Advance Blog

August 11, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 11 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, 3,163 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.39%); 130 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. This is the 78th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
  • The appeal court has ruled in accordance with the trail court in punishing 6 months jail term without suspension upon the construction tycoon Mr Premchai for the illicit possession of rifles.—Thai Post

Politics

  • The student protest marked another unprecedented milestone as around 3,000-4,000 students (according to AP and Reuters) at Thammasat University, Rangsit campus openly criticised the monarchy which some of the protestors claimed has gone beyond the constitutional monarchy regime has allowed.
  • The representative(s) from the German Embassy in Bangkok went to observe the demonstration.—Thai Rath
  • Mr Pavin, Thai political dissent who is taking refuge in Japan, appeared on stage via video recording supporting the student protest demands.
  • A ‘Thammasat and Protest’ group read their 10 demands for the monarchy, including the demand for the monarch not to pen down endorsement for any further coup d’état and aligning the budget for the monarchy with economic conditions, banning the monarch from expressing political opinions.
  • The group announced they will hold a demonstration at Lumphini Park from 5.00pm on 12 August. (However, the post (at 11.20am) does no longer have the wording on tomorrow protest)
  • This morning the PM said he closely followed the protest and that he does feel unease with this.—Daily News, Krungthep Turakij
  • An expert in Thai politics Kevin Hewison at the University of North Carolina said the protest at Thammasat University “has evolved into the first movement that directly links the monarchy to the regime. It’s historic.”–Bloomberg
  • Pro-government groups began to ask for responsibility of the University’s executive for allowing this inflammatory demonstration to take place. The vice rector Parinya said he apologise that this has happened. When the organiser wrote down the request form, the students mentioned only to criticise the government.–ThaiPBS
  • A vocal Senator Mr Khumnoon spoke this morning requesting the government to hold an ad hoc Parliamentary session to discuss the student protests in order to avoid the political conflict as occurred in bloodshed 6 October 1976.
  • Former Thammasat University academia and pro-government think tank member Mr Suvinai posted on his Facebook Page that there is now a movement in Twitter to stir student protestors to break into the Chulalongkorn University after the protest in Lumphini Park.
  • Yesterday, the pro-government protest “the Coordination Centre of Vocational Students for the Protection of National Institutions” gathered in front of the Parliament. The group said they will set up centre in every province to monitor the anti-monarchical actions.
  • Deputy PM Wissanu said that the seven newly appointed cabinet members will join the weekly cabinet meeting on Thursday after taking the Oath (apparently on tomorrow).–Matichon
  • The Interior Minister said in a Senate meeting that the Ministry is not yet ready to hold the local elections as the Election Commission staffs are not ready in training local staffs. Minister Anupong said that after COVID-19, the election stations need to be equipped with temperature checking machine and hand-gels which would also take time to procure.–Matichon

Business:

  • Social Security Office (SSO) is considering extending low-interest loans to registered workers affected by the pandemic since the arrangement currently extends only to employers.  SSO is also considering allowing subscribers of Social Security Fund to withdraw money from retirement fund to alleviate their economic hardship.  However, this practice is currently prohibited by law and would take time to revise.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Japan Credit Rating Agency’s assessment describes Thailand’s economic outlook as ‘stable’.  It rated Thailand’s long-term government bonds at A- and the Baht currency at A despite the projection that Thailand’s economy would contract by 8 percent.  Source:  National News Bureau of Thailand fb page, 9 August
  • Federation of Thai Industries contended that the government may need to borrow an additional 1 trillion Baht to address the impacts of COVID-19, which could be spent on boosting grassroot economy.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand projects that in the worst-case-scenario, the tourism sector could generate 676.7billion Baht worth of revenue in 2021; notably a 9 percent decline from the previous worst-case scenario forecast for this year and a 75 percent drop from 3 trillion Baht earned in 2019 year.  At best, tourism is expected to generate 1.52 trillion Baht of revenue in 2021.  Source:  The Nation
  • Thai Airways and Thai Smile became the first Thai carriers to receive the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) accreditation.  SHA is a partnership between the Ministry of Public health, Tourism and Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand and the private sector to develop Thai tourism post-COVID19.  Source:  National News Bureau fb page, 9 August
  • The Trade Competition Commission (OTC) is setting guidelines for online food delivery services to prevent unfair trade practices and keep online food delivery platforms from taking advantage of restaurants.  The draft guideline is completed will be open to public hearing.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Tourism and Sports Ministry will propose to the Center for COVId-19 Situation Administration the opening of 5 islands, namely Phuket, Phi Phi, Samui, Pha Ngan and Tao since the areas could be easily monitored and regulated in terms of care and quarantining of tourists.  Source:  National News Bureau of Thailand fb page, 10 August
  • Commerce Ministry reported that its online business matching activities, organised since April, are positively received and is expected to generate sales value worth 10.6 billion Baht within 1 year.  The highest number of orders were placed on Thai fruits, worth 5.8 billion Baht, most of which are longans for delivery to China, Hong Kong, India, Bangladesh, UAE, Singapore, Bahrain and France.  Auto parts are also popular among American buyers and rice among African buyers.  Source: Nation TV
  • Commerce Ministry revealed that the trade diversion resulting from US-China Trade War has caused Chinese demands for products from Thailand and other countries in its supply chain to decline, which started in Q4 of 2018 but has been easing in the first 6 months of 2020.  Meanwhile, Thai export to the US market saw consistent expansion.  Trends indicate that Chinese and US companies are using Thailand as a base for production and export since 2018.  Source:  Nation TV
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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