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Deputy PM Korbsak Sabhavasu flanked by Malaysian and Thai education ministers, with the Phuket Governor directly behind

PM Skips Phuket Amid Tourist Alarm on Red Shirts

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Update: Large crowds massed in Bangkok today with three lines of police and troops protecting the home of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda. No reports of violence so far.

THE PRIME Minister cancelled a visit to Phuket yesterday, an indication of concern about Wednesday's mass protest by opposition red-shirts in Bangkok that has the potential to further damage tourism in Thailand.

Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu came to the island in place of PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and was met at Phuket airport by about 40 union representatives involved in a pay wrangle with Laguna Phuket.

The Deputy PM's flight arrived late but he took time out to hear a plea for support in the continuing union dispute with the large resort, which is likely now to play out in court.

Of more immediate concern: tomorrow's Bangkok protests, with talk of more than 100,000 supporters of disgraced PM Thaksin Shinawatra taking to the streets.

The PM told the nation in a special televised broadcast last night: ''The government must maintain peace in the country and will not tolerate public unrest in the country.''

His 15-minute address was broadcast on the state-run NBT after the 8 pm news. It followed.a meeting of security agencies to prepare for a massive rally on Wednesday.

International media coverage of continuing political unrest in Thailand is likely to unsettle tourists just as Phuket is about to enjoy a ''full house'' Songkran-Easter break.

The coming weekend will be the last chance the island has to replenish its revenue stocks before a low season filled with uncertainty by the continuing world economic slump.

Having seen the Laguna Phuket protestors and promised to see what he could do, Khun Korbsak rode on to one of the resorts involved in the dispute, the Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, where he formally opened the fourth Asean Education Ministers Meeting.

The 10-nation Asean gathering has been parcelled with the 19-nation South-East Asian Ministers of Education meeting (Seameo). Sessions began on Sunday and wind up tomorrow.

Represented are Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Timor Leste (East Timor) along with associate member countries Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Spain.

A second more significant summit of Asean member nations was to have been held on Phuket next weekend. But it was switched to Pattaya instead because Songkran-Easter holiday bookings left the island without facilities to host it.

Seameo categorises itself as the region's oldest intergovernmental organisation and the ''most dependable provider in human resource development.''

Meetings today and tomorrow are being chaired by Thailand's Education Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit.

He and the Deputy PM posed for photographs with Phuket's Governor Wichai Praisa-Ngob and international educational ministers before the Deputy PM flew back to Bangkok.

Education quality and standards, education for the disadvantaged, cultural diversity and quality assurance are topics for meetings.

Visits are planned to a local girl's school, Phuket vocational college and the British International School.

Blockades of Bangkok airports in November by supporters in yellow shirts led to the appointment of the present government that the red-shirts now say must step aside and call a national election.

Phuketwan file on Asean/Laguna Phuket dispute

Sackings, Suspensions: Laguna Row Continues
Latest Union representatives and supporters meet with Phuket's Governor as the Laguna Phuket pay and bonus dispute heads for the courts. Eight union leaders have been sacked.
Sackings, Suspensions: Laguna Row Continues

PM To Visit Phuket for Asean Education Summit
Repeat visitors are the lifeblood of Phuket's tourism industry and it appears that Thailand's Prime Minister wants to join the club. He is returning for Asean's next education summit.
PM To Visit Phuket for Asean Education Summit

Laguna Chiefs Take Pay Cuts, But Bookings Hopeful
Phuket Economy Laguna Phuket sees hope in forward bookings, but not enough to prevent a management pay cut. The resort makes news again, with a Banyan Tree downturn.
Laguna Chiefs Take Pay Cuts, But Bookings Hopeful

Inspiring Island: What the PM Said About Phuket
PM on Phuket Thirteen nations reached agreement on Phuket today on a special fund designed to prevent a financial downturn in the region. China, Korea and Japan will provide most support.
Inspiring Island: What the PM Said About Phuket

Laguna Pay Protesters Meet PM at Phuket Airport
Asean Album A pay dispute at Phuket's largest resort complex, Laguna Phuket, comes to the fore again as suspended unionists present the Prime Minister with claim documents.
Laguna Pay Protesters Meet PM at Phuket Airport

Laguna Dispute Latest: Back to Work As Usual
Latest The dispute at Laguna Phuket took a new turn when staff at the Banyan Tree said they were locked out on Sunday. However, it turned out to be a misunderstanding.
Laguna Dispute Latest: Back to Work As Usual

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Sunday November 28, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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