Advance Blog

October 14, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 11 October 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
10,035 (72 from prisons); (excluding ATK 2,263)1,720,919 (last seven days: 73,557)2,969/ 6801,592,903 (+10,590)1,692,05635,093,892 (+311,265) BKK: 7,894,512 (+10,352)1,733,221 (+31,779) BKK: 455,084 (+1,563)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Active detection test rates (last seven days)
9,916 [9,160 (get tested in hospital) +756 (active case finding)]39 (in SQ)110,625 [68,335 in field hospital]380,226 (+1,227)17,751 (+60) (last seven days: 640)60,228,105 (+  688,481) BKK:  13,074,057 (+ 56,491)23,400,992 (+345,437) BKK: 4,724,461 (+44,576)14.68%
  • The MFA spokesperson said that the cordial international relations between the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Don Paramutwinai and European countries have resulted in the successful procurement of 400,000 doses of Astra Zeneca from Hungary at the cost price. The spokesperson said that apart from Budapest, Bangkok has got 346,100 doses of Astra Zeneca donated from Berlin and 100,620 of Pfizer vaccines from Reykjavík.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The deputy government spokesperson said that there is a concern over the young Tik Tok users who are distributing misinformation over the side effects of the Pfizer vaccines. The spokesperson said that the administering vaccines have got the WHO and American FDA approvals. The PM, according to the spokesperson, has instructed related agencies easing the students concerns.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The vocal Rural Doctor Society has come out to warn that the pandemic is on the rise again and calls for the people to be cautious. The RDS pointed out to the record high of 10,817 ATK cases on 10 October and that the patients with severe condition remain as high as 3,000 patients.—Naew Na

Politics

  • After the PM is reported to ascend the Constitutional amendment motion for the Royal approval on Friday, Deputy PPRP leader and the head of the amendment committee MP Paiboon outlined four issues related to the electoral systems that will be amended:
    • 1. The amendment of constituency vis-à-vis party-listed MPs ratio from 350-150 to that of 400-100.
    • 2. The amendment to two-ballot system: one for constituency; the other for party-listed MP.
    • 3.  The amendment of party-listed MP formula from MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) to Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM) which mean there will be no more party-listed MP which got less than 1 percent votes.
    • 4. The amendment to use one number for both constituency and party-listed MP election (currently different number for each constituency to prevent vote-buying).—Siam Rath
  • It’s a mixed reaction for the PM advisor Pirapan Salirathavibhaga getting into the main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party:
    • Anucha Nakasai, the Minister to the PM Office and main figure in the PPRP welcomed the PM advisor as the PPRP leader advisor and said he did not see any political implication from the appointment.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Meanwhile, PPRP vocal MP Sira Jenjaka said that it is impossible for the PM advisor to get into the party to change the PPRP structure and he hoped the senior figure not to do anything that might undermine the party reputation.—Thai Rath The MP said in response to the reports that Mr Pirapan will be one of the PPRP PM candidates in the next election that if Mr Pirapan is qualified, the Democrat Party where he built his political career for the entire life must have named him its PM candidate.–Matichon
  • Nida Poll released its latest survey on three significant political issues:
    • On the ambiguity of the eight year tenure of PM Prayut, what should General Prayut do? 40.73% of the people said that the PM should declare that his term will end in August next year and step down; 38.37% said that the PM should submit the issue for the Constitutional Court clarity; and 15.03% said that the PM should not do anything.
    • On the House Dissolution: 40.35% of the people think that the PM should announce the dissolution as soon as possible; 30.05% thinks that the government should dissolve the House after the organic laws on the new electoral system are finished; 22.12% thinks that there is no need for the dissolution and that the government should stay on to power until the House term ends; and 5.72%  thinks that the PM should dissolve the House before the next censure debate.
    • On the cabinet reshuffle: 50.43% thinks that there should be a major reshuffle, 18.92% thinks thatthere should not be any reshuffle; 12.36% thinks that the PM should fill in the two vacant portfolios with non-politicians; and 11.82% thinks that there should be a reshuffle for only the two vacant portfolios.
  • Former Democrat figure and now far-right Thai Bakdhi Party leader Warong Dechgitvigrom hosted its party reception event on Saturday underlining the new ‘royalist’ party policy to protect the revered institution from the ‘reformist’ and has pledged to file MP candidate in every constituency. The party leader said he is ready to be the next Prime Minister and has coined in a cutting-edge policy in transforming Thailand to be the new spaceship-launching base.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Thai Lawyer for Human Rights Group tweeted that they got informed by a 14-year-old juvenile that the police came to apprehend and force the kid to confess as the shooter of the Riot Control Police on 6th October.–Matichon
  • Former Red-shirt leader and recent ‘Thai Mai Thon’ protest leader against PM Prayut Jatuporn Promphan is set to be freed after getting the royal pardon on 13 October. The protest leader was jailed on defamation laws against former PM Abhisit. He was released by royal pardon and returned to jailed again for breaking its conditions.–Matichon
  • In the first day of nomination for the Sub-District Administrative Organization (SAO), an executive from the Progressive Movement announced that the successive movement of the Future Forward Party will file more than 200 teams for the upcoming SAO election (28 November) in every region.–Matichon

