Advance Blog

October 17, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 17 OCTOBER 2022

KEY ISSUES AT A GLANCE

  • TST sets out condition on merger talk. The Thai Sang Thai Party (TST) has not ruled out a possible merger with the Sang Anakhot Thai Party (SATP) as long as the latter does not support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s prolonged stay in power, it said. Sita Divari, secretary-general of the TST, said the new election law makes it extremely difficult for new and small parties to win the required number of House seats to be eligible to nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a vote in parliament. Section 159 of the constitution stipulates that only a party with at least 25 seats (5% of the 500 House seats) can nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote on. He said political parties will have to consolidate their support bases to secure the required number of seats. However, he stressed there has not been much progress made in talks and there are several issues yet to be thrashed out. Source: Bangkok Post, Thai PBS
  • Help small businesses, low-income earners, Arkhom tells G20 ministers. The meeting brought together finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 (G20) countries. Arkhom told them that rising prices of consumer goods and energy have become a huge challenge, with high inflation threatening to lead to economic recession. Finance Ministry spokesman Pornchai Theeravet said on Saturday that Arkhom made the remarks while attending the two-day meeting in Washington DC at the invitation of Indonesia’s Finance Ministry, which hosted this year’s gathering on Wednesday and Thursday. The meeting was attended by representatives from the European Union, eight industrial countries — United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, United States and Australia — as well as 11 large economies, namely Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. Source: The Nation

AUSTRALIA IN THE NEWS

  • Australians take stock of flood damage amid warnings of more rain. Thousands of Australians on Monday (Oct 17) returned to homes and businesses to assess flood damage even as evacuation warnings remained in inland regions of the southeast and authorities warned of more rain ahead which could trigger renewed flooding. Major flood warnings are in place across many regions despite little rainfall over the weekend with many swollen rivers only expected to reach peak flood levels this week. The weather bureau forecast another wild weather system that could bring rains up to 50mm across some flood-hit regions. Large parts of Victoria state, southern New South Wales and the northern regions of the island state of Tasmania were slammed by an intense weather system last week with some taking more than a month’s worth of rain. Source: Channel News Asia, Thai News Agency
  • TST discussed national transformation plans with ambassadors from 7 countries. The Thai Sang Thai party discussed plans to transform Thailand with 7 ambassadors from Australia, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, Finland, and Malaysia. The party mentioned that they are working to establish a new Constitution Drafting Assembly to amend the constitution. They are currently in the process of getting 50,000 voters to endorse to proposal. The amendment aims to restore the power to the people by setting the country free from authoritarianism and bureaucratic polity, both of which obstruct Thailand from progressing. Source: INN News

GENERAL

  • Air travel in Phuket disrupted by floods, intercity buses not affected. Rare flooding in Phuket on Sunday continued to disrupt air travellers as passengers missed their flights out of the resort city, while those arriving struggled to reach their hotels or homes. Several tourists missed their flights because of traffic congestion on roads to the airport due to flooding, although all airports extended service at check-in counters by 20 minutes to one hour, the provincial public relations office said, citing Ratchadaporn O-in, chief of the tourism and sports office in Phuket. The situation was no better for those flying in, because public transport was hampered by vehicles stranded on roads, she added. Source: Bangkok Post, MGR Online

