Advance Blog

August 25, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 25 August 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
18,417  (146 from prisons); (excluding ATK 1,185)1,102,368 (last seven days: 133,411)5,189/1,096903,015 (+21,186)1,073,50521,231,498 (+400,825) BKK: 6,557,409 (+15,161)560,624 (+9,363) BKK: 146,145 (+1,964)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average tests in the last seven days
18,261 [15,953  (get tested in hospital) + 2,308 (active case finding)]10 (in SQ)189,268 [161,577 in field hospital]254,977 (+4,139)10,085 (+297) (last seven days: 1,800)28,197,659 (+585,214) BKK: 8,224,909 (+26,432)6,405,537 (+175,026) BKK: 1,521,355 (+9,307)50,569
  • FDA’s secretary-general said once having the full approval from the US FDA, Pfizer (Thailand) will be able to sell it to the private sector like other vaccines after getting the Thai FDA approval. The process could be done within 30 days.—Thai Enquirer

Politics

  • There is nothing more bigger a news than the publicly leaked CCTV footage of what is seen to be a suffocation of a drug suspect to death by a superintendent at Meung Nakhon Sawan Provincial Police Station and other police officers.
    • The hospital’s post-mortem report suggested that the man died due to ‘suggestive of amphetamine intoxication’
    • The Police Chief has ordered Deputy Police Chief and Inspector-General to look into the issue. In the media conference last evening, the Police Chief has pledged to restore confidence of the public in Police. He revealed that the PM has ordered to prosecute the perpetrators without any exception.—Thai Rath
    • Last night, the Police Chief has signed an order to strip the superintendent in question out of position as it is reported that the superintendent threatened the drug dealer for two million THB.—Khao Sod
    • It is reported that later this morning, the investigative officers will seek an arrest warrant of the superintendent from court. However, the superintendent cannot be reached out.—Khao Sod
      • There has been unconfirmed talks that the superintendent has fled the Kingdom.
    • The superintendent is reportedly dating the daughter of Region 6 Police Chief. The police also joined the prestigious Royal Volunteer Training Project ‘Jit Asa’ and has usually claimed to know several higher members of the Royal Police.—Inside Thailand
    • The shocking video has raised the call for the passage of protracted Draft bills on prevention and persecution of torture and enforced disappearance against state officials which is now in Parliamentary discussion.—Krungthep Turakij  
    • Vocal Democrat figure and former MP Nipit Intarasombat has voiced his opinion on the news saying that he has seen worse when he was practising laws. Nipit said, however, that the superintendent might not be charged with attempt murder as the video saw the police officer trying to do CPR for the drug suspect.—Krungthep Turakij
    • In response to the CCTV video, the newly established anarchic-prone ‘Talu Gas’ group has called for the gathering in front of the Police HQ in Pathum Wan from 3.55pm.—Talu Gas
  • Today, there will be the other gathering of Talu Fah Group at the Parliament from 4.00pm.
  • Ratchavithi Hospital has announced that the 15-year-old boy who was shot with live bullet on 16 August is still in coma and still in need of ventilator. The hospital said that the teen patient is having arms and legs paralysis. His eyes are not responsive.—Prachachat Turakij
  • There have been major developments on the constitutional amendment issue after the amendment Committee led by PPRP Deputy leader Paiboon Nititawan has withdrew five clauses from the amendment motion before going to the second and third readings:
    • The five clauses are
      • Section 85 on the announcement of election results within 30 days.
      • Article 92 on the requirements for winning a ‘No Vote’ or an electoral vote that does not elect anyone to be a member of the House of Representatives, if any constituency which elects a member of the House of Representatives gets less votes than a ‘No Vote’ then there is a need to hold new elections and prohibit applicants existing contestants for the MP in that constituency to run for new elections.
      • Section to repeal Section 94 on calculating the electoral vote to find a list of MPs.
      • Section to repeal paragraph 3 of Section 105 concerning the calculation of party-list MP proportions.
      • Transitional provisions sections on the determination of time period for the National Assembly to enact Organic Act (Act) governing the election of members of the House of Representatives within 120 days.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Deputy PM and Democrat leader announced that the party has its stance in supporting two ballots (one for constituency; the other for party-list).—Krungthep Turakij
  • It is reported that in the cabinet meeting, the Human Security Minister from Democrat Party has proposed a delay in censure debate into early to mid-September as the Covid situation might be better and will strip the opposition of one major issue to grill the government.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Yesterday, the cabinet has appointed the former Centre for Economic Situation Administration and Palang Pracharat Party spokesperson Mr Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana as the new government spokesperson. Senior source in the Government House said that the new appointment aimed to better quell ‘fake news’.—Prachachat Turakij
  • A political movement close to former PM Thaksin CARE Group has launched its newest campaign in Change.org to ‘hold people referendum’ ousting the PM and call for the unified action in wearing black costumes or hang black flag at home as a symbolic gesture against the administration.–CARE
  • The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry blocked Thailand’s answer to “Popcat” – “Popyut” – on Sunday, citing it allegedly violated the Computer Crime Act. The game which works along the lines of “Popcat”, uses Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s face, which shifts every time a player clicks on it.—Nation Thailand

