disbanded) has apparently provided sufficient evidence to convince the Court that there is a case to answer – although I have not seen what evidence there is. Ministers involved have uniformly denied doing anything wrong – indeed, there is something curious about trying to prosecute a democratically-elected government with enacting a policy that it would seem to have had every right to do so – however, no doubt there are intricacies in the law which escape first inspection and the junta’s proxies perhaps have scared up some sort of evidence. Still, this is how it works.
Meanwhile, in Cambodia, a rare wild gaur has gored three people, one of them seriously – before dropping dead, apparently of exhaustion. The ‘rare but angry bovine’ emerged from the scrub, startling the villagers, most of whom had never seen such a thing before – they are large and frightening looking things. Police suspect that the gaur had, subsequently, been reassigned to dinner duties. It is not hard to imagine that there is in reality slightly more to this story than immediately meets the eyes.