Thailand cancels $62bn infrastructure bill

The country’s constitutional court has voted against the borrowing plan, which was largely focused on funding high-speed rail projects.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has voted against the government's bill to seek 2 trillion baht (€44 billion; $62 billion) in loans for infrastructure development projects.

The result of the unanimous vote, at eight against zero, was announced by Charter court secretary Chaovana Traimat, who said the legislation was voided by the ruling. The judgement stated that the legislative procedure was ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘violated the Charter’s provision’.

The bill had been introduced by the ruling Pheu Thai party as a way to boost the country’s flagging economy. Bangkok posted a paltry 0.6 percent GDP growth in the last quarter of 2013, well below the 1.4 percent it reported in the period from June to September.

The ruling comes after months of political upheaval in Thailand. The government is now headed by the caretaker administration of Yingluck Shinawatra, after the opposition boycotted the results of the general election held in February.

The infrastructure bill largely focused on the construction of high-speed train lines to Chiang Mai, Rayong, Nong Khai and Padang Besar on the Malaysian border as well as highways and commuter networks in Bangkok.

The opposition had asked the court to decide whether it was legal for large infrastructure projects to benefit from emergency funds rather than being funded via the normal budgetary process.