Comparing Thailand unfavorable to its impoverished neighbor Laos always gets a rise out of the Thai population.
This is exactly what the opposition Pheu Thai party did after the opening of the China – Laos high speed rail system .
The line is 1,035 kilometers long and 414 kms of that is within Laos.
Nong Khai MP Krissada Tantherdthit, who heads an economic committee, said that it only took 5 years to complete after being started in 2016.
In the last 2 years Thailand has only managed to complete 3.5 kilometers of line, he claimed.
He blamed Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government for being hopelessly slow and said that if it had been Laos Thailand would already have had high speed rail by now.
He called this a great shame for the nation, reported Sanook who went with a picture of a swanky new train and the caption “Thailand lagging behind Laos”.
He said that Prayuth couldn’t blame the Pheu Thai government of previous premier Yingluck Shinawatra.
This was a missed opportunity for Thailand and also a missed opportunity for Malaysia who, were it not for the stalling of Thailand’s government, would be enjoying a high speed rail link to Thailand by now.
ASEAN NOW notes that the main high speed rail projects in place at the moment area Bangkok to Nong Khai and the three airport rail link from Don Muang to U-Tapao on Rayong via Suvarnabhumi.
Both have been beset by delays.
Other developments to improve Thailand’s antiquated rail network include a dual track connection to Hua Hin from Bangkok.
Government rhetoric in recent weeks – especially that from the transport minister Saksayam Chidchob – has been that Thailand is pressing ahead with rail development.
But critics point to foot dragging to make these dreams a reality.