The Thai cabinet on Tuesday backpedaled on a recently announced policy to allow wealthy foreigners to own land.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said yesterday that his ministry’s proposal to allow noncitizens with deep pockets to own 1 rai (1,600sqm) of land was withdrawn for thorough review due to its “sensitive” nature.
Although Anupong did not elaborate on what was so “sensitive,” a drumbeat of criticism has grown in the weeks since it was announced that the government was literally “selling off” the country to foreigners.
In late October, the cabinet gave a green light to the proposal. It would allow foreign nationals to purchase land on the condition they could maintain an eligible investment of at least THB40 million (US$1 million) in Thailand for at least three years.
Voices denouncing the move have grown as Thailand in recent weeks grapples with anxiety over foreign mobsters operating with impunity and even the tacit support of the highest echelons of the power elite.
Foreigners are allowed to own 49% of rooms in a condominium and may be party to companies that own real estate.