High-speed train project off tracks

Construction News

By The Nation

Parliament will delay the decision on negotiating a framework agreement between Thailand and China on a high-speed train project as the opposition and senators have not obtained details of the multi-billion-baht venture, which they say relies too much on Chinese technology.

With the Senate and the House of Representatives planning to request a joint committee to conduct a further study on the project, it will automatically delay the consideration of the proposed framework of negotiations.

The cabinet forwarded the framework for parliament’s consideration in accordance with Article 190 of the Constitution.

The Constitution requires parliamentary approval before any agreement is made with foreign countries. Former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban made the initial deal to have an agreement with China months ago when he was in office.


In the first reading on October 19, many opposition MPs and senators criticised the government, saying it gave them too few details of the Bt700 billion-Bt800 billion project which ran into only 13 pages. The proposal will be back on Parliament’s agenda in today’s session.

Senator Narumol Siriwat said the project would be useful for rail development in Thailand, but that it relied too much on Chinese technology.

“We don’t look down on Chinese technology but just want the government to seek more options and choices for Parliament to consider,” she said.

“What about Japanese, South Korean or European technology? They are also experienced in running high-speed trains but why doesn’t the government propose these countries for comparison?” she queried.

The government’s proposal lacked a risk analysis, business returns and an environmental impact assessment report, she said.

Many senators did not want to approve the framework of negotiations because the project was too risky as the government would create more public debt because of the project, she added.

Senator Supot Phothongkham said the government whip proposed that a 35- member joint committee conduct a further study on the framework agreement as well as the project. The Senate has already submitted a list of nine senators who will be part of the committee, he said.



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