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
7,422 Domestic +7164 Abroad+161 2,447,964 12 83,014
Total vaccination 1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb) 2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb) 3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
202,944 (yesterday) Total 115,256,516 52,331,058 (+15,378 yesterday)   75.2 % 48,635,307 (+31,886 yesterday)   69.9 % 14,290,151 (+155,680 yesterday)   20.5%

  • The ” Test & Go”  scheme for fully vaccinated travellers recommence today .The travellers required to take an extra RT-PCR test on the 5th day of arriving and to wait for the test result at their hotel or face the legal consequences.   Bangkokpost  ThaiPBS
  • Thailand  started  the vaccination program for children aged 5-11 to receive Pfizer vaccine yesterday at Queen Sirikit hall. It was the first 300,000 doses that were arrived  in the country, before another 300,000 dose per week will be sent to Thailand of totalling 10 million doses that has been ordered TheNation
  • The Ministry of Public Health gave a green light on the use of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine on infant and children aged  up to 3 years old Thairath 

Politics

  • The long -awaited local elections of Bangkok governor and Pattaya mayor are possible to be held in May, Gen Anupong Phaochinda, Ministry of Interior spoked to the media.The last Bangkok governor election took place in 2013 before the elected government was sacked by the head of National Council for Peace and Order ( NCPO)  after 2014 coup and appointed the latter governor in 2016 ThaiPBS
  • After the by-election result ,  Pheu Thai emphasized the time is running out for the Premier Prayut,adding his time will end in May as opposition blocs plan to put him in the the motion of no confidence vote this coming February Mathichon
  • P-Move, the influential land rights group, who has protested in front of the government house for days released the statement, urging the government to review the cases and to  halt the legal proceedings faced  to the locals from Bang Kloi, the ethnic Karen village as well as request the cabinet to review the draft act on the protection of ethnic community rights that the group submitted  Mathichon

            By-election in Constituency 9 ( Laksi-Chatuchak) analysis from media

             TheMomentum , the prominent digital outlet released the analysis on their observations of Sunday’s by-election

  • The conquer of Pheu Thai from this by-election was the unexpected “ downward “ of the supporters of the “ government “.
  • The prolonged internal conflicts of Palangpracharat party (PPRP),which consisted of 11 divided  groups, and the departure of  its controversial Secretary-General, Thammanat Promprao together with approximately 20 MPs to the newly formed party “ Thai Economics party ”  
  • The former-Secretary-General of Palangpracharat himself did not help PPRP to campaign this by-election.
  • The extreme campaign of the newly established party “ Thai Pakdee ” (meaning Loyal Thai) to protect the monarchy institution has shifted the support of royalists who favoured Palangpracharat to Thai Pakdee. Although  the party( Thai Pakdee) votes marked at 5,987 for the first time in enrolling the election, it scored higher than  “ New Economics Party”  at  5,872 from 2019 election
  • “ Kla Party “ whose campaigned to support Prayut Chan-O-Cha in becoming the Prime Minister again in the very last days before by-election occurred, did not receive the support from the public much despite the party candidate, Atavit Suwannapakdee, who is also the party’s Secretary-General, once won the election in this constituency in the past.This means Prayut cannot sell anymore.
  •  The totalling scores of the opposition camps ( Pheu Thai and Move Forward) are approximately 50,000 , which are higher than the 3 pro-government camps altogether ( Kla, Thai Pakdee and Palangpracharat) at  34,000.
  •  In this connection, The Momentum summarizes that the Prime Minister Prayut has to leave from the post sooner or later.

            TheMatter another online media also share the analysis of this by-election as follows;

  • The qualification  of Palangpracharat candidate, who is the wife of the controversial former MP Sira Jenjaka as she herself is unknow to the public , and the internal conflict of the party become the major factors why Palangpracharat defeated the by-election this time
  • Sakonthi Pattiyakul, former deputy Bangkok governor who is also the former Democrat MP who once won the election in this Constituency said that comparing to the percentage of vote turnouts in 2019, the trend of Prayut supporters was not much different. The vote turnout in this by election is 22% lesser than in 2019 election. In this connection, he stated  the defeat of Palangpracharat this time rather came from the qualification of the party candidate and its internal conflict.
  • The Matter summarized that the number of MPs play very much a crucial role in the stability of thr government. Although some groups may have an advantage from the 250-appointed senators, but if there is not enough support from the MPs. It’s difficult to undergo any parliamentary process in the future ( no confidence vote etc)

