Advance Blog

June 9, 2021
Australian Embassy

Duplicated: Headlines summary as of 9 June 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,680 (280  from prisons)185,2281,286/ 355136,252156,3653,672,372(+428,459)AZ: 293,533SN: 134,9265.54% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,389 [1,457 (get tested in hospital) + 932 (active case finding)]11 (in SQ)47,644 [28,551 in field hospital]49,673 (+1,096)1,332 (+35)5,107,069(+472,128)7.71% of the population1,434,697 (+43,669)AZ: 5,004SN: 38,6652.16% of the population

•             The ‘Phuket Sandbox’ scheme to reopen the resort island on 1 July did not have a go from cabinet yesterday. The PM said the cabinet acknowledged the scheme in principle and ordered related agencies to amend the plan in details before sending the proposal to CCSA and then to the cabinet for final approval.—Prachachat Turakij

*    Meanwhile the government spokesperson affirmed that the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ will be realised on 1 July as planned. The spokesman said CCSA is going to hold a meeting on 18 June to discuss on this scheme and has a resolution before sending to the cabinet for approval.—Prachachat Turakij

•             After the weekly cabinet meeting, the PM outlined the sources of vaccines the Kingdom is going to administer. He affirmed that the 100 million doses target remains the same. Out of the doses, 61 million are Astra Zeneca produced locally by Siam Bioscience, 6 million doses from Sinovac with the plan to procure 8 million more doses, and apparently 25 million from Pfizer and J&J. The rest will be procured from international negotiations.—Prachachat Turakij

Politics

•             It is now ‘not if, but when’ will the PM will dissolve the Parliament after the PM sent the strongest signal on his post-cabinet meeting remark urging the cabinet to expedite the projects they are doing in the remaining one year.—Prachachat Turakij

*    Manager reported citing source in the cabinet meeting saying that the PM said ‘let’s unite for now, since the government has a year left before we go separate way.’—Manager

*    The Deputy PM, Public Health Minister and ruling Bhumjaithai Party leader said that the power to dissolve the House lies in the PM hands, but the BJT Party has been ready to the new election. BJT leader also dismissed the reports that some Opposition MPs will change their affiliations to BJT.—Matichon

*    Likewise, Deputy PM, Commerce Minister and Democrat leader said that the House dissolution is within the PM power, but Democrat is ready for the election. The third largest ruling party has finalised more than 90 percent of their cMP candidates.—Wassana Nanuam

*    Meanwhile, sources in the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) said last week the Deputy PM and PPRP leader Prawit alerted the party executives and MPs that the dissolution could be as early as late 2021 and the election will be held in 2022, provided that the infection in the Kingdom is curbed. The sources said that the general instructed the party to get the most MPs in the House and could secure the seat for Prayut to keep on the premiership without the support from the 250 Senators. It is also reported that to prepare for the national election, the PPRP convention in 20 June will see the crowning of Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat as the party’s secretary-general.—Wassana Nanuam

*    Some PPRP MPs, however, did not all agree to the convention on 20 June. Sources in the PPRP said that some MPs did not even know that there is going to be a convention on the day and that they did not want to have a new secretary-general at this critical moment. They saw this as an attempt by some groups to seize power within the main ruling party.—Krungthep Turakij

•             Last night the The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) made resolutions which have political consequences:

*    NACC committee ruled by a unanimous vote of 9-0 to accuse Gen Preecha of making a false assets declaration while he was picked as the member of the National Assembly after his brother PM Prayut staged a coup in 2014. NACC will seek clarification from the PM’s brother.—Prachachat Turakij

*    General Preecha said he had clarified the NACC on all issues and ready to defend himself on this.—Krungthep Turakij

*    Krungthep Turakij viewed this out-of-the-blue NACC accusation as the PM ‘strategic retreat’ to minutely sacrifice his family to bring back his popularity as an altruistic politician and to boost NACC credibility widely seen as biased for the Deputy PM Prawit.—Krungthep Turakij

*    NACC accused 4 government MPs of swiping MP ID cards to vote on other MPs’ behalf during the House’s vote on 2020 budget bill.  The four MPs include three from BJT and an MP from PPRP.—Krungthep Turakij

*    The secretary-general of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) Anucha said he has not been informed about the party’s annual convention scheduled on 20 June. Anucha, who also serves as the Minister to the Prime Minister Office, said he had not heard about the attempt to kick him out of the position. PPRP secretary-general Anucha said he had not discussed this matter with the party leader Deputy PM Prawit.–Matichon