Analysis/ opinion

  • Political communication pundit Nantana Nantavaropas gave an interview saying that the appointment of ‘hawkish’ persona like Mr Thanakorn as the new spokesperson could be read as the PM attempt to confront with the people than to provide information. She said that the best way of quelling fake news is to make sure that the government is doing effective things amid the pandemic, not spinning or giving ‘alternative fact’ to the people. The specialist also pointed out to the appointment of former conservative PDRC leader as the editor-in-chief for the Covid-administer CCSA as alarming and that the PM is making the government communication as propaganda and antagonistic to the people.—Matichon TV

Economic

Cabinet’s Decisions, 24 August 2021

  • Approved of extending the 7 percent VAT rate for another 2 years, until 30 September 2023, to reduce financial burden for consumers.  The extension is unlikely to affect the state revenue collection during FY 2022 and 2023.
  • Instructed the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Tourism and Sports Ministry (MOST) to review the domestic tourism subsidy campaigns “Rao Tiew Duay Kan” (We Travel Together) and “Tour Teaw Thai”, which were delayed from April.  If the new phases of both schemes cannot be implemented by October this year, the cabinet will re-allocate the budget for other uses to stimulate the economy.  Source: Prachachart Turakij Bangkok Post
  • Allowed the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank) to raise its registered capital by 4.18 billion Baht to support the investments of SMEs in Thailand and abroad, especially CLMV countries and as new markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Maldives.  EXIM Bank will also promote investments in the EEC and the BCG Economy.  This is the first time in 12 years that EXIM Bank will be raising its registered capital.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij

Others

  • The Thai Commerce Ministry signed a mini-FTA with the Chinese province of Hainan on 20 August.  The mini-FTA will boost trade for 3 products namely agricultural, food and industrial items for 2 years, from 20 Aug 2021 – 20 Aug 2023.  Trade between Thailand Hainan stood at 9.2 billion baht (295 million USD), which the mini-FTA should help increase to 12 billion Baht.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • At an online seminar ‘Keep An Eye on WTO Reform in the New Normal Era’, Supachai Panitchpakdi, the former WTO Director-General, said the group needs to reform its work structure to increase cooperation.  He also urged the WTO to step up its role in tackling new trade barriers and facilitating trade for essential products to cope with COVID-19 such as vaccines, medicines, medical supplies and medical equipment.  Meanwhile, the Department of Trade Negotiations added that the WTO members are in intense discussions to prepare for the conclusion of the 12th Ministerial Conference to be held from Nov 30 – Dec 3 this year in Geneva, Switzerland.  Source:  Thansettakij Bangkok Post
  • Bank of Thailand (BOT) announced that it had asked commercial banks and financial institutions to restructure the debts of those afflicted by COVID-19 rather than to implement ‘debt haircut’ (slash the debt principal and interest owed by debtors) as previously understood.  BOT reiterated that debt haircut should only be implemented as agreed by the creditors and debtors on a case by case basis.  BOT issued the statement after receiving a letter from the Thai Bankers Association (TBA) which voiced the concerns of banks on the implications of debt haircut on the banking sector’s stability and on creating moral hazard (ie: incentivizing clients to exploit debt haircut when they could service their debts).  The BOT and TBA had discussed this issue and agreed that the debt haircut is an option for the many product programs offered under debt restructuring scheme.  Sources: Krungthep Turakij The Nation Prachachart Turakij Thansettakij
  • Dr Anusorn Tammajai, the former Ministry of Finance’s debt management Committee and former Dean of Rangsit University’s Economic Faculty suggested the government borrow another 300 billion Baht if the lockdown is extended until the end of 2021 and to disburse them to the right target groups.  Dr Anusorn spoke out against the establishment of a single command center on COVID-19 because it is slow in making decisions.  He suggested the government open up the business sector strategically, by allowing the thousands of large companies to operate within the conditions set by Public Health Ministry.  For smaller SMEs which total around 3 million, the government should subsidise the costs for the rapid antigen tests.  He also proposed ways to reform the public health system such as by allocating more budget to the sector and adopting the concept of self-governing hospitals.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Thansettakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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