Personal look at the Bearkat Prime Minister
48 years ago Contributing Writer Comments Off on Personal look at the Bearkat Prime Minister
A Thailand-native and SHSU graduate, who was elected Prime Minister of his country to stabilize its economy, is well thought of and remembered by the university community.In Thai parliamentary elections Jan. 6, Thaksin Shinawatra (Class of 79), a 52-year-old, Sam Houston State criminology Ph.D. and telecommunications tycoon, became Prime Minister.Shinawatra built his political party, Thai Rak Thai (Thai loves Thai), on promises to bring about faster economic reforms than former Prime Minister Leepkai (Democratic Party) was doing for the nation of 60 million. He received the largest number of votes (256), but not a majority, so he formed a coalition government. Shinawatra returned to Thailand after getting his degree, working again for the Thai police force, where he was a captain. His wife, Potjaman, and he got a government contract to sell computers to policedepartments, which was the basis of his telecommunications empire.”He was the second richest man in Thailand as of four or five years ago,” said Dr. Rolando delCarmen, Criminal Justice professor. Del Carmen represented the College of Criminal Justice when he presented Shinawatra with SHSUs Outstanding Criminal Justice Alumnus Award in October 1996, in Bangkok, Thailand.Del Carmen said he feels Shinawatra was elected because the people trusted him because he was a proven, successful businessman, and he already had an economic plan drawn up.”He was perceived by the public as a businessman who can help the country. The other people did not have that kind of credentials. And also he had an economic program that was perceived by the Thai people as very advantageous to them. He was promising them very low medical fees and a moratorium on payment of debts by farmers.”Shinawatras reforms to steady and improve the Thai economy include finding ways to create income for the Thais, according to a Nov. 16, 2000, interview in the Far Eastern Economic Review: “We will pool all the state enterprises under one umbrella and set up a holding company. We will corporatize them with professional management, and then group them all together as a group of holdingcompanies. Thats how we will create the market re-capitalization of all these state enterprises, which will be as big as the external debt that we have. That can equilibrate national assets and liabilities.”Shinawatra got into politics “after he had all this money, he kind of felt like he needed to serve the Thai people. People in that nation do this; they feel they have an obligation to serve the country,” Del Carmen explained.”He has resonated with the public,” Del Carmen said.The Distinguished Alumnus Award, SHSUs highest honor, was bestowed upon Shinawatra in 1997.