Advance Blog

February 2, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 1 February 2022

News

Newly confirmed cases

Total Cases

Death toll

Hospitalised/ intensive care patients

8,587

Domestic +8,456

Abroad+131

2,456,551

22

83,094

 

Total recovered patients

 ( since 1 Jan 2022)

 

182,756

Total vaccination

1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Jan-1 Feb)

2nd dose vaccine recipients

(from 28 Jan-1 Feb)

3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Jan-1 Feb)

115,531,164 (+274,648)

52,357,334

(+26,276)

 

75.3 %

48,685,999

(+50,692)

 

70.0 %

14,487,831

(+197,680)

 

20.8%

Source : Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)

Covid-19 situation in Thailand / change regulation

  • People who want to have a third or fourth Covid-19 shot at the vaccination centre at Bang Sue Grand Station can choose to have a lighter-dose intradermal injection;15mcg or 30mcg of vaccine per dose, and intradermal injections with a 10mcg/dose Bangkokpost  Springnews
  • Dr Yong Poovorawan,outspoken   virologist expert  said in  his Facebook page yesterday that children should receive mRNA (Pfizer) and/or inactivated (Sinovac and Sinopharm) vaccines adding that Thai FDA approve inactivated vaccines for children as soon as possible Thenation
  • Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Director-general of Control Disease department, Ministry of Public Heath confirmed that inactivated Chinese vaccine, Sinovac has enough storage for children from 3-17 years old. Currently, Sivonac for children is waiting for the approval by Thai FDA Workpoint

 

Politics

  • The Prime Minister expressed readiness for a censure motion over its handling of economic issues including rising public debt, the COVID-19 outbreak, corruption and the African Swine Flu outbreak . The centure motion will be organized on February 17-18 following a motion filed by opposition Pheu Thai Party leader Chonlanan and 173 MPs under Section 152 of the Constitution.   Mathichon   Thenation
  • Paiboon Nititawan, the Deputy Head of Palangpracharat party insisted the loss of Palangpracharat in the Sunday’s by-election could not guarantee that the party will defeat other constituencies. Constituency 9 is only one of the total 400 constituencies nationwide under 2-ballot electoral system that will be adopted in next year’s election.   He also confirmed that there would be no parliament dissolution. Thestandard
  • The cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft of a Prime Minister’s Office regulation to set up three centres to crack down on fake news and false information on social media in different levels.  The Provincial Administration Department under the Interior Ministry will also set up such centres in each province with provincial governors or deputy provincial governors are responsible Bangkokpost  Thestandard

 

Tony Woodsome on Clubhouse (1 February 2022)

Tony Woodsome, known as the former Prime Minister who lives in exile, Thaksin Shinawatra spoke in the clubhouse organized by Care group  last night .He shared interesting points, including his though on the government stability as follows;

  • He said that the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha might not have too long to stay in office , and  call for Prayut to dissolve the Lower House if he loves the country.
  • He pointed that the current government is in a feeble state in terms of the ability to run national administration as the ruling party that supports him is losing its strength.
  • As a result, the public’s confidence in the government has been declining and no one is confident to invest in Thailand. He then urged Gen Prayut to dissolve the parliament if he loves the country and allow the public to decide.
  • Tony predicted that after the next general election, the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) will become divided.
  • Its members will be from one another. This can be seen from the current state in which the Thammanat Prompao, former PPRP Secretary-general  led MPs in his control faction to a new party,
  • Adding on to that, Tony pointed that the switching back to a 2-ballot system in the next election may prevent PPRP members from setting up new parties because the new election system will strengthen the political system.
  • He also predicted that the election will be held by mid of 2022.
  • Lastly, he emphasized that Prayut, the Premier and Thammanat , the former PPRP secretary were not his enemy especially Thammanat who once was a member of Pheu Thai party, whom he has a affiliation with. Mathichon Voicetv

