Phuket tourism leader urges steps against corrupt officials in migrant worker crackdown

PHUKET: Bhuritt Maswongssa, a leading figure in Phuket’s tourism industry, has called for the government to take steps to make sure the current crackdown on illegal migrant workers is not exploited by corrupt officials who are willing to accept bribes.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 03:32PM

Hundreds of migrant workers arrived in Phuket last Friday and Saturday seeking help to get home. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Hundreds of migrant workers arrived in Phuket last Friday and Saturday seeking help to get home. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

“The government must not think only about the impact on employers. There is a gap that corrupt officials can exploit to extract bribes,” Mr Bhuritt told The Phuket News.

“The government should enforce the law to punish such officials. That’s fair,” he added.

Mr Bhurritt, who owns and operates the Patong Resort Hotel as the General Manager, currently also sits as the Andaman representative on the Tourism Ministry’s Tourism Development Board, which presents draft laws to the Tourism Ministry.

“Also, now that the government has announced to defer enforcement of the new ‘Emergency Decree’ provisions for 180 days, the government must know that people will be lax about it. These people need help and support from the government to make sure they abide by the law,” he said.

Mr Bhuritt was adamant that the crackdown will have a dramatic effect on Phuket’s economy.

“This action will definitely damage Phuket’s economy and those of other provinces in the Andaman region,” he said.

“The effect will not be felt right away, but it will hit fishing and and construction industries by affecting operating and production costs. Next, we will have expensive fish and seafood,” Mr Bhuritt said.

“Let’s think about it, if there are not enough migrant workers to meet demand, employers will have no choice to but try to find cheap workers to replace them – and such workers are not easy to find.

“Thai people do not want to work as labourers, and those who are willing to do so will only work for higher wages, which limits the number of people available for employers to hire.

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“The consequence will affect production costs and the bottom line. Product prices will be higher, which will lead to inflation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) has moved quickly to determine the potential impact on the tourism industry.

“Phuket has yet to feel the impact of this,” PTA Vice President Sarayut Mallam told The Phuket News today.

“We launched a survey of small- to middle-sized hotels and other tourism businesses three days ago. We are concerned about them.

“Only after we review the feedback from these businesses can we estimate what losses this may cause.”

Kattiya Pandech, Chief of the Phuket Labour Office, agreed that Phuket will be directly affected by the crackdown.

“Phuket employers will have problems when illegal workers can’t work for them anymore,” he said.

“I believe the government will announce some form of help and support for employers in the coming days. Otherwise employers must wait until the illegal workers leave and then come back to be legally hired for work,” he said.



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Jor12 | 05 July 2017 - 19:45:45

Unbelievable...and Mr Bhurritt sits on the Tourism Ministry’s Tourism Development Board? His concern is that it will affect production costs and the bottom line, increase costs and inflation? Incredible. He doesn't even spare a thought for the poor buggers who are being paid peanuts, so he and others can make larger profits. 

He should read Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prev...

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