Advance Blog

May 26, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headline summary as of 26th May 2020

News

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today, Thailand reports 3 newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,045 cases. Out of the total number, 2,929 have been discharged from hospital; 59 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 57.
  • Today, in the cabinet weekly meeting, one of the agenda is whether the cabinet will approve the extension of emergency decree to until the end of June.
  • With the 3rd phase of COVID restriction easing is set to be elaborated by CCSA tomorrow, some boxing stadiums have already posted on their social media since 22 May that their fans should be ready, they are set to re-open. Earlier in February, two boxing stadiums with deep Army connection were the largest cluster and super-spreaders of COVID-19 in Thailand.–all media outlet
  • Advance Info Service (AIS), Thailand’s largest mobile operator, said that a database leak which released 8.3 billion internet records of millions of customers did not contain any sensitive information and that it had shut down the database. The operator was pointed out by tech companies and internet users that AIS’s database was accessible to anyone without a password and the leaked information could be used to track and construct pictures of what households were doing on their internet connection.–Thai Enquirer, BBC Thai

Politics

  • iLaw, a local NGO on rule of law, released voting records of the security force chiefs who also seat as senate, according to the junta-drafted but referendum-approved 2017 Consitution. Out of 145 voting agendas, Navy Chief ditched 144 times and Army Chief Apirat skipped 143 times. The only agenda which all security chief voted on was the agenda to transfer part of the budget and personnel of the Thai army to be under the direct control of His Majesty the King. Under the current constitution, six security force chiefs also seat as senates in the interim period, holding an extra power of nominating the Prime Minister.–all media outlet
  • The spokesperson of the Army cited security chiefs might have their own businesses to attend to. The spokesperson believed that the chiefs could explain themselves.–all media outlet
  • With the ongoing reports on the internal rift within the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party, the PPRP is set to hold an MPs meeting today to prep the MPs on the upcoming House debate on loans bill. 
  • Deputy PM Prawit, as the PPRP chief strategist and the, reportedly, contender for the party leader said he would not be present at the meeting. He merely said, “I am not going, nothing to do with me.
  • Yesterday, the Finance Minister and party leader Uttama called a meeting for 40MPs at the Finance Ministry to brief the MP on the upcoming debate. The Energy Minister and MPs under ‘Sam Mitr’ faction were not present at yesterday’s meeting.
  • The leader and MP of the Move Forward Party (the successor of now-defunct Future Forward Party) Pita said he could not join the Parliamentary debates on the COVID-related loans as he is going through neck operation.
  • With the news reporting on close aides to ousted and self-exile former PM Thaksin eyeing to set up a new political party after the internal conflict in the House largest and main opposition, Pheu Thai party reportedly reaches the point of no return, it is unclear what the political consequences it will have on the ‘deal’ Thaksin reportedly had with the ‘powerful figure’ not to get involved in politics.–Daily News
  • Breaking: Pheu Thai Party decided not to run for the re-election in the Northern province of Lampang, leaving the candidate from the opposition Seri Ruam Thai party to run on behalf of the opposition against the main ruling PPRP. 

Business:

Economic Recovery Plans

  • National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) approved for the 400 billion Baht allocated for economic and social rehabilitation projects to be spent on four sectors:
    1. Future sustainable growth (smart agriculture, large-scale farming, food processing, bio-economy, tourism)
    2. Local economic development – 200 billion Baht would go to supporting community businesses and community tourism.  Tourism and Sports Ministry also plans to provide subsidy for boosting domestic tourism
    3. Household and private consumption stimulus; and
    4. Small scale infrastructure development (water & irrigation, R&D for digital platform, transport & logistics)
  • Relevant ministries must propose development projects under these guidelines by June 15.  NESDC will screen the projects before proposing them to the cabinet, to be approved by 7 July.  The projects are to be implemented from July and completed within fiscal year 2021. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924128/nesdc-okays-guideline-for-b400bn-rehabilitation
  • Ministry of Finance had established a team to conduct site-visits nationwide in order to assess the conditions and needs of the general population affected by the pandemic outbreak.  Ministry of Finance is also offering training for upskilling unemployed workers and promote e-marketplace.  It is concurrently working with special financial institutions to launch financial and loan packages targeting a broader group of end-users.  Source:  http://www.mof.go.th

Tourism

  • Tourism and Sports Ministry will ask Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) this Friday about easing domestic tourism restrictions, starting from June.  Domestic tourism would start within the same region for the first two weeks, followed by inter-regional travel.
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand also hopes that 70 percent of the tourism supply chain will join the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification standard within the first two years.  SHA project officially started on May 25, with online application opened since 18 May.  As of May 24, some 1,442 operators in 10 tourism-related businesses applied for SHA certification. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924176/tourism-and-sports-ministry-seeks-to-lift-domestic-lockdown
  • The National Shippers’ Council identified the recovery of 20 export items based on the scenario that there is no further Covid19 outbreaks and countries have lifted their lockdowns:
  • V-Shape recovery (fast recovery expected in Q2/Q3 of 2020 ): Consumer market food, electronics (mobile phone, computer, tablet); automotive parts; plastic products; and rubber products for medical equipment 
  • U-Shape recovery (moderate recovery expected after a vaccine is developed in Q4/2020 – Q1/2021): Frozen seafood supplied to hotels, restaurants and catering businesses; rice; sugar; electrical appliance; construction equipment; garment & apparel (for sports gears as sports tournaments resume); generic rubber products; and chemicals
  • L-Shape recovery (slow recovery starting from Q2/2020 as they are considered luxury items): automotive; rubber (for manufacturing tyres); jewelleries (excluding gold); plastic beads; petroleum and tapioca.  Source:  https://www.thansettakij.com/content/434110
  • Federation of Thai Industries is conducting a feasibility study on shifting domestic auto-parts plants to manufacturing for the new S-curve industries, such as medical devices and aviation parts.  The move is in response to a drop in demand for automotive since the pandemic outbreak and will also help businesses and auto parts Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) survive.  The new S-Curve industries will most likely see a boost in attention under the government’s economic recovery plan.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924156/fti-mulls-repurposing-auto-parts-plants
  • Thai Airways had selected four new board members after entering rehabilitation program, including former Thai Airways President Piyasvasti Amranand, former Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, former CEO of TMB Bank Boontuck Wungcharoen and former CEO and President of PTT Pailin Chuchottaworn.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924052/thai-picks-new-board-members-piyasvasti-returns
  • Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhop will not apply for a second term after his five-year tenure expires on 30 September.  Application period for the next governor starts from 26 May until June 16.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1924216/veerathai-rules-out-central-bank-encore
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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