Advance Blog

February 10, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 10 February 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, totally confirmed cases from clusters
15723,9036318,914 (at 77.34%)19,666
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
144 [38 (get tested in hospital) + 106 (active case finding)] 13 (in SQ) 4,909880 [872 reported by BMA yesterday + 8 by CCSA today]80 (+1 a 65-year-old lady with kidney failure and cancer)13,545

Politics

  • This morning, Opposition Move Forward Party proposed five motions to support freedom of speech, submitting the proposals to the House Speaker representatives.
    • The five motions are:
  1. Amend all defamation laws, including the Royal Defamation Law, to have a proportionate penalty.
    1. The proposed motion suggested the division of the productive criticism out of the criticism aimed at tarnishing the honours of the monarch. The latter will, according to the proposed bill, have lesser penalty. Meanwhile, for the productive criticism aimed at upholding the Constitutional Monarchy will be exempted from penalty.
    2. In order to prevent the law to be used as political tools, the proposed bill will only allow the Royal household Bureau to be the plaintiff.
  2. Amend the Computer Crime Act to stick to its main objectives and not to threaten the freedom of speech.
  3. Anti-SLAPP law for Criminal Code
  4. Anti-SLAPP law for Civil Law
  5. Amend the laws for people to sue against the state officials.
  • The party leader said to upheld the Constitutional Monarchy regime, it is best to have the monarchy above politics and not to have anyone manipulate the institution for political gains. Pita Limchareonrat raised the detention of main protest figures and the UN human rights body reports. The party secretary-general said the proposed bill is a middle-ground and as a political party, this is the a ‘compromised’ version for all political actors to live with.–
  • Yesterday, the Court denied bails to main protest figures, including Anont Nampa and Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak as public prosecutors indicted them with charges (sedition and lese majeste) for heir roles and speeches in 19 and 20 September rallies at the Royal Field. Four protest leaders  have been detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison since last evening.
    • In response, Panusaya ‘Rung’ called for the urgent gathering at Skywalk in CBD Bangkok. And there will be another gathering at the Skywalk next to the MBK department store from 5.00 pm.–Prachachat
  • Yesterday, the Parliament passed a resolution to submit the motion to establish the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) to the Constitutional Court. Coalition Bhumjaithai, Democrat and Chatthai Pattana parties joined the Opposition voted against the motion proposed by the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party. The voting results are as followed:
PartiesForAgainstAbstainAbsentGoverning/Opposition
Senate230713Governing
Palang Pracharat1138
Thai Local Power5
Action Coalition for Thailand5
Thai Forest Conservation2
10 minute parties91
Bhumjaithai601
Democrat1473
Chatthai Pattana12
Chart Pattana4
Pheu Thai12410Opposition
Move Forward512
Seri Ruamthai91
Prachachart52
For The Nation5
Thai People Power1
New Economics114Governing/Opposition
Total3663161540 
  • In a bid to communicate more with the younger generation, on the Lunar New Year, PM Prayut will have his debut on Tik Tok after he had done episodes on Podcast.–Prachachat

Analysis/opinion

  • Prachachat outlined the so-called ‘PM War Room’ to help the PM handle the upcoming censure debate. It is reported that there will be at least 3 teams to help the PM: 1. PM Advisors team led by the PM Secretariat, 2. Legal team led by Deputy PM Wissanu to look after the delicate issues related to the monarchy and 3. Prime Minister Operation Centre (PMOC) team bridging the PM Office with ministries. The PMOC will filter the information before submitting to the reportedly ‘inner circle’ team to do the last screening and the PM will pick and choose which information to use to respond to the Opposition. –Prachachat

Economic (kindly supplied by Khun Duangporn)

RCEP

  • The parliament on 9 February gave a green light for Thailand to ratify RCEP, after which the various government agencies will prepare for its implementation before Foreign Affairs Ministry will submit the official paperwork to the ASEAN Secretariat.  Commerce Ministry will also establish the FTA fund to provide remedies to Thais affected by the trade pact.  RCEP’s ratification process is expected to be completed in mid-2021.
  • The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) expects RCEP will give Thailand access to the supply chains of China, Japan and South Korea, which will boost Thailand’s export growth by 3.3 percent or 7.56 billion USD.  Overall, it will contribute to Thailand’s GDP growth by 3.4 percent.  However, negative repercussions include product dumping by member countries and the expansion of foreign e-commerce players; an area that Thailand is not well-versed with.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij  Department of Trade Negotiations News  The Standard

Others

  • Thailand Elite Card is expected to gain many new members, mostly Chinese businessmen in Myanmar whose confidence is shaken by the country’s political uncertainties.  Prior to the coup in Myanmar, a large number of Chinese members had already relocated to Chiang Mai because of its proximity to China.   The acceleration of this trend is expected to help Elite Card report profit for the first time since its establishment in 18 years and to offset its accumulated debt of 246 million Baht.  The sales of Elite Card membership of 2,066 cards in the first quarter of FY2021 already surpassed the annual target of 2,607 cards.   Currently, Chinese customers account for 25 percent of Elite Card’s total portfolio of 13,000 members.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post
  • The Board of Investment had revised investment privileges for the 10 Special Economic Zones in Thailand, valid until the end of 2021.   These comprise an 8-year exemption of income tax, a 50 percent tax exemption for 5 years and an exemption of import duty for machinery and materials for re-export.  They are applicable to 14 target sectors such as agriculture, electronics, medical equipment and tourism.  Source:  Post Today
  • The cabinet approved of an 8.8 billion Baht budget for the state-sponsored price guarantee scheme for oil palm for year 2021 harvest season, valid unti; September this year.  The guaranteed price for fresh palm nuts is set at 4 Baht per kg.  The sharp rise in domestic price of fresh palm nuts last year had also raised the price of domestic cooking palm and increased the living cost of the people.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The National Science and Technology Development Agency will allocate 6 billion Baht in fiscal year 2021 to develop innovation, science and technology to add more value to agriculture and food industries as part of the government’s BCG economic initiative.  Half of the budget will go to the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation project in Rayong, for which its construction will be completed at the end of 2021.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Krungthai Bank advised that the Thai government must invest 820 billion Baht in the next 5 years to implement the Bio-Circular-Green economic projects in a bid to improve the country’s competitiveness.  This will raise Thailand’s investment ratio to GDP to reach 28 percent of GDP in 5 years.  BCG economic models will add value to Thailand’s export sectors including agriculture & food, automotive & parts; chemicals, rubber & plastic; and energy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Most of the 60 billion Baht government savings bond were sold out within less than 2 weeks, according to the Ministry of Finance.   The funds raised will be used to combat COVID-19.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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