Advance Blog

January 17, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 17 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
6,929 (209 from aboard; 7 from prisons), excluding 1,740 ATKs2,331,414 (last seven days: 53,932)13 (last seven days: 103)82,210/ 533
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
109,542,145  (+172,437)51,809,191 (+14,305)47,579,865 (+28,791)10,153,089 (+129,341)
  • Thailand has recorded the first two deaths from the emerging Omicron strain. The CCSA deputy spokesperson said that the first 86-year-old lady in the Southern province of Songkhla had the Alzheimer condition; the other was a 84-year-old lady with critical lung cancer condition. The spokesperson ensured the people that the strain is not as deadly as early strains.—Thai Rath

Politics                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

  • The results of the by-elections is out with Democrat being able to secure the two seats:
    • In the by-election in Chumphon, the Democrat candidate won over the PPRP candidate by 48,981 to 31,866 votes.
    • In the by-election in Songkhla, the Democrat could secure 45,576 over 40,531 votes from PPRP.
    • The results of the Top 4 comparing the current and last election back in 2019 are as followed:
Chumphon
Year/ PartyDemocratPPRPFuture Forward/ Move ForwardKla Party
201942,68332,21910,347n/a
202248,98132,2293,5207,591
Difference+6,298+10-7,097+7,591
Songkhla
Year/ PartyDemocratPPRPFuture Forward/ Move ForwardKla Party
201928,46519,31711,966n/a
202245,57640,5315,4271,350
Difference+17,111+21,214-6,539+1,350
  • There have been reactions from all side of the political aisles on the result of the election:
    • The secretary-general of the PPRP accused the Democrat for vote-buying, saying that he did not expect to see such a sinister ploy from the Democrat party which always appear to be clean. The party campaigner said that the election is far from over and that PPRP is going to file the corruption allegation to the Election Commissioner.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The PPRP spokesperson said that the PPRP leader congratulated the Democrat Party candidates for winning the election and called for the coalition unity in administering the country forward.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The Labour minister and anti-PPRP secretary-general said that the remarks by Captain Thammanat during the last days of the campaign had an adverse effects on the by-election in Songkhla. The anti-Thammanat figure who was appointed as the director of the by-election in Songkhla, said that the remarks by his party chief campaigner involve looking down the people in the constituency.–Matichon
    • Democrat spokesperson said that the election result reflected that the people in the South remains faithful with the oldest party and voiced his dissonance against some of the remarks from some certain political party. The party spokesperson said that they are ready to place charges against any political party which are trying to make the Democrat Party losing their credibility.–Matichon
  • The secretary-general of the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party said that the party is ready to file a censure debate motion (without a vote of no-confidence) against the government by mid-February. The main thing for the coalition to be grilled is the government handling of the cost of living and the mismanagement of the Omicron strain.-Krungthep Turakij  
  • The former technocrat team of the PPRP party and government announced that they are going to hold a press conference about the establishment of new political party on 19 January. Two of four members of the so-called ‘Fantastic Four’ team: former Finance Minister and PPRP leader and former Energy Minister and PPRP secretary-general are reportedly going to set up a new party called “Building Thailand Future”. The team was purged out of the PPRP right after the pandemic hit.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic

  • The NGO ‘BIOTHAI’ proclaimed that Thai pork is currently the most expensive in the world, with the farmgate price of 110 Baht/kg compared to the US’s 33 Baht/kg, Vietnam’s 60-76 Baht/kg and China’s 89 Baht/kg.  This results from the government’s attempt to conceal the African Swine Outbreak in pig farms for 2 years, which has caused a severe undersupply of pork and has incurred 100 billion Baht worth of loss to the industry.  If Thailand were to accede the CPTPP, Thai farmers would be further taken advantage of.  If the government resorts to importing pork, it might be to the benefit of a certain Thai conglomerate that recently acquired a sizeable business in Canada.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Ministry of Commerce has established a system to monitor the inflow of imported goods into Thailand following the implementation of RCEP since 1 January 2022.  Should an irregularity be detected, MoC insisted it is ready to implement Safeguard and Anti-Dumping measures to protect Thai businesses, in addition to offering remedies through the FTA Fund.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The 4th phase of the government’s popular co-payment scheme, Khon La Krueng , will open for registration on Valentine’s Day (14 February 2022) and will be operational on 21 February 2022 to reduce people’s living cost.  The scheme’s details has yet to be finalised.  The scheme is funded by the 500 billion Baht loan, together with the leftover sum from the scheme’s 3rd phase worth 10 billion Baht.  Source:   Khao Sod Bangkok Post
  • Some 20-25 percent of domestic and international tourists have cancelled or postponed their hotel reservations due to measures imposed by the Thai government to curb the Omicron outbreak.  Occupancy rate in January is estimated to decline to 20 percent as domestic tourists have also refrained from travelling.  Thai Hotel Association (THA) forecasted that tourism revenue in Q1 2022 would decline by 50 percent. THA urges the government to prioritise jumpstarting domestic tourism by launching the domestic tourism subsidy campaign Rao Tiew Duay Kan phase 4 and to resume the Test & Go system as soon as possible.  Several airlines have also cancelled their commercial and chartered flights to Thailand throughout January, including Australia’s Jet Star.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • The Airlines Association of Thailand (AAT) hopes the government resumes the Test & Go scheme soon to support tourism recovery.  The scheme’s suspension has affected tourist inflow as they have to choose between sandbox areas in Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga and Koh Samui, or opt for quarantine entry via Bangkok. Regarding the 300-baht tourism tax that is expected to be included in airfares, AAT said further discussion is needed with state agencies.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand is facing a labour shortage crisis, fuelled by a decline in birth rate, ageing population and the pandemic that has driven away migrant workers.  The tourism industry is seeing a 50 percent drop in the workforce, with those who were furloughed exiting the industry altogether.  According to the Employers Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, Thailand’s unemployment rate has soared to 4.58 percent, the highest in a decade in the last 2 years.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The government is inching towards imposing taxes on some products and ending tax waivers to boost revenue as the pandemic took a toll on state revenue collection.  In FY 2021 the government collected net revenue of 2.36 trillion baht, falling short of its target by 11.5 percent or 307 billion baht.  As such the government is considering imposing tax on cryptocurrency and share sales.  It has also started to collect e-service tax from foreign e-service operators since September last year.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
Share:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

MEMBER LOG IN