Analysis/opinion

•    Krungthep Turakij regarded that much attention placed on the PPRP annual convention means that the earlier reports that a new party setting up by the Interior Ministry secretary-general as the PPRP supplement is no longer the main plan for the PM. The new political party named ‘Ruam Thai Sarng Chart’  (the PM flagship motto) is expected to gain more votes for the PM, in addition to the PPRP, should the electoral system remains to that of a single ballot. Yet, as there have been attempts by the coalition MPs to push for the two ballot systems (one for constituency MP, the other for party-listed MP) via Constitutional amendments, the prospect of the PPRP to be the largest party in the House and legitimacy to form the government (now PPRP is second to Opposition Pheu Thai) is getting more secured, despite the fear that the two-ballot will equally give Pheu Thai a landslide chance.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Cabinet’s decisions, 8 June 2021

  • Approved the plan to reopen 10 provinces of Thailand to international tourists in Q3 and Q4 of this year, starting with the reopening of Phuket through the sandbox scheme on 1 July.  Related agencies will submit detailed reopening plans for the deliberation by CESA and the cabinet in subsequent weeks.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Thai Government press release
  • Approved of allocating 2.25 billion Baht from FY2021 central budget reserved for emergency purposes to hire 10,000 new university graduates for 1 year, starting from June 2021.  Some 28 state agencies will hire the graduates for 18,000 Baht per month per person.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • PM Prayut thanked DPM and Commerce Minister Jurin for working with Finance Ministry and 5 state-owned banks and financial institutions to provide soft loans to some 120,000 restaurants nationwide, starting from 7 June.  Source:  Matichon
  • At the cabinet’s meeting yesterday, PM Prayut affirmed of the 1 trillion Baht loan, 984 billion Baht was approved for use and 73 percent was disbursed (730 billion Baht).   The remaining sum, 15 billion Baht, is likely to be spent on subsidizing utility bills in a bid to reduce people’s living costs.  Additionally, PM Prayut has instructed the cabinet to speed up the implementation of various projects because the government has only 1 year left in the office.  In the meantime, PM Prayut will push ahead with plans to rehabilitate the economy, boost farmers’ income and reform the education system.   Source: Bangkok Post

Tourism

  • Airlines and hotels in Phuket have a lukewarm response towards the Phuket sandbox reopening model on 1 July.  July is a low season for tourism, with arrivals expected to from Europe and the Middle East.  The Thai Hotel Association noted most hotels are taking a wait and see approach since they are unsure if demand is high enough to make it worth the costs of reopening their hotels, with tourism anticipated to fully kick off from October onward.  In July, only 25-30 percent of hotels expected to be in operation.  Similarly, domestic airlines anticipate low demand from July-September and will closely monitor the situation before increasing their flights.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij
  • Thai Travel Agents said there is little hope of attracting Chinese travellers to Thailand under the sandbox scheme during the Chinese Golden Week in October if Thailand’s infection rate remains above 2,000 cases per day.  Guangzhou city has also imposed a 21-day quarantine for its returning citizens, meaning the Phuket Sandbox reopening may still fail to lure Chinese to travel overseas.  Nevertheless, Thai Travel Agents opined that it is necessary to test the reopening of Phuket even if it does not produce a fruitful outcome in the early stage.  TTA said the government should establish a 10-billion-Baht fund to provide loans to tour operators, similarly to Village funds.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Representatives from Samui’s tourism sector met with Tourism authority of Thailand and Ministry of Tourism and Sports to reiterate that it is ready to reopen to inoculated tourists on 1 July.  Their request will be considered by CCSA.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The FTA Fund is helping a dairy cooperative in Lopburi province secure funding for the purchase of cow feed for 5 years, starting since July last year.  Agriculture Ministry also noted that local farmers must enhance their competitiveness in preparation for the influx of Australian and New Zealand dairy products when tariff rate quota and tariff is lifted under their respective FTAs.  Sources:  Manager Online  Naew Na
  • PM Prayut appointed DPM Supattanapong, the Finance Ministry and NESDC to study the G7 agreement that will impose a global minimum tax rate of 15 percent on multinationals among G7 countries, especially the tech giants.  The team was instructed to assess its impact on Thailand’s ability to attract foreign investments into Thailand and the EEC zone.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij  Prachachart Turakij 
  • Ministry of Commerce (MoC) is drafting Thailand’s first national trade strategy plan from 2021 – 2025, which will align with the government’s 20-year strategy and the promotion of 12 S-Curve industries.  MoC divulged that the trade strategy will help Thailand cope with the pandemic by focusing on 4 target industries, namely processed agricultural products and food; healthcare and wellness; bio-technology; and digital technology.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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