Srettha's remarks on Taylor Swift not meant to be criticism of Singapore: Thai government spokesman

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SINGAPORE: After Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin revealed last month that Singapore had brokered an exclusive deal with Taylor Swift, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday (Mar 5) that the prime minister's remarks should not be construed as criticism or an expression of jealousy towards Singapore.

In a statement on Tuesday, spokesperson for the Thailand's Prime Minister's Office Chai Watcharong said Mr Srettha had raised the topic to "admire and compliment Singapore".

"Proposing incentives to Taylor Swift is a very ambitious approach. It successfully convinced Taylor Swift to perform exclusively in Singapore ... (which) created many advantages for the country," said Mr Chai in Thai.

Mr Srettha's remarks, made on Feb 15 at a business conference in Bangkok, were the first to indicate that monetary incentives had been doled out to make sure Swift would perform nowhere else in Southeast Asia. He said then that AEG, the concert organiser, had told him the Singapore government offered US$2 million to US$3 million per show in exchange of exclusivity, a figure that CNA understands is closer to the total sum for all six shows, not for each.

A lawmaker in the Philippines later expressed unhappiness about Singapore's deal and reportedly said "this isn't what good neighbours do", resulting in media reports focusing on the supposed unhappiness over Singapore's actions.

Earlier on Tuesday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told reporters in Melbourne that he did not see such a deal as being "unfriendly" to neighbouring countries.

"Our agencies negotiated an arrangement with her to come to Singapore and perform, and to make Singapore her only stop in Southeast Asia," said Mr Lee when asked at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese if the deal had undermined the spirit of cooperation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"It has turned out to be a very successful arrangement." 

WHAT THE THAI PRIME MINISTER MEANT

In clarifying the Thai prime minister's remarks, Mr Chai, the government spokesperson said on Tuesday: "The tone and meaning that the ...

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