Advance Blog

September 2, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 2 September 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports eight newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,425 cases. Out of the total number, 3,274 have been discharged from hospital (at 95.59%); 93 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed case are Thai returned from the US (6); Australia (1) and Japan (1). This is the 100th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.

Politics

  • The PM insisted that differing stances within the coalition on the chlorpyrifos and paraquat ban won’t affect the unity of the government. As the Democrat Agriculture Minister is planning to file the petition against the earlier ban of hazardous chemicals by Bhumjaithai party ministers.—Bangkok Post
  • Khon Kaen Police Station issued a letter to the Khon Kaen town Mayor citing that local residents have reported to the police on disturbance from recent student protests. And a resident has suggested the authority to move the Democracy Monument in the province to other areas. The police then would like to address this issue to the administrative authority for consideration.–Manager
  • A media interviewed former Democrat MP turned pro-royalist activist Warong Dejkitwikrom about a 15 years old protestor who has been under spotlight in the last pro-royalist gatherings. Warong said that the boy is not part of Loyalist Thai, a group he established to voice the concerns of the Royalists. Earlier, the boy did a FB Live broadcast chanting ‘Long Live Dictatorship, Down with Democracy’ (a complete paradox from the student protests motto of ‘Down with Dictatorship, Long Live Democracy’). Warong said the boy’s opinion (which according to some, could be interpreted as sedition against the democratic regime) does not reflect Loyalist Thai Group.—Khao Sod
  • Jutatip Sirikhan, the president of the Student Union of Thailand (SUT) was apprehended by plain-clothes police  on her way to study at Thammasat University. After her release on bail, she took a symbolic gesture in front of the criminal court by pouring a can of white paint over her head in defiance of injustice.—all media outlet
  • The PM twin daughters are taking a legal actions against the those who post, share, or comment defamatory contents against them. The move followed last week Twitter campaign of “searching for Prayut’s twin daughters”, questioning where does the money the two have been using are from while spending time aboard.—Naew Na
  • Swedish Embassy Facebook Page posted in support of Maria Poonlertlarp, Thai beauty pageant who recently came out to support the democracy and student protest causes. 

Business:

Akra Mine

  • Reports surfaced that the community in Chantaburi province has turned up in force to protest against a move by Richphoom Mining, a subsidiary of Akra Resources and Kingsgate companies, to start a gold mining operation in Kaenghangmaew district.  Back in year 2017, Richphoom Mining applied for a special license to operate a gold mine on a plot of land spanning 14,650 rais in the province.  Although the Industry Ministry has yet to approve of the license, local community members from villagers and private sector to provincial government agencies have turned up in force to protest to move.  They plan to submit a letter to Prime Minister Prayut.  They fear the gold mining operation may damage the environment and ecosystem in Chantaburi province, referencing Akra mine as an example.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij newspaper, 2 September 2020
  • The Industry Ministry insists Thailand needs a budget to finance its legal fight with Akra Mine after a House committee vetting the budget bill FY21 slashed its 111-million-Baht request.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Cabinet’s Decisions, 2 September 2020

  • Approved a reduction in the Social Security Fund contribution by employers and employees to 2 percent from the current 5 percent, which is anticipated to lower the financial burden of 12.79 million employees and inject 24 billion Baht into the economy to reduce economic contraction.
  • Insured persons under Section 39 of the Social Security Act will see reduction in their contribution to the fund to 96 baht from 432 Baht monthly from September to November 2020.
  • Approved State Railway of Thailand’s request for 11.5 billion Baht in loans, plus an 800 million baht short-term overdraft for FY21 for its rehabilitation plan.  Sources: Bangkok Post Bangkok Post The Nation

Others

  • Finance Minister Preedee Daochai has resigned after 26 days in the job, effective today (2 September), as published in the Royal Gazette.  Mr Predee cited health problem as the reason for his resignation, referring to a blood clot which causes numbness in his left arm.  However, some speculated that his decision could have been triggered by an earlier conflict with Finance Deputy Minister, Santi Promphat, over the appointment of the Director-General of the Excise Department.  News of Preedee’s resignation contributed to the sudden Baht depreciation against the US dollar and the sell-off in the stock exchange market.  Expert contends that his resignation reflects on Thailand’s political instability and will further derail investor confidence.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Bangkok Post  Krungthep Turakij
  • The Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) will consider today the short-term measures to stimulate the economy for the rest of this year.  Among the measures is the Phuket Model; a new tourism model where 200 visitors from Australia and New Zealand will be allowed to visit Thailand starting from October.  Another measure is an employment package for hiring 1 million new graduates and jobless people through a co-payment scheme with private companies.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Thansettakij
  • Government Savings Bank has extended its debt moratorium program a further 3 months to December 2020 to relieve borrowers’ burden during the ongoing economic crisis.  The move is in line with the Bank of Thailand’s policy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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