Advance Blog

October 15, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 15 October 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports 13 newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,665 cases. Out of the total number, 3,463 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.49%); 143 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 59. The newly confirmed cases are returnees from Lebanon (1), Myanmar (6 (3 in Thai state quarantine; the other 3 deported back to be hospitalised in Myanmar)), the Netherlands (1), Italy (1), South Sudan (3) and Ethiopia (1). All have been in state quarantine since.

Politics

  • There is an unverified report that anti-government Voice TV cannot be viewed via satellite system.
  • For a basic 101 explainer of the protest, please see Reuters
  • The government has made the Declaration of a Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok, effective from 4.00am 15 October 2020. The PM justified the declaration by accusing the protestors of stirring unrest, obstructing to the royal motorcade and affecting public health safety from COVID-19
    • The Emergency Decree has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Prawit as the head of overseeing the state of emergency-related affairs. Police Chief Suwat is Chief Official responsible for remedying the emergency situation.
    • The Emergency decree has triggered Section 7 paragraph 3, 4 and 6 and Section 11 and 15. The translation of the Decree can be accessed here.—Office of the Council of State
    • The decree prohibits
      • the assembly or gathering of more than 5 persons at any place or the commission of any act which may cause unrest;
      • to prohibit the press release, distribution or dissemination of letters, publications or any means of communication containing texts which may instigate fear amongst the people or is intended to distort information which misleads understanding of the emergency situation to the extent of affecting the security of state or public order or good moral of the people;
      • to prohibit the use of routes or vehicles or prescribe conditions on the use of routes or vehicle.
    • The decree allows
      • competent official to issue a notification to summon any person to report to the competent official or to give an oral statement or submit any documents or evidence relating to the emergency situation;
      • competent official to inspect letters, books, printed matters, telegraphic transmissions, telephone communications or any other means of communication as well as to cancel or suspend any contact or communication in order to prevent or terminate the serious incident.
  • Right after the televised declaration, the Border Patrol Police cracked down the protestors.
    • Soon before the crack-down, Anon Nampa announced the gathering is adjourned and called for the gathering at CBD Rachaprasong intersection from 4.00pm.
    • A large numbers of protest leaders have been arrested
      • Media reported that 20 protestors have been arrested, including the following police leaders.
      • Anon Nampa was arrested with warrant of Chiang Mai Police. He posted on his FB status saying that he is being forced to get onto helicopter to Chiang Mai without his lawyer—Anon Nampa;
      • Parit ‘Penguin’ was arrested by undercover police and taken to an unknown location;
      • Prasith ‘James’ was arrested prior to the crack-down;
      • Natchanon Pairoj (ณัฐชนน ไพโรจน์) and Panusaya ‘Rung’ were arrested soon after she made a statement via FB Live calling for supporters to gather at Rachaprasong intersection.
  • There have been reactions from different actors related to the rallies:
    • Free Youth Movement, the core organisation of student-led rallies, made a bilingual statement via FB Live condemning the crack-down, stressing the freedom of assembly. The emergency decree aims at undermining democratic process. The government has utilised the monarchy for their own gains, which could be interpreted as the Monarchy positioning itself to be antagonistic to democracy.—Free Youth Movement
    • Thanathorn, the leader of Progressive Movement, calling on the Government to immediate release the arrested protestors, revoke the emergency decree and stop violating the people’s rights.—Progressive Movement
    • Pheu Thai Party held a press conference at 1.00pm, inviting six Opposition Parties and the Senator to hold a special session at the Parliament to discuss the solution to this event. The main opposition party announced the rejection of violence and violation of human rights on any occasion.—Pheu Thai Party
    • Suthep Thuagsuban, the secretary-general of the now defunct PDRC, posted on his Facebook this morning supporting the government’s actions. He also called for patriots to get ready to protect the monarchy.—Suthep Thuagsuban
    • Rienthong Nanna, the leader of Garbage-collection organisation, posted earlier to set up a ‘people’s army’ to collect the ‘garbage’ people violating the monarchy. He later deleted this and said that after the Emergency Decree is declared there is no need of the setup of the people’s army.–TNews
    • The conservative Thai Move Institute posted in support of the government decisive action in intervening before the monarchy is getting threatened even further.—Thai Move Institute
    • A professor from NIDA outlined three scenarios from the declaration of emergency decree:
      • A. Might create fear among the people and the protestors will not dare to protest;
      • B. Might create discomfort among the people and the scope of the protest will expand;
      • C. Might mean the beginning of the end of the government
      • The emergency decree means the escalation of antagonism between the government and the people.—Pichai Rattanadirok Na Phuket
    • A vocal MP from Move Forward Party Rangsiman ‘Rome’ posted on his FB pointing out that there are more than a hundred soldiers stationing at the Parliament. He said this action is a similar pattern to the last coup in 2014.—Rangsiman Rome
  • After the crackdown, officials are clearing path for the resumption of Government House’s operation.
    • The government spokesperson informed the press that this morning the PM has met with the Chinese Finance Minister Wang Yi. The two discussed the green lane and fast lane to facilitate the international travel.
    • The government speaker also stresses the need for Emergency Decree to ensure peace and security of the country. He also warns the usage of social media to stir unrest.—Thai Gov
  • Yesterday, at around 5.00pm, the unprecedented episode occurred as the Royal motorcade with Queen Suthida and Prince Dipangkorn passed through the rallies. The motorcade, however, was greeted with a shout and symbolic three-finger salute. Their Majesties were on the way from the Grand Palace to visit a temple on Thonburi side of town. The motorcade route took a slightly different path as the one before.—BBC Thai See graphic below.
  • A media reports that the Police Chief has penned down a transfer order of Deputy Chief of Metropolitan Police Bureau, Head of Protection and Crowd Control Division and Commander of Metropolitan Police Division 1 to work at the Police Situation Administration Command. It is anticipated that this transfer is due to the hindrance of the Royal Motorcade yesterday.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The government spokesperson has informed the press that the PM has ordered the prosecution of those who hindered the royal motorcade without any exception.—Naew Na

