Advance Blog

June 17, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 17 June 2020

News

  • Media has been alerted that the PM will hold a national address today at 6pm. The topic of the address is about COVID-19.
  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today Thailand reports no newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,135 cases. Out of the total number, 2,996 have been discharged from hospital (or at 95.57%); 81 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. This is the 23rd consecutive days that there is no locally transmission in Thailand.
    • The National Security Council is reported to discuss whether to extend the use of emergency decree. The Secretary-General of the council said the decision will be made from public health, not from political calculation.–all media outlet

Politics

  • PM Prayut is reportedly planning to introduce an amnesty bill to all political offenders. The media quote a source higher up in the government saying that the amnesty, which has long been the top agenda of General Prayut since he staged the coup in 2014, will be granted to all political offenders except those with corruption or lese majeste cases. The amnesty is expected to be introduced in either the middle of this year or the end of the year.–Than Settakij
    • Reports said Gen Prayut has discussed the amnesty plan with Suthep Thaugsuban, core founder of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party (ACT). It is also said that government key figures have approached the opposition Pheu Thai Party 2-3 months ago to join the government in order to foster the national reconciliation process.
    • This has raised the prospect of long-discussed “reconciliation government” between the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) and the main opposition Pheu Thai Party.
    • The last attempt of the amnesty bill in Thai political history was during Yingluck government when People’s Democratic Reform Committee under Suthep’s lead was formed and led to the coup in May 2014.
  • The Labour Minister and the leader of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party (ACT) Mom Ratchawongse Chatumongol Sonakul submitted his resignation from the leader chief as the internal party has graded him an F for being in the portfolio for a year.
    • The Minister said he will not resign from the cabinet. The ACT Party’s spokesperson will hold a press conference at midday today.
    • The PM declined to comment whether there should be a cabinet reshuffle as the royalty has resigned from the 5-seats coalition party leader. 
  • A political group (Democracy Restoration Group) posted on their social media outlet calling for a demonstration at 10.00am tomorrow at the Government House to urge the government to scrap the use of emergency decree.—all media outlet

Business:

Cabinet’s Decisions, 16 June 2020

  • Approved in principle three stimulus packages worth 22.4 billion Baht to reinvigorate domestic tourism from July-October, with funding from Finance Ministry’s 400 billion Baht economic recovery budget.  The first package (2.4 billion Baht) funds holiday travel for 1.2 million health volunteers; second package (18 billion Baht) cover 40 percent of hotel expenses and food expenses at tourist destinations and third package (2 billion Baht) subsidies 40 percent of costs related to domestic flight fares, care rental and bus fares.
  • Approved 4 aid packages for people who did not receive previous financial aids from the government.  These include 1.16 million holders of state welfare cards (3.49 billion Baht); 302160 people who failed to register for MoF’s 5,000 Baht cash-handout (906 million Baht) ; 6.78 million ‘vulnerable’ people (20.3 billion Baht) and 120,000 farmers (3.8 billion Baht) who missed the cash-handout registration deadline of 15 May. Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1935988/domestic-tourism-gets-triple-booster  https://www.thaipbsworld.com/cabinet-endorses-three-packages-to-revive-ailing-tourism-industry/
  • Travel bubble tourism was not considered by the cabinet yesterday.  Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand also said that it may not lift the ban on commercial international flights on 1 July.  When the ban is lifted, business people will likely be the first to be allowed to travel.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1936052/overseas-commercial-flight-ban-might-not-end-on-july-1
  • Finance Ministry’s first blockchain savings bonds with a face value of 1 baht each will be sold from 24 June – 14 August.  The bonds must be purchased through Krungthai Bank’s (KTB) Pao Tang e-wallet and is part of MoF’s blockchain project which was launched since 2019.  The 200-million Baht savings bonds are part of the government’s economic rehabilitation plan to encourage low-income earners to save money in risk-free assets.  Sources:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1936020/1-baht-savings-bonds-to-debut-on-june-24  https://www.mof.go.th/th https://www.thansettakij.com/content/money_market/438617
  • Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) said the government’s 22.4 billion Baht tourism stimulus package approved yesterday will benefit big hotel operators and leave behind SMEs that account for 75 percent of the tourism sector.  TCT urges Tourism Minsistry to ensure that the benefits of the project will be dispersed to a wider area, not only major tourism destinations.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1936004/tct-queries-tourism-stimulus-deal
  • The cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill for the fiscal 2021 budget of 3.3 trillion Baht, which will be tabled to parliament.  Under the bill, the central fund in fiscal 2021 budget is set at 614.6 billion baht while expenditure for state agencies is set at 1.13 trillion baht.  The cabinet also agreed to the establishment of a 64-member committee assigned to scrutinise the budget bill.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1936036/cabinet-gives-the-nod-to-b3-3tn-fiscal-budget-bill]
  • Thailand has fallen four places to 29th in IMD’s world competitiveness rankings for 2020, weighed down by a decline in rankings for economic performance and government efficiency.  Thailand’s economic performance dropped six positions to 14th, while government efficiency fell three positions to 23rd.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1936128/thailands-competitiveness-ranking-dips
  • Thailand and the world’s other top rubber producers such as Malaysia and Indonesia are starting to emerge from their worst quarter in over a decade, but recovery is still a long way.  Demand from rubber glove makers may be rising, but demand from carmakers remain slumped.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1935712/no-easy-bounce-back-for-thai-regional-rubber-producers
  • Department of Trade Negotiations addressed the ongoing misunderstanding that the submission of CPTPP for the cabinet’s consideration indicates that Thailand has decided to become a member of CPTPP.  It is in fact only a process to negotiate with the member countries.  There are still many steps preceding CPTPP’s accession process.  If the negotiations offer no benefits to Thailand and its people, Thailand will not join CPTPP.  Source:  Department of Trade Negotiations facebook page, 17June 

ASEAN/World

  • North Korea on Tuesday blew up a joint liaison office set up in a border town in 2018 to foster better ties with South Korea after threatening action if defectors continued with a campaign of sending propaganda leaflets into the reclusive North.–all media outlet

Australia

  • The Thai cabinet has assigned the Ministry of Defence to draft an agreement to accompany the MoU between the Thai and Australian Ministry of Defence on logistics. The agreement signing will be conducted after COVID-19 situation is getting better.
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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