Economics

Akara Mine

  • The Thai Ministry of Industry (MoI) revealed that Australia’s Kingsgate Consolidated company and the Thai government have negotiated to defer the date of the TAFTA tribunal award issuance by at least 6 months from the original date of 31 January.  The final date will be settled between both parties within this week.  MoI said the reason for the deferral is to give more time for the Thai government and the Australian company to negotiate and reach a resolution without the need to involve the TAFTA tribunal lawsuit. 
  • DPM Wisanu insisted he is not aware of the TAFTA tribunal award issuance deferral; but is aware of the negotiation between the MoI and Kingsgate that led to the re-opening of Chatree mine.  As long as Chatree mine is willing to comply with the measures of the new Mineral Act 2017, it can submit an application to resume operation, said the DPM.  He said there exists a committee to consider the application, but whether or not the committee will allow Chatree Mine to reopen will depend on many factors, such as the environment, natural resources and land.
  • The DPM is adamant that the Thai government did not order the closure of the mine – it simply did not renew the mining licenses as it wanted to wait until the new Mineral Act 2017 is finalised.  Once the new Mineral Act was enforced, Kingsgate was invited back to proceed with license renewal request.  Sources:  Naew Na  Thai Rath   Khao Sod
  • According to Kingsgate’s quarterly report for the period ending 31 December 2021, the ‘TAFTA tribunal has advised that it will continue to defer the issuance of the award until it has resolved certain procedural matters and refrain from issuing the award without prior notification’.  Kingsgate also reported to the Australian Stock Exchange that the TAFTA tribunal has deferred the verdict reading ‘indefinitely’.  Source:  BBC Thai
  • The Civic Group for Mineral and Gold Mining Reform gathered at the Permanent Secretary’s Office to present evidence that the 4 outstanding mining leases granted by Thai government to Chatree mine are for plots of land which are being prosecuted for land encroachment.  In 2020, the Thai Royal Forest Department asked the police and Department of Special Investigation to take action against Akara Resources for encroaching on 15 plots of public and forest land in Phichit and Phetchaun provinces.  The civic group said the granting of the mining leases is therefore illegal and breaches the Mineral Act 2017.  The group also added that this is just one among the array of illegal activities committed by Kingsgate, which are being investigated by DSI.  The Group said the Thai government has caused a colossal damage to the country by illegally renewing the mining license to Kingsgate.  Source:  Nation TV

Others

  • Ministry of Finance (MoF) expects Thailand’s GDP in 2022 to grow at an average of 4 percent due to the recovery of domestic consumption, export and tourism.  Foreign arrival number is forecasted at 7 million as the Test & Go scheme is revived.  MoF anticipates Omicron outbreak will affect the Thai economy in Q1 and Q2 of 2022, with infections set to peak in March.  High household debt will also dampen domestic consumption, wherein the government’s stimulus packages will remain crucial in fostering economic growth.  Source:  Bangkok Post  ThaiPBS World
  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) believes the Omicron variant has affected the economy to a lesser degree than predicted, despite subduing the country’s economic activities in January 2022.  The Thai economy in Q4 of 2021 has recovered from the previous quarter- the same also applies to December 2021.  Merchandise exports performed exceptionally well, partly due to improvement in the supply disruption problems and the rise in foreign tourist figures after the government re-opened the country to foreign tourists on 1 November 2021.  Sources:  Bangkok Post  Bank of Thailand Press Release
  • Thailand’s 2021 industrial GDP had expanded close to the pre-pandemic level, by 5.93 percent YoY, with industrial GDP in December 2021 growing at a historically high level of 23.6 percent, valued at 19.5 billion USD, revealed the Industry Ministry.  Thailand’s manufacturing production index (MPI) in 2021 also rose by 5.9 percent, noting that the December 2021 MPI had also expanded above pre-pandemic level.  This is driven by the expansion of key industries such as automotive, rubber, electronic appliances, petrochemical, garment, rubber and food.  For 2022, industrial GDO is expected to further expand as economic activities continue on despite the outbreak of COVID-19.  Source:  Naew NaBangkok Post

The quarantine-free ‘Test & Go’ scheme for fully vaccinated travellers resumes today (1 February), opening Thailand to visitors from all countries.  Travellers are required to take COVID-19 test on the first and fifth days of arrival.  The number of tourist arrivals in February is expected at 200,000-300,000, close to the numbers in December, and will pick up in March.  Phuket will see moderate growth as Omicron dominated the peak season and disrupted recovery.   For Koh Samui, bookings for February remain low.  There are many uncertainties ahead, such as future disruptions to Test & Go, but the sandbox scheme is designated a contingency plan.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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