Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a tycoon that is also spreading his wings as politician who opposed the military and head of Future Forward Party, criticized Thailand military government's $5.6 billion high-speed rail project with China. Instead, he offered a more modern alternative, such as hyperloop technology.
An option such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Hyperloop One is better for Thailand as it would help the nation to be a technological leader, according to Future Forward Party head Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, as cited by Bloomberg.
“If you invest in high-speed trains, all you do is import everything from abroad, whereas with the hyperloop there’s an opportunity to build the industry in Thailand if you move first.”
He argued in the interview on Monday (1/10) in Bangkok, that hyperloop technology can create more local jobs. It's also more environmentally friendly and cheaper to build. Importantly, this will become a balancing act so the country will not be reliant on China.
Thailand’s military government has focused on major transport projects under an effort to catalyze investment and bolster the economy. Criticism of its policies has begun to intensify ahead of a long-delayed general election now expected in late February next year.
Thanathorn himself has been charged by authorities in Thailand for allegedly spreading false information about the ruling military government on Facebook, along with two other members from his party.
They were charged under the Computer Crime Act, considered draconian by government critics for its denial of freedom of speech online. If convicted under the law, the Future Forward trio face hefty fines and up to five years in jail.
Source: Bloomberg, Al-Jazeera