Advance Blog

May 22, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headline summary as of 22nd May 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today Thailand reports no newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,037 cases. Out of the total number, 2,910 have been discharged from the hospital; 71 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 56.
    • Breaking: Deputy PM Somkid has told the media that CCSA panel has agreed with the National Security Council’s proposition to extend the emergency decree for one more month, effective from 1 June until 30 June. NSC Secretary-general said the decree is crucial to controlling the situation in the 3rd and 4th easing phases.—BBC Thai
    • CCSA spokesperson defends the extension of emergency decree is due to public health reasons. The decision will be presented to the cabinet for the weekly cabinet meeting next Tuesday.
  • An association of racehorse owners in Nakhon Ratchasima province has taken a clear stance against an order by the Department of Livestock Development that they get their horses vaccinated against African horse sickness (AHS).—Bangkok Post

Politics

  • Today marks 6 years anniversary since the coup in 2014.
    • Thai Enquirer published an exclusive interview to Former PM Yingluck. She said she does not believe that the attempted reconciliation could actually happen.
    • Chaiwat Satha-Anand, a professor of politics and government at Thammasat University the  is unique in that the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) top brass who engineered it have stayed in power longer than those who carried out the three previous putsches. This allows for a long cooling-off period, during which those frustrated by the coup see their discontent taper off, while others come to take the coup for granted.—Bangkok Post
  • Deputy PM Somkid said the news about his clique setting up a new political party due to an intra-party conflict is ‘nonsense’.—Naew Na, Siam Rath
  • Fractions in the main opposition Pheu Thai Party became more visible in that key members of 3 factions inside the now defunct Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party are reportedly having talks about the creation of (a) new parties, according to a source from the Pheu Thai Party. The first group is led by Phumtham, advisor to the opposition leader, and 2 ex-deputy prime ministers Surapong and Prommin while another group is led by Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, a former energy minister, and possibly Pol Capt. Chalerm Yubamrung.
  • Army chief General Apirat made a rare media interview on the coup anniversary and the possibility of a symbolic protest that the army cannot prevent people from exercising their rights and freedom. And he said that the laser projection on the Ministry of Defence by the Progressive Movement is a matter of the police, the army has no authority in that.—all media outlet  

Business:

  • Most tourism operators have yet to receive the soft loan from Government Savings Bank, which is part of the government’s Phase II stimulus package.  Of the 3,073 tourism operators that submitted loan requests worth 12.7 billion Baht, only 1 percent or 36 cases with loans worth 87.2 million Baht were approved.
  • The government aims to record 100 million domestic trips this year.  It will have to persuade the outbound market to convert to travel domestically by at least three times.  International tourist number forecast is 10-11 million and will resume in October.
  • The Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to seek PM Prayut’s permission to allow domestic tourism to start in provinces that reported zero new cases for the past 21 days.  Tourism Council of Thailand urges the government to let tourism operators resume business in June to give them a lifeline.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1922232/tourism-sector-looks-to-resume-domestic-trips
  • Board of Investment (BOI) identified medical device sector as the new, promising industry, while the government also aims to develop Thailand as the medical devices hub of ASEAN.
  • As such, BOI aims to set up joint ventures or convince foreign firms to establish or move their manufacturing base for medical devices to Thailand.  BOI will hold Subcon Thailand, ASEAN’s largest international industrial subcontracting event, from Sept 23-26 at BITEC in Bangkok.  This is the first time the event will spotlight the medical devices industry and is expected to facilitate some 8,000 business matches with a targeted 12 billion Baht in value.
  • BOI is developing Thailand’s subcontracting sector to serve new targeted industries.  The initial focus is on aerospace, medical devices, electric vehicle, smart electronics and the railway system sectors.  Furthermore, BOI has conducted several programmes to help foreign assemblers and manufacturers source high-quality parts and components from Thai SMEs.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1922228/boi-seeks-to-lure-makers-of-medical-equipment

Cash-Handout

  • Of the 15 million applicants approved to receive or the Ministry of Finance’s 5,000 Baht cash handout, 7 million were disqualified, 15 million are eligible to receive the payment and 240,000 applicants are under review. 
  • Of the 15 million eligible applicants, payments were already made to 14.2 million (99 percent) and the rest will receive their payment today.
  • Of the 240,000 applicants currently under review, 80,000 is scheduled to be audited by MoF.  Some 100,000 applicants could not be found by the MoF’s auditing team during their on-site visit and the remaining 60,000 applicants cannot be contacted.  Source:  http://www.mof.go.th
  • There are 6.7 million farmers eligible for the 15,000 Baht cash handout from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative.  Payments were made to 3.2 million farmers valued at 16.1 billion Baht since 15 May.  From 22 – 29 May, payments are expected to be made to 3.5 million farmers.  As of 21 May, payments could not be made to 113,035 farmers as most have not provided their bank account details.  Eligible farmers include those who work in fishery, livestock, rubber and crop sectors.  Source:  Ministry of Finance News Station fb page, 22 May.
  • On 29 March, the Ministry of Human Development and Security will pay 1,000 Baht to over 200,000 people with disabled card starting from 29 May.  No registration is needed.  Source:  Thai Government fb page, 21 May.

Others

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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