Speech byH.E. Mr. Abhisit VejjajivaPrime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
"Thailand's Social Policy: Vision and Direction"
Tuesday 18 January 2011, 15.00 hrs.Vithes Samosorn, Ministry of Foreign Affairs----------------------- Excellencies,Distinguished Guests,Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs onceagain and to have this opportunity to speak about the vision and direction of Thailand’s social policy. I have had many occasions and opportunities to meet andto speak to those of you present in the room over the past two years, but rarely do Ihave the opportunity to speak about social policy and social issues. Obviously, the attention of much of our society and yourselves has been onthe global economic crisis which unfolded just over two years ago, and of coursethe political problems that Thailand has been through. On the many occasions thatI have met you, usually we talk about the economy, politics and not nearly enoughon the social policy issues. Maybe because on social matters, in trying to effectchanges and put policies forward, these policies are structural in nature and taketime and maybe a lot of you around the room thought that we were not going to bearound for long enough to think about these issues. But I have, since day one of assuming office, maintain that despite the circumstances where the urgent issues of the economic crisis and the political troubles would have to be dealt with, I saw itas a very important task of the current government to also pursue somefundamental structural changes and deal with social issues. Many of you may not know that these issues are very close to my heart and if you looked at my political career, when I was elected member of parliament for thethird term and had the opportunity to actually chair a parliamentary committee, itwas the education policy committee of the House that I chaired. Also during mytime as Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, I was also put in charge of education reform, as well as issues such as decentralization. When I became Prime Minister, one of the things that I did which apparentlyis not a usual thing for many prime ministers, was that all the committees that dealt