Advance Blog

June 16, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 16 June 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports no newly confirmed case, a total of 3,135 cases. Out of the total number, 2,993 have been discharged from the hospital; 84 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. This is the 22nd consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand. 
    • The government has yet to decide which areas will be opened to international tourism under the travel bubble scheme, which will be implemented once the ban on tourism is lifted.
    • Deputy PM and Minister of Public Health Anutin said “We are being very open to those countries that are interested in having country-to-country travel collaboration with us. I have already talked to the ambassadors of Singapore and New Zealand. The Chinese and South Korean ambassadors will also come to talk to us,”
    • Breaking: DPM Anutin said before the weekly cabinet meeting that the travel bubble will not be on the agenda this week.–Than Settakij.
    • The Civil Authority of Thailand will begin talks with airlines on the resumption of international flights today.
    • The PM threatened to resume the imposition of curfew after the first day of the lift has seen some night teenage riders hit the streets.

Politics

  • Media asked PM Prayut, what is the most concerning for him, Thai head of government warned political activists, particularly the young not to criticize the monarchy, saying doing so could damage their job prospects even though the king had asked him not to make prosecutions under the draconian lese majeste law. The PM said that the activists are orchestrating their activities before 24 June, the day when there was a revolution that ended absolute monarchy.–Reuters, and all media outlet
    • Deputy PM Prawit also warned that security apparatus has the complete report of those who are critical to the monarchy and ready to prosecute. But the DPM said lese majeste law will not be applied.
    • iLaw, a local NGOs on rule of law and human rights, posted on their social media outlets that though the government has not been pressing charges on the criminal code 112, the authority has been charging Computer Crime Act (Section 14 (3)): anyone involves import to a computer system of any computer data related with an offence against the Kingdom’s security under the Criminal Code shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine of not more than one hundred thousand baht or both.
  • On the issue of abducted Thai dissident Mr Wanchalearm Satsaksit, BBC Thai interviewed with former government spokesperson Jakrapob Penkair saying that Mr Wanchalearm was abducted by those who have been planning quite well. He also countered Foreign Minister Don who recommended Mr Wanchalearm to register with Thai Embassy in Phanom Penh so that authority could look after him. He said doing so, Mr Wanchalearm would have died earlier.–BBC Thai
  • Despite earlier concern by Deputy PM Wissanu that there might be no budget left to hold a local election today, the PM and Election Commission has assured that the election will be held within this year. The Election Commissioner said that the budget to hold the election is secured. The election has been deferred since General Prayut staged a coup in 2014.–all media outlet
    • In early 2019, Interior Minister said, the local election will start from July 2020, beginning with Bangkok Governor, then local authorities.
  • There are three conflicting rumours about conflicts in the third-largest ruling Democrat Party–Inside Thailand Thai News Agency
    • There is a movement to get a resignation from half of the Party executives, which will automatically nullify the current leadership. This will be the same model used by the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party.
    • Rifts within the party are emerging from a group of party member which supported DPM and Commerce Minister Jurin to be the party’s leader with support from House Speaker Chuan. The report cited that there is a move to support former PM Abhisit to return as the party head in the possible dissolution of parliament, should the intra-coalition conflicts are too much for PM Prayut to bear with.–Krungthep Turakij
    • The Jurin clique (and more or less so, with Chuan’s support) is joining hands with  People’s Democratic Reform Committee wing to block former PM Abhisit’s group to return to the party throne.

Business:

PPE

Investment

  • Board of Investment will propose a plan to revamp investment options to the BOI Board, chaired by PM Prayut on 17 June.  The revamping follows DPM Somkid’s urging for BOI to tweak its investment incentives to target foreign agri-business that are looking to relocate their production bases from China.  DPM Somkid also wants Thailand to become an investment destination in CLMV.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1935328/boi-perks-aim-to-lure-foreign-agri-business  https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30389661
  • With the acceleration of supply chain disruption following the US-China Trade War and pandemic outbreak, BOI has set its sight on luring foreign direct investments into the EEC in 2020 and 2021.  Thai Chamber of Commerce University suggests that Thailand highlights its capability in containing the pandemic as a unique selling point, while also promoting medical tourism and the high safety standard of its food industry.  Thailand could, nonetheless, lose to neighbouring countries due to its high production cost.  Source:  https://www.thansettakij.com/content/macro_econ/437801

Tourism

Others

Australia

  • A 74-year-old Australian traveller in Thailand overdosed himself and tried to jump off a building in the Southern province of Surat Thani on 11 June. He said that he stressed out about could not return to Australia and lost contact with his wife who is in the northeastern province of Kalasin. He was hospitalised for overdose and now been discharged from hospital.–Matichon
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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