Advance Blog

December 16, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 16 December 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesDischarged from hospital
+154,2613,977 (at 93.33%)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalisedDeath toll
15 ( in SQ)22460
  • The Deputy PM Wissanu said that in order to prevent further pandemic loose control event such as ‘Big Mountain’ to occur again, the CCSA will hold a meeting again on 17 December.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The student-led protestors are in disarray, as leaders from ‘United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration’ explicitly came out against ‘Free Youth Movement’ latest move on Communism. Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak posted on his social media that he is not part of the Free Youth and said that the Free Youth’s idea is not the consensus of all student-led protestors. He remains persistent on the three demands, no less no more.—Thai Post
    • The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration issued a statement saying that the movement is committed to the struggle for democracy without any authoritarian or feudalist domination. The group is manoeuvring for welfare state which would increase the quality of life for all.–Prachachat
  • A media said that after the Deputy PM Prawit brief that he is planning to nominate Suporn Attawong and Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana to be part of the national reconciliation committee under government quota, this would create conflict with the coalition Democrat Party. It is reported that the Democrat leader has nominated Democrat big name Terdpong Chaianan for the government quota. The Deputy PM and Commerce Minister was reportedly very angry about this abrupt change.—Inside Thailand
  • In the press briefing royalist Warong Dejkijwikrom, the leader of right-wing Thai Bhakdee organisation, said there have been similar cases of legal prosecution against those who threaten or criticise the monarchy in Western European countries under monarchy. Thai Bhakdee is preparing three measures to support the use of Article 112.
    • The first measure is asking people to send the evidence of anti-monarchy comments to the organisation. They will prepare a legal suit to be filed later.
    • The second measure is to hold a public forum to give people knowledge on the issue. Earlier, they plan to hold a gathering at Lumphini Park. Rather they will hold an online lecture session.
    • The third measure is to submit a letter to the Minister of Digital Economy to step up measures to prosecute online users who posted anti-monarchy comments.—Thai Bhakdee Live

ASEAN/World

  • The Thai Cabinet has endorsed result document of the 20th India Ocean Rim Association Council of Ministers – IORA COM, held online on 17 December via teleconference. The Emirates statement also welcomes France as the 23rd member of the Association.—National News bureau of Thailand
  • The cabinet also acknowledged the result of 3rd summit on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation framework. The Vientiane Declaration also aims to increase the cooperation on non-traditional security and to address the pandemic.—Royal Thai Government

Economic

Cabinet’s Decisions, 15 December

  • Finance Ministry reported that Thailand’s public debt is 49.3 percent of GDP, or 7.84 trillion Baht as of 30 September.  Despite this being an increase from the 41.1 percent debt last year, the cabinet acknowledged that Thailand’s public debt remains below the ceiling of 60 percent and fiscal discipline is sound.  Of the 7.84 trillion Baht debt, 1.78 percent is international debt.  The higher debt stemmed from government borrowing to rehabilitate the economy and its investments in infrastructure projects.  Finance Ministry forecasts that public debt to GDP will not rise above 57 percent over the next 5 years.  Sources: Krungthep Turakij Poojadkarn Online Bangkok Post
  • Agreed to put the proposed Chana Industrial Estate in the southern city of Songkhla on hold.  Instead, a panel would be established to review the project as the city’s residents intensify their protests in Bangkok.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • PM Prayut announced that the Bang Sue Grand Station will open in late 2021 after he joined other cabinet members in touring the station.  The Grand Station spanning 2,235 rai of land in Bangkok is set to become Thailand’s new and largest rail transport.  It would gear Thailand towards becoming the largest rail transport hub in ASEAN, in addition to boosting economic growth, urbanisation and trade and investment.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Today the Board of Investment is organising a meeting with 35 representatives from various foreign chambers of commerce, presided by Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong.  The purpose of the meeting is to gain insights on the chambers’ proposal for economic recovery and address the obstacles that impede foreign investments as the pandemic outbreak eases.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • The government’s tax revenue collection in October, the first month of FY 2021, fell short of its target by 15.4 billion Baht or 8.5 percent as the pandemic curbed the income and purchasing power of businesses and people.  The net revenue is 167 billion Baht; 8 percent below the target and also 30.6 percent below the revenue collected in October 2021.  For FY 2021, the Revenue Dept aims to collect 2.09 trillion Baht.  As for FY 2020 (ending on Sept 30), revenue collection was 1.83 trillion Baht; slightly above the collection target of 1.82 trillion.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • The government co-payment scheme covering the salaries of new graduates is falling short of its target to generate 260,000 new jobs, according to Labour Ministry.  As of October, only 20,000 new jobs were created under the scheme.  Labour Ministry would evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme until April, when a fresh batch of new graduates will be seeking jobs.  Source: The Nation
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has postponed the launch of the 2nd phase of We Travel Together domestic tourism scheme due to reports of corruption.  Some 312 hotels and 202 shops were found to have profited from abusing the scheme and are being investigated.  The scheme will be postponed for at least month; a move which is anticipated to affect tourism in the high season.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • TAT partners with the dating app, Tinder, to promote domestic trips for tourists who are single.  TAT will introduce 3 tourism campaigns under the banner The Single Journey in December and January, which is expected to drive 7 million domestic trips and generate at least 100 million Baht in income by Q1 of 2021.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) eyes building more eco-industrial towns.  There are already 34 industrial estates that are recognised as eco-industrial towns, with a good balance between manufacturing and waste management.  In October, the IEAT board has approved new industrial estates that will promote high technology and innovation.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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