Business:

TAFTA

  • Wangnamyen Dairy Cooperative based in Sakaeo province has been strengthening its businesses over the last few years in preparation for the liberalisation of dairy market under the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).  Once the tariff on dairy products is eliminated in 2025, the cooperative is worried that Australian and New Zealand products will be dumped in the Thai market due to their price competitiveness.  The Cooperative urged the government to provide incentives and know-how to empower local farmers, while noting that it aims to export more of its dairy products to China and Europe.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The priorities of Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) include signing RCEP in November this year, proceeding with free trade agreements between Thailand and the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, the United Kingdom, the Eurasian Economic Union, ASEAN-Canada, Turkey, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  DTN will also focus on upgrading AANZFTA and ASEAN-China FTA, ASEAN-India FTA, and ASEAN-South Korea FTA on important agenda such as market liberalization, rules of origin, customs procedures and e-commerce.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij
  • The cabinet approved of 3 stimulus projects that are projected to inject some 192 billion Baht into the economy and boost GDP growth by 0.54 percent.  The projects  comprise 1) ‘Shop Dee Mee Khuen” (Return on Good Shopping) project running from 23 Oct to 31 Dec that grants personal income tax deduction of up to 30,000 Baht per person for the purchase of products and services with 7 percent VAT; 2) ‘Khon La Krueng’ co-payment scheme where the government subsidises half the price of the product purchased from small-scale shops/hawkers to 10 million consumers.  The subsidy is valued at 150 Baht per day or 3,000 Baht per person for 3 months from 23 Oct to 31 Dec and; 3) an increase in living allowance worth 500 Baht per month for state welfare cardholders from Oct to Dec 2020.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Prachachat Turakij
  • The Bank of Thailand is assessing moves to relax regulations related to offshore market and foreign asset investments for individual investors to help manage foreign exchange.  The central bank is also considering permitting more sales of foreign financial products in the local market.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand plans to implement additional debt restructuring package using targeted measures as the first-phase debt relief scheme is expiring on 22 October.  The central bank will soon meet with commercial banks and the private sector to discuss the possibility of extending the debt relief measures based on NPL figures and the debt servicing abilities of borrowers, particularly SMEs, low income earners and retail customers.  Simultaneously, it is also considering tweaking soft loan criteria and options to assist financial institutions cope with the possibility of rising NPLs.  Sources:  E-Finance Thai Bangkok Post
  • The Finance Ministry is thinking about launching a new stimulus package as a New Year gift for the public.  Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith also instructed ministry departments to devise measures to tackle unemployment and propel economic recovery in preparation for a full reopening of Thailand’s economy.  Priorities in fully reopening Thailand’s economy are reopening the tourism sector, followed by public and private investments; most notably the acceleration of government infrastructure projects such as the Eastern Economic Corridor.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The meteoric rise of a little-known Polish company, Mercator Medical SA, that manufactures protective gloves in Songkhla province in southern Thailand provides one of the clearest examples of how the pandemic has changed the world for Warsaw equity investors.  Its shares has risen by more than 6,700 percent this year since the first wave of COVID-19 infections.  Source:  Bloomberg
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
Share:
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Representing the Chamber on Your Website

Proud Member of

preview logo

Adding AustCham Logo to Your Website​

Proudly present yourselves as a part of Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce by adding AustCham logo to your website.

MEMBER LOG IN