POLITICS

  • TST sets out condition on merger talk. The Thai Sang Thai Party (TST) has not ruled out a possible merger with the Sang Anakhot Thai Party (SATP) as long as the latter does not support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s prolonged stay in power, it said. Sita Divari, secretary-general of the TST, said the new election law makes it extremely difficult for new and small parties to win the required number of House seats to be eligible to nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a vote in parliament. Section 159 of the constitution stipulates that only a party with at least 25 seats (5% of the 500 House seats) can nominate a prime ministerial candidate for a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to vote on. He said political parties will have to consolidate their support bases to secure the required number of seats. However, he stressed there has not been much progress made in talks and there are several issues yet to be thrashed out. Source: Bangkok Post, Thai PBS
  • Security to tighten in deep South. The country’s southern border security is being strengthened ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit next month. Maj Gen Woradej Dejraksa, chief of the Thepsatree Task Force, visited the 36/100 joint operation base in Songkhla’s Saba Yoi district and instructed troops to step up surveillance along the border ahead of the gathering of world leaders. The joint base is a collaboration between Thailand and Malaysia in tackling security issues along the common border, especially drug trafficking and illegal crossings. Source: Bangkok Post
  • Thaksin shows up in Bangkok online to sign copies of new book. The ex-PM appeared via weblink at the Thaicom Foundation booth to launch his new book “Thaksin Shinawatra Theory and Thought” at the Book Expo Thailand 2022. The book was published by Thaksin’s three children, Paethongtarn, Panthongtae and Pintongta. People formed a long queue at the booth from 4pm, two hours before autograph-signing began. Thaksin told his fans before the signing that he only recently realised the book was being published, during an interview in Singapore. He thanked his family members and acquaintances for giving interviews for the book, especially his ex-wife Potjaman Na Pombejra. Source: The Nation
  • Move Forward proposes amnesty for political, Article 112 offenders. The Move Forward Party, a political party known for its anti-establishment stance, has proposed a series of reforms as its platform for the next general elections that include amending the lese majeste law and military downsizing. The party calls for amnesty for political offences and those jailed for violating Article 112 of the penal code which makes insulting the monarchy a criminal offence. Pijarn Chaowapattanawongse, a deputy leader of Move Forward, said the party is proposing that no former military officers can hold Cabinet portfolio within seven years of their retirement. “This is to put a stop to the tradition of military patronage system,” he said, referring to the practice of using military positions as a springboard for political power. Source: Thai PBS World

ECONOMICS 

  • Rail projects sped up to reduce costs. The government is accelerating the construction of the second phase of the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail linking Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai and the double-track rail route linking Khon Kaen to Nong Khai worth a combined 330 billion baht as it aims to reduce logistics costs to 11% of GDP by 2027 from 13.8% in 2021. According to Danucha Pichayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), the meeting of the committee handling logistics development chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow on Oct 10 agreed the two rail development projects need to be sped up to help reduce logistics costs. The Transport Ministry is likely to propose action to the cabinet for approval soon, he said. Source: Bangkok Post
  • BoT sees more than 158,000 debtors register for resolving their credit card and personal loan problems. Suwannee Jesadasak Senior Director Financial Institutions Policy and Supervision Department 2 BoT stated that as of October 14, 2022, there were 158,539 debt settlement requests out of a total of 62,595 debtors, an average of 2-3 items per person. She added that most of the debts are credit cards and personal loans. This initiative has been a joint effort of both Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Thailand (BoT) to organize a debt settlement exhibition. Currently, 56 financial institutions have accepted to join, covering debt from loans, credit card, personal loan debt, car lease debts, car registration debt, nano finance debt including loans with asset management companies and all types of credit of specialized financial institutions. Source: Thai Enquirer
  • Help small businesses, low-income earners, Arkhom tells G20 ministers. The meeting brought together finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 (G20) countries. Arkhom told them that rising prices of consumer goods and energy have become a huge challenge, with high inflation threatening to lead to economic recession. Finance Ministry spokesman Pornchai Theeravet said on Saturday that Arkhom made the remarks while attending the two-day meeting in Washington DC at the invitation of Indonesia’s Finance Ministry, which hosted this year’s gathering on Wednesday and Thursday. The meeting was attended by representatives from the European Union, eight industrial countries — United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, United States and Australia — as well as 11 large economies, namely Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. Source: The Nation

For further information please see the embassy’s Facebook Page Australian Embassy, Thailand’ or the Ambassador’s Twitter Page https://twitter.com/AusAmbBKK

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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