Making it clear that business and politics cannot go hand in hand, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday said politicians must give up business interests.

“If you really want to enter politics, wash your hands off business,” the controversial former prime minister, who is now in exile, said.

Thaksin, who was a successful businessman before he became the Prime Minister, said, “Politics is for someone who does not have anything to lose“.

He also said that good business is very important for the country as good profit brings more money (tax) in government’s coffer which helps in improving the condition of the people who have fewer resources.

Thaksin, whose sister Yingluck Shinawatra is the current Thai Prime Minister, went into exile in 2008 following numerous corruption and electoral fraud charges. He was ousted in 2006 in a military coup while he was aboard on a visit.

Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit, Thaksin was asked a number of questions on crony capitalism, politics and allegations that he was remote controlling Thailand through his sister.

Replying to a query on anti-graft campaigns, Thaksin, speaking about his own experience, said, “It is a good excuse to accuse others of corruption“.

He also called himself an open “encyclopedia” that his sister could look into on issues of governance.

Speaking on regional issues, Thaksin said common historical, cultural and linguistic roots of India and South East Asia will help in boosting ties in the future as well.

On the issue of China, the former Thai Prime Minister said both New Delhi and Beijing will have to compete and collaborate with each other.

(This article was published on November 16, 2012)
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