Economic:

Long Term Resident Visa Package

  • The Revenue Department is considering lowering personal income tax for foreign experts to 17 percent following the cabinet’s approval of the Long Term Resident (LTR) visa package on 14 September.  The 17 percent tax rate is the same as that offered by the EEC, with the exception being that the foreign experts eligible for LTR visa can work anywhere in Thailand.  Eligible LTR visa foreign experts must also work in fields in which Thailand is facing a shortage.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Customs Department has completed its analysis on the reduction of import duties for wine, alcoholic beverages and cigars by 50 percent for 5 years and is set to propose it to Finance Ministry for consideration soon.  However, Customs does not believe the tariff cuts will be instrumental in luring more foreign talents to Thailand since the items subjected to the tariff cuts are inexpensive, with low existing tariff rate of 30-60 percent.  Nevertheless, Customs is prepared to lower the tariffs if Finance Ministry believes it works. 
  • Board of Investment (BOI) is deliberating on adapting the principles of the Smart Visa to the LTR visa.  BOI is currently in talks with the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Labour as well as Immigration Department to draft the LTR visa guideline.
  • The Thai Chamber of Commerce asked the government to establish an ad-hoc committee to consult with the private sector on important regulation changes necessary for the enforcement of LTR visa package, such as foreign land ownership quota and the abolishment of 4:1 (Thai: foreign worker) ratio.
  • TDRI suggests the government remain open to comments from the private sector and revise a range of regulations in order to attract foreign direct investments into Thailand.  The Stock Exchange Commission noted that in addition to investment incentives, foreign investors and businessmen also make investment decisions based on the country’s digital infrastructure and ease of doing business.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The real estate sector has responded to the government’s LTR visa package by proposing that foreign ownership quota be raised from 49 percent to 75 percent, and to expand leasehold property rental period from 30 to 90 years.  It suggested that the LTR visa be issued to medical or wellness visitors to help Thailand’s become a medical hub.  It also cautioned the government that the regulation changes should not attract foreign holding companies or nominees, particularly the Chinese, to buy properties in Thailand.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 11 October 2021

APEC

  • On 8 October, PM Prayut presided over the third meeting of the committee that oversees the preparation for the 2022 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and related meetings.  This will be the last meeting before New Zealand is to officially hand over APEC chairmanship to Thailand in November.  At this meeting, PM Prayut instructed related parties to promote the Bio-Circular-Green economic model, climate change, human rights, women’s roles and inclusivity.  Source:  Manager Online  National News Bureau of Thailand fb page 

Others

  • Standard Chartered forecasted that Thailand’s tourism sector will take at least 3 years to rebound to pre-pandemic level even as it starts to reopen to foreign tourists in November, with the Thai economy expected to remain weak throughout 2022-2023.  For the first 8 months of 2021, Thailand’s foreign tourist arrivals dropped to 73,932 visitors from almost 40 million in 2019.  Standard Chartered expected that 6 million tourist arrivals are needed to offset the current account shortfall of USD 8.5 billion from January – August this year.  Next year, the 4 million arrivals could generate revenue equivalent to 1 percent of GDP, based on the assumption that they spend USD1,500 per person.  Sources:  Bloomberg  Post Today
  • Phuket tourism operators have asked the government to salvage its tourism sector by establishing a 5-billion Baht tourism fund.  They suggested that some 3.5 billion Baht is to be allocated to the first sub-fund to help MSMEs, such as by upgrading unlicensed hotels to join the Phuket Sandbox scheme; 1 billion Baht for the second sub-fund to develop the OTOP products and commodities; and 500 million Baht for the third sub-fund to improve tourism destinations and environment.  The capital for the fund could come from the Bank of Thailand’s 250 billion Baht loan, the Phuket sandbox bond or the government’s budget.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has asked the government to carefully deal with two key economic issues — the global oil price surge and baht depreciation to avoid a greater burden on the pandemic-plagued economy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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