Others

  • Following the prolonged protest by P-Move, the land rights activists group at the government house, the cabinet today approved  in principle 15 points that the groups demand to ensure the basic rights of ethnic minorities to land settlement, community land title deeds and settlement of land disputes with the State Railway of Thailand and with Ban Bang Kloi land in Kaeng Krachan national park. ThaiPBS  Bangkokpost

 

Economics

 Akara Mine

 

  • In an exclusive interview with Prachachart Turakij newspaper, DG Niran Yingmahisaranon of the Basic Industrial and Mining Department, Ministry of Industry, shared the details of Thailand’s negotiations with Kingsgate Consolidated which ran in parallel with the TAFTA tribunal in Singapore.   
  • DG Niran said Kingsgate is not concerned about the Thai government using Article 44 to suspend Chatree mine’s operations, rather the company felt it was bullied and not given justice.  Kingsgate suing the Thai government is a ‘misunderstanding’ that could be settled between both countries, according to DG Niran.  The Thai government had closed the mine simply because of environmental concerns which needed investigation.
  • The Thai government had granted the licenses for Chatree mine to reopen because Kingsgate demonstrated it is willing to comply with the new rules set under Thailand’s Mineral Act 2017.  In complying with the new law, Akara mine had agreed to set up a ‘fund’ to care for the health of the villagers as well as to develop the areas around the mine.  The mine will also develop a new database on health and environment, which will be developed in accordance with the Thai requirements. 
  • This will solve the environmental concerns raised by local villagers.  The Thai government did not grant licenses to Kingsgate in order to convince the company to drop the lawsuit against Thailand. Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • In this editorial, the author commented that the Thai government will be required to pay compensation to Kingsgate for the losses stemming from the suspension of its operation for 5 years.  The compensation which the Thai government will pay may not be as high as Kingsgate’s demand of 750 million USD (30 billion Baht) for violating TAFTA rules, but the sum will be hefty.  The author asked if the payment for this sum will be from the people’s tax, wherein Thais are being unfairly implicated in the matter.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • The Network of People for Reform of Mineral Resources has called on DPM Wissanu to explain why the government allowed Akara Resources to resume operations at Chatree gold mine, calling the decision a historic stain on Thailand.  Source:  The Nation

 

Cabinet’s Decisions, 1 February 2022

  • Approved for the government to allocate a budget of 60 billion baht for this year’s state welfare card scheme for 20 million registrants.  Registration is to begin in Q3, with cardholders scheduled to receive monthly payment in October.  MoF estimated that the number of eligible applicants will be closer to 17 million.
  • Agreed to allow employees insured under Section 40 of the Social Security Act to further reduce their monthly contributions to the Social Security Fund (SSF) for another 6 months, from Feb 1 to July 31.   Source:  Bangkok Post newspaper, 2 February 2022; Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 2 February 2022

 

Others

  • Questions are being raised of the 10-year Long Term Resident visa will be sufficiently effective and attractive to woo wealthy foreigners.  Property developers lamented the Interior Ministry’s scrapping of the proposal to increase foreign ownership quota for condominium beyond 49 percent.  However, it will not impact the condominium market because the current 49 percent quota has not been reached.  The scrapping of the extension of leasehold rights from 30 years to 50 years will have an impact as it could make investments in large-scale projects for leasehold land more attractive and drive higher demand from foreigners.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Commerce Ministry has made preparations to help Thai exporters enjoy preferential tariff for exporting to South Korea after its RCEP membership takes effect on 1 February.  Commerce Ministry has its system for certifying the country of origin of Thai goods exported to South Korea.  Source: The Nation
The Bank of Thailand has rolled out a public consultation session for its plan to revolutionise the financial landscape, entitled Repositioning Thailand’s Financial Sector for a Sustainable Digital Economy.  The paper focuses on 3 new directions including digitisation, the environment (green loan) and free competition for new players, such as virtual banks and start-ups.  The public consultation runs until the end of February.  Sources  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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