Advance Blog

March 12, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 12 March 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, totally confirmed cases
8126,6796326,056 (at 97.66%)22,442
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
67 [30 (get tested in hospital) + 37 (active case finding)] 14 (in SQ) 5131,011 (+5)85 (+0)14,795
  • Despite the prior arrangement for the PM and whole cabinet to take the Astra Zeneca jabs, it has been postponed until further notice. The Public Health Ministry held a press conference saying that as there have been postponements in many European countries due to potential side-effects of blood-clotting, Thailand health authority will postpone the AstraZeneca roll-out for the time-being.—all media outlet
  • Thai Food and Drug Administration official told a media outlet that COVID vaccine Moderna will submit to Thailand its application for approval for its COVID-19 vaccine this month. Apart from the Moderna vaccine, India’s Bharat Biotech had started sending documents for registration of its vaccine.–Reuters
  • Security apparatus are concerning that the escalating violent conflict in Myanmar is going to cause an exodus of refugees would spill into Thailand and potentially with the pandemic, considering the high infection rate in the neighbouring Myanmar. The PM is reportedly made an urgent order to the National Security Council to make a response plan.—Krungthep turakij

Politics

  • Yesterday, the Constitutional Court made a ruling concerning the constitutionality of the charter rejig proposal that “parliament has the power to draw up a new constitution, though the people who hold the power to establish the constitution must first decide in a referendum whether they want a new one. If they decide they want a new charter and the draft of a new one is then completed, another referendum must be held for the people to endorse it.”—all media outlet (text from Bangkok Post)
    • With the verdict, the main debate is whether the first and second reading of the amendment motion is rendered nullified. If so, it needs to pass the referendum first before getting to step one again.
    • The Secretariat of The House of Representatives thinks that the Parliament can proceed with the third reading but has concerns with the timeframe of the referendum. The Constitution said that once the third reading is passed, the Decree to recruit the Constitutional Drafting Assembly needs to be in place within 30 days. With the verdict, the referendum needs to be done within 30 days, the secretariat said it is not possible in reality.—Thai Post
    • A vocal senator Somchai Sawaengkarn who proposed to file the motion to the Court has a different view saying that the Parliament cannot proceed to vote for the third reading.—Thai Post
    • A Senator who is concurrently serve as the spokesperson for the joint chambers committee on the charter rejig said that the first and second reading is no longer effective.This needs to go back to step 1.—Thai Post
    • The House Speaker said the first and second readings remain effective.Thai Rath
    • An MP from the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) also said that this is up to the discussion in the extraordinary parliamentary session on 17 March, but personally he thinks the first and second readings are no longer effective and that the Parliament can’t proceed on to the third reading.—Thai Rath
    • The Coalition whip has the personal view that the third reading cannot be proceed.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The Opposition whip said that the third reading could be proceed but this is up to the House Speaker to decide on how to proceed.—Thai Rath
    • The Deputy PM and second largest ruling Bhumjaithai Party leader replied to the media inquiry whether he agreed with the verdict by saying “is there any other way? We needs to abide by the court verdict”.—Thai Rath
    • An MP from the ruling Chartthai Pattana Party and the secretary to the Charter Rejig sub-committee said that the verdict is in accordance with the current amendment process as the parliament is going to hold the referendum.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Akara Mine

  • The ‘Civic Group for Mineral and Gold Mining Reform’ handed a petition to PM Prayut, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and Anti-Corruption Committee, urging for them to investigate the claim that Akara gold mine now has ownership of the 44 plots of land which were granted Special Prospecting Licences (SPL) by the Thai government.  The civic group also asserted that these land was sold through an overseas stock market.  In response, Industry Minister Suriya verified that the granting of SPLs does not give Akara mine ownership of the land; rather it only grants Akara the right to explore for minerals, which can only be done also with the consent of the land’s owner (ie: the government).  The Thai government had taken to investigate the quarterly performance report of the Australia-based Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd and did not find any statement indicating that the company had taken ownership of the land.  DSI insists an investigation report looking into the practices of Akara Resources Plc has not disappeared.  Sources:  Thai Government website  Thai Rath   Bangkok Post  Thansettakij Prachachat Turakij

Others

  • The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce prepares to write to the CCSA to speed up the implementation of ‘vaccine passport’ scheme within March 2021 following the rolling out of Thailand’s inoculation scheme.  The forgoing of quarantine could help Thailand receive up to 8 million international arrivals, of which 2 million would be Chinese who trust Thailand as a safe destination and would start visiting as soon as April.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij  Thai Rath
  • According to a survey conducted by the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Chulalongkorn University, most Chinese businesses in Thailand (61 percent) are confident that more Chinese investments and tourists will flow into Thailand in Q2, given that the Chinese economy is anticipated to grow by 8 percent this year.  Some 85 percent of the respondents recognise tourism as the key factor in helping Thailand achieve a 1.5-2.5 percent growth this year.  They call for the government to have clarity on tourism reopening program.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce reported that its consumer confidence index rose for the first time in 3 months in February to 49.4 from 47.8 in January due to the government’s economic stimulus measures and the promise of mass distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee is considering setting a new electric vehicle (EV) production target, where EVs will make up 50 percent of all car manufacturing by 2030 (1.25 million out of the total 2.5 million cars), up from the original target of 30 percent (750,000 cars). “The government will discuss the new EV target with state agencies and car manufacturers within March.  Additionally, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is working with 6 major automakers — Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Nissan and Porsche to jointly develop EV charging infrastructure.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Japan-based Rating and Investment Information (R&I) maintained Thailand’s sovereign credit rating at A- with a stable outlook in support of the government’s economic policy framework and Thailand’s growth outlook.  R&I’s decision was made based on the government’s emphasis on developing high value-added industries and the EEC in kickstarting growth and attracting FDI.  Another factor is Thailand’s sound management of public finance and external finance, which aligns with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2018.  Source:  Bangkok Post  National News Bureau of Thailand fb page, 12 March
  • Thai Commerce Minister Jurin met with Canadian Ambassador HE Dr Sarah Taylor yesterday where they agreed to strengthen trade and investment.  They also agreed to speed up preparation for the ASEAN-Canada FTA talks.  Canada affirms it is ready to support Thailand to join the CPTPP.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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