Advance Blog

February 26, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 26 February 2021

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 15 Dec, totally confirmed cases
4525,8096324,952 (at 96.68%)21,572
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding
37 [32 (get tested in hospital) + 5 (active case finding)] 8 (in SQ) 774964 (+3)83 (+0)14,485
  • The PM is scheduled to be the first person in Thailand to take a vaccine jab on 28 February. The vaccine the PM is going to take is that of AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, the Deputy PM and the Public Health Minister Anutin will get the SinoVac jab.—Bangkok Post
  • Assistant to CCSA spokesperson said there is a new emerging cluster in Bangkok and Samut Sakhon from a futsal team with 50 high-risk people.–Prachachat

Politics

  • The issue of the cabinet reshuffle remains in the upper end of the bulletin after three ministers have been stripped of the portfolio due to a verdict by a Criminal Court:
    • On the PM front: The PM said as for the reshuffle process, he will wait for each party’s proposal before making the final decision. The PM is considering whether he will just fill in the vacant three seats or all the cabinet. The PM pledged the reshuffle will be done as good and soon as possible.—Krungthep Turakij, Thai Rath
    • On the PPRP’s front: 60 MPs (as of this morning 90 MPs) from the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) signed a letter authorising the Deputy PM and PPRP leader General Prawit power to name the ministers who were freshly scrapped from portfolios due to the Criminal Court verdict and submitted to inform the PM.
      • This is seen as a sign of PPRP party seizing power in appointing ministers from the PM.—Krungthep Turakij
      • It is widely believed that the so-called ‘Three Deputies’ (Deputy Agriculture Minister, Deputy Labour Minister and Deputy Finance Minister), who are currently close to Deputy PM Prawit, are behind this shenanigan in a bid to succeed the ministerial post.—Post Today
      • Government whip gave an interview with a media this morning that the ‘Three Deputies’ did not sign the letter.—Inside Thailand
      • A source in PPRP said that Southern MPs are calling for an allocation of a cabinet portfolio as the clique has 13 MPs.—Siam Rath
    • On the Democrat’s front: Deputy Interior Minister Nipon Bunyamanee affirmed the Democrat Party stance is to leave the reshuffle to the PM. However, should the reshuffle mean the re-allocation of portfolios among parties, this needs to be negotiated first. Currently, he prefers the current allocation.—Thai Rath
    • On the Democrat and Bhumjaithai fronts: Agriculture Minister and Democrat secretary-general Chalermchai went to meet with Public Health Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin at the Public Health Ministry. The visit happened amid the backdrop of rumours that the PM will take one portfolio from the Democrat and give it to Bhumjaithai.–Matichon
    • As always, there are more speculations of how the reshuffle would look like:
      • Krungthep Turakij issued two possibilities:
        • Formula 1:
          • Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat—Labour Minister
          • Deputy Labour Minister Narumon—Deputy Finance Minister
          • Exchanging the Education Minister quota under PPRP with Agriculture Minister quota under Democrat
          • Deputy Finance Minister Santi—Agriculture Minister
          • Deputy Transport Minister Athirat—Digital Economy Minister
          • MP Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn– Deputy Agriculture Minister
        • Formular 2:
          • PM Office Minister Anucha– Digital Economy Minister
          • Deputy Labour Minister Narumon—PMO Minister
          • PM adviser Pirapan Salirathavibhaga—Education Minister
      • Inside Thailand issued two possibilities:
        • Formula 1:
          • Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat—Digital Economy Minister
          • Deputy Finance Minister Santi—Education Minister
          • Deputy Labour Minister Narumon—Deputy Finance Minister
        • Formula 2:
          • Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat—Natural Resources Minister
          • Natural Resources Minister Varavuth—Culture Minister
          • Culture Minister Ithiphol—Digital Economy Minister
  • Breaking: This morning, the appeal court has issued bails for eight core figures of PDRCs. The eight were detained in Bangkok Remand Prison for two nights.
  • The Parliament passed the second reading of the draft to establish the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) to rewrite the new constitution. The content of the draft is as followed:
    • The third reading vote will be conducted 15 days after the second reading has passed.
    • The third reading requires three-fifth or 450 votes in the Parliament to pass.
    • The proposal will need to pass through a referendum and will need to have more than half of voter turnouts of all eligible voters for the proposal to be qualified.
    • There will be 200 CDA members using the first-past-the-post system. The constituent will be divided according to the number of populations in each province (meaning a province can have more than one constituent).
    • The CDA is not allowed to amend the Section 1 (form of state) and Section 2 (monarchy) of the Constitution.
    • iLaw, Manager
  • The freshly reformed ReDem movement (formerly Free Youth) is going to hold a protest gathering at the Victory Monument before marching to PM Prayuth residence at the King’s Guard Unit.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic

  • The Bank of Thailand revealed that the economy in January has been obviously affected by the re-emergence of COVID-19 in Thailand. All private consumption indicators have been worsened compared to the same period last year. Household purchasing power also decreased due to lockdowns. The imports and exports contracted from the same period last year. —Manager, Thai News Agency
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is under heavy criticism as its newly introduced draft effectively bars the majority of Thais from trading digital currency by requiring them to have annual income of 1 million baht. The draft also calls for investors to have at least two years trading cryptocurrency, stocks or futures to be allowed to trade digital currencies.—Bangkok Post
  • Thai Tourism Authority governor expected a decline of 44 percent fewer domestic trips when compared with the same period last year in this long weekend due to the re-emergence of COVID pandemic. The spending is forecasted to decrease 38 percent from last year’s level.—Bangkok Post
  • The Biden Administration’s positions on different matters are going to pose opportunities and challenges to Thai economy. One of the highlights is the American re-enter into CPTPP. As Vietnam has been part of the multinational trade pact, should Thailand do not join CPTPP, the supply chain will leave Thailand and be in Vietnam instead. The other significant trade policy under Biden is to loosen the trade barrier with China. The policy will have positive impact for the Thai economy, especially in businesses which have a supply chain connecting with China and export to the US. However, as the new American administration is focusing on the issues of copyrights, environment, human and labour rights, these may be raised up as conditions for further trade negotiation.—Krungthep Turakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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