Advance Blog

August 10, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 10 August 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports no newly confirmed case, a total of 3,351 cases. Out of the total number, 3,160 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.30%); 133 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. This is the 77th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
    • The Office of the Private Education Commission (Opec) said more than 3,000 foreign teachers will enter Thailand for posts at private-run schools across the country. The teachers will undergo alternative state quarantine.—Bangkok Post
  • The case of Red Bull heir is still developing:
    • The office of Attorney-general told in a press-conference that the office has instructed the Thonglor Police Station to look into the evidence on the car’s speed and the usage of illicit drugs again. The investigation must be finalised by 20 August.—The Reporters
    • The Police Committee told the press that they have found out the culprit in the case and the committee will submit the name list to the Police Chief for his consideration on punishment tomorrow.—Thai Post
  • The 4th Army is mulling asking the cabinet to lift the emergency decree in four more districts of the Deep South Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat as the number of violent situation has this year fallen by 58% compared to last year, while the number of deaths associated with the violence dropped by 70%.—Bangkok Post

Politics

  • The by-election result in Samut Prakan’s Constituency 5 has secured the other seat for the coalition as the candidate from the main ruling Palang Pracharat (PPRP) with 46,747 votes against the opposition parties.—all media outlet
  • The Digital Economy Minister came out to warn the protestors not to post anything in violating the Monarchy. He said that for any Thais, violating the monarchy is not considered acceptable. He also stressed that he has given social media platform (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) to take down ‘inappropriate’ posts as the court has ordered in 15 days; or else the platforms will have to face a fine.—Nation TV
  • The anti-government protestors were on high bulletin last weekend:
    • On Friday morning, the Free Youth Movement announced its new organisation “Free People Movement” at a press conference at the Democracy Monument. The group reiterated its three demands: stop harassing the people; draft a new constitution and dissolve the parliament, on two significant conditions: no coup d’état and no (monarch appointed) national reconciliation government. The movement feared that the government might get away with the pressures by holding a snap election without any amendment to the constitution, so the movement indicates the ultimatum that all senators, hand-picked by PM Prayut with the unprecedented power to vote the PM, need to be gone. They announce the next demonstration on 16 August.—all media outlet
    • On Friday afternoon, human rights activist Anon Nampa and Panupong Jadnok were charged and arrested on charges of sedition and defying an emergency decree imposed to control the coronavirus. They were held overnight at a police station as the court said the police was too late to ask for court detainment. The police also briefed the press that apart from the two, there are 29 more students and activists who are being charged or the same grounds. Free People Movement announced a flash mob at 4.00pm on Saturday.
    • On Friday night, politicians from the main opposition Pheu Thai (Chief Strategist Khunying Sudarat) and Move Forward Party joined the protestors in front of the police station which had arrested the activists.
    • On Saturday morning, the two went to the court with a small group of protestors gathered in front of the court. The upheaval rose high, as there was a rumour that the two will be detained in a prison where fortune teller Mr Suriyan Sucharitpolwong died suspiciously. (Wassana Nanuam). The soothsayer whose surname was given by the current King was put in jail for an alleged corruption in the King’s campaign of ‘Bike for Mom’. In order to lessen the tension, the court had to hold an urgent press conference that if the two were to be put in jail, they will be detained in the Bangkok Remand Prison; not the prison as indicated by the rumour.—Thai Rath, The Standard
    • On Saturday evening, the two activists were released on bail terms (not to repeat the same actions). Meanwhile, around a thousand (Reuters estimated more than 1,000; AP estimated around 800) of anti-government demonstrators rallied in Bangkok CBD denouncing the arrest of the activists and repeating their three main requests. At the end of the flash mob, other activists who got the arrest orders appeared on stage and announce that they will join the demonstration on 16 August (the arrest order indicated that the police must arrest all the 31 activists by 10 August).
    • Another interesting development in the flash-mob was a campaign asking university graduates not to attend the graduation ceremony. (Background: the Royal family members presented the certificate to graduates of all state university in Thailand, the tradition conducted to forge bonds between the monarch and the graduates. Manager).—The Bangkok Insight
    • On Sunday, student protest leaders in the central province of Pitsanulok was taken by unknown state officials for ‘attitude adjustment’. The Phitsanulok protest organiser posted on their Facebook page outlining the processes they passed through. The border patrol military unit which the protestors claimed was taken by denied involvement.—BBC Thai
    • After the bail-out, Anon joined the demonstration in Chiang Mai. He reiterated the speech he gave on 3 August where he claimed the monarch has extended the power beyond the democratic with constitutional monarchy regime has allowed. He also underlined the ultimatum in demanding the junta hand-picked Senators to resign by 30 September. The police said there were 500 protestors while the organisers claimed 1,000 participants.—BBC Thai
    • This morning, another group of protestor gathered in front of the Parliament demanding the drafting of the new election. Authority concerns that there will be a clash between the group and the pro-government group led by Lt Gen Nanthadet Meksawat, a former key member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (a group led by key members of Democrat Party formed after the Yingluck government amnesty bill and the main proposition of General Prayut coup d’état in 2014).—all media outlet 
  • The authority’s perspective on constitutional amendment is still evolving:
    • Democrat party’s deputy leader Ong-art Klampaibul said the third largest coalition party is on the same page with the charter amendment proposal to scrap the Senate’s power in joining the House to vote on PM. He also disagreed with the provision of security forces’ head serving concurrently as the senator.—Naew Na
    • The Senate also holds different stances on the amendment. Senator Seree Suwanpanont responded to the proposition of Senator Wanchai Sornsiri in scrapping Senator’s  PM vote power by saying that the majority of the Senate is still undecided over the issue.—Krungthep Turakij

Business:

  • The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) will start a new study on CPTPP with hope to submit the study for the government to join the pact next year. Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the CPTPP is an opportunity for Thailand to export products to new markets. Concurrently, the House and the cabinet (via Trade Negotiations Department) also establish panels to study the impacts of CPTPP.—Bangkok Post, Manager, Naew Na
  • The FTI said they will present its economic rehabilitation plan to newly appointed Finance Minister Predee, asking the government to let Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation extend the debt guarantee for SMEs under the central bank’s soft loan scheme for another two years from the existing two-year plan. One of the proposals is to have the government speeding up 50-billion-baht fund to assist micro enterprises and SMEs overall in gaining easier access to commercial bank loans.—Prachachrt Turakij
  • The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) reported on Friday that the consumer confidence index rose to 50.1 in July from 49.2 in June, 48.2 in May and 47.2 in April. The president of UTCC said the easing of restriction, the government’s economic stimulus package and the better COVID-19 situation in Thailand has resulted in the better consumer sentiment.—ThaiPBS 

 Opinion:

  • With Mr Preedee is set to become the next Finance Minister, it is expected that one of his missions is to restructure the budget in an attempt to squeeze some budget for economic recovery. The report said that the new Finance Minister eyes to cut-down the roads renovation budget of Transport Ministry which is now under the second largest Bhumjaithai party control. However, the mission is not a path paved with roses, as the Minister is eyeing to use the budget PR the party in their constituencies.—Krungthep Turakij
  • An opinion piece views the political landscape with the demand on drafting the new constitution and demand reform while PM Prayut who has been in power for almost 6 years has not been able to deliver which, in Thailand, would more often than not lead to the coup d’état.–ThaiRath 
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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