Advance Blog

August 12, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 12 August 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports five newly confirmed case, a total of 3,356 cases. Out of the total number, 3,169 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.43%); 129 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are people returned from the US, India and Egypt. This is the 79th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
    • Tomorrow, all educational institutions in Thailand will return their study timetable to normalcy, with heightened public health measures.—all media outlet
    • Department of Disease Control told the press yesterday that they got contact from the Japanese authority that a Japanese national who travelled back from Thailand is tested COVID positive. Public Health officials are tracing the potential transmission.—all media outlet

Politics

  • The ‘Thammasat and Protest’ group announced the cancellation of today’s protest at Lumphini Park for fear of potential violence from the third party.—Isra News
  • Seven newly-appointed cabinet members gathered at the Government House before taking an oath to HM the King today.—The Reporters
  • The student protest on Monday has drawn a lot of reactions from many sectors:
    • The PM said in a brief media interview that the protest “really went too far”. The PM said “There are a lot of people in trouble waiting for their problems to get fixed, not just the young people. So is doing all of this appropriate?”.–Reuters
    • In response to the student protests, the PM announced that the working panel will hold national wide discussion sessions with the ‘younger generation’ starting mid-August. Then, the result of each discussion will be summarised and send to the PM.—Than Settakij
    • Main Opposition Pheu Thai Party’s chief strategist discouraged the student movement’s 10 monarchy reform propositions, citing this would adversely lead to violence and , potentially, a coup d’état.—Siam Rath
    • Former Democrat MP candidate, Mr Parit Wacharasindhu posted on his Facebook account giving morale support towards the student protestors.—Thai Post
    • The Defence Ministry spokesperson told the press that security apparatus concerns that the students monarchy reform demands are sensitive issue and could lead to confrontation.—Wassana nanuam

Business:

Face Masks

  • Commerce Ministry permits for locally-manufactured face masks to be sold to the public from 11 August onward, with the retail price capped at 2.50 Baht per piece.  This is because there is currently an oversupply of 1.2 million face masks, which exceeds the needs of medical staff, patients and risk groups of 2.3 million pieces per day.  The oversupply is also attributable to Thailand currently importing 20 million face masks, while the number of local production facilities has increased substantially with a combined production capacity of 4.5 million masks per day. However, the ban on face mask export is still in place in preparation for future COVID-19 outbreaks.  Source:  Thansettakij

Others

  • A survey by the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce reveals that Thailand is no longer in a position to compete with neighbouring countries in terms of wage costs, investment incentives and international trade preferences.  Results show that foreign companies are opting to relocate to Vietnam and Myanmar, with Vietnam expected to draw investments from China due to its border advantages. 
  • Thailand’s advantages remain its skilled labour, advanced infrastructure and manufacturing industries as well as its capability in containing the pandemic outbreak.  Disadvantages include political instability and high wages.  UTCC urges Thailand to focus on promoting its image as a production hub for health products such as rubber gloves, medical devices and supplements. 
  • In Thailand, UTCC expects Chinese investors to remain active in expanding investment in electronics and IT, Japanese investors on office supplies and air conditioners and Malaysian operators in hard disk drives.  Source:  Bangkok Post   Thansettakij
  • The Board of Investment expects to help 4,000 Thai and foreign companies form business partnerships this year through two international events, although this is half of last year’s tally.  The events will feature a mix of online digital technology and ordinary trade show, to be held from 23-26 September.  The events include Subcon Thailand, notably ASEAN’s largest international industrial subcontracting event and Intermach, an innovative machinery showcase.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Local airlines are gearing up for fierce competition to capture limited domestic demand, with Thai AirAsia (TAA) planning to fly from both at Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports with 4 new domestic routes from 25 September.  Thai Vietjet also sets sight on covering 13 domestic routes to 11 destinations nationwide.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) has approved of 7.7 billion Baht, or 32 percent of its 20 billion Baht emergency loan to assist households with their expenses amid the coronavirus crisis. The bank’s emergency loans have a fixed monthly interest rate of 0.1% and a credit line of up to 10,000 baht per borrower.  No collateral is needed and the repayment period is 2 years and 6 months.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Opinion

  • Krungthep Turakij editorial recommended the government to reduce all the causes that would stir the protestors even further. The editorial also recommended the student protests to take a careful stance on issues involving monarchy.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Move Forward Party leader gave an interview with 101 World on ‘Inconvenient Truth’, providing support for the Thammasat University student movement. MP Pita said that the student’s 10 demands are within the constitutional guaranteed freedom.—101 World
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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