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SIIA Media Release: Survey: Regional Perspectives on Thailand Crisis may vary, business affected but remains resilient, region a

Updated On: Jun 21, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Jointly issued by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs and Blackbox Research.

SURVEY: REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON THAILAND CRISIS VARY, BUSINESS AFFECTED BUT REMAINS RESILIENT, REGION AFFECTED BUT NO ROLE FOR ASEAN

Singapore, 21 June 2010 – A new survey examining regional attitudes towards the ongoing political crisis in Thailand has suggest a lack of regional consensus on what should be done, though neither the government nor protestors won much support. Indonesians, Malaysians and Singaporeans have been following events closely (86% of survey respondents said they had followed events) but from different sources and come to different conclusions.

Malaysians and Indonesians were more likely to have followed events through citizen-generated comment online, such as through Facebook, Twitter or blogs (at least 33% and 21% respectively, compared with 5% for Singapore). Singapore was more likely to rely on traditional news sources such as local television and newspapers.

Perspectives on the crisis vary. However, neither the government nor protestors have won much sympathy, with a total of 49% opposing the way protestors’ expressed their complaints and 30% opposing the way the Thai government managed the protests.

Although one in four see the Red shirts’ intention to restore Thaksin Shinawatra as the “main cause” for the political crisis, no majority view or cause was agreed.

Second, the crisis was seen as affecting not just Thailand but also Southeast Asia as a whole. 41% said that the crisis would affect other countries in the region.

There are larger questions of whether ASEAN has a role in resolving the crisis. Results show it is clear that the issue is important to the region, but that very few people believe the regional mechanism ASEAN should have a role.

62% of those surveyed felt that the political crisis in Thailand should be resolved without outside influence. 77% said that their own government should either not get involved or do less. And only 34% said ASEAN as an institution should do more to help Thailand.

Among businesspeople surveyed, there is consensus that the short term impact of the crisis has been negative. 74% of those doing business in Thailand surveyed said there was at least some impact on their operations. “The findings are horrible for Thailand,” says David Black, Founder and Managing Director of Blackbox Research. “They show that even with the protests now ended, other SE Asians still have low confidence in Thailand.  We’re seeing a real reluctance to return there whether it’s for leisure or business.”

Yet in spite of the immediate pain, the vast majority continue to look with interest at investing in Thailand for the future. 71% said there would be only minor or no impact on their future business there, while 63% said there would be a similarly minimal effect on their future investments.

"After shock, business interests are again looking at Thai economy which shows promising signs as the government invests in infrastructure and other initiatives,” says Simon Tay, Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “The appointment of a conciliation committee will be watched for signs that the government will seek reconciliation even as it prosecutes so-called terrorists among the protestors.”

This study was exclusively conducted for the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, by Blackbox Research.  

#####

For more information or a copy of the report, please contact:

Blackbox Research
David Black david@blackbox.com.sg office: +65-63231351

Singapore Institute of International Affairs
Lim May-Ann may-ann.lim@siiaonline.org office: +65-67349600

#####

ABOUT BLACKBOX RESEARCH
Blackbox Research is a market research agency which has been based in Singapore since 2002. Blackbox is well recognized as a leading provider of opinion measurement in the region and carries out polling for government, MNCs, academic institutions as well as NGOs. The company also specializes in financial services and stakeholder research, regularly interviewing opinion leaders and other specialist constituencies on behalf of its clients. The company is both a member of the Market Research Society of Singapore [MRSS] and global research body ESOMAR. For more information, visithttp://www.blackbox.com.sg

ABOUT THE SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) is a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to the research, analysis and discussion of regional and international issues. Founded in 1961 and registered as a member-based society, we are Singapore’s oldest think tank. Our range of research and events – funded by foundations, membership subscriptions and corporate sponsorship – reaches out to policy-makers, business leaders, professionals and youth. For more information, visit www.siiaonline.org

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