Advance Blog

January 26, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 26 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
7,587 (156 from aboard; 106 from prisons), excluding 2,205 ATKs2,398,944 (last seven days: 54,011)19 (last seven days: 108)81,299/ 519
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
113,181,596 (+421,737)52,130,059 (+41,545)48,281,036 (+73,034)12,770,501 (+307,158)
  • The PM is scheduled to return to the Kingdom today after his official visit to Saudi Arabia.
    • The Labour Minister said that the Saudi Arabian Deputy PM has instructed its agencies to recruit 8 million labours to support its Kingdom, including from Thailand. The Minister said that the official visit has allowed Thai labours who has high potential to return to the middle eastern Kingdom.–Krungthep Turakij
    • For the joint press statement, please find it from MFA
    • The PM posted on his social media inviting the Saudi Crown Prince to visit Thailand after marking the new era of the bilateral relations.–Krungthep Turakij 

Politics

  • The expulsion of 21 MPs led by Thammanat from the main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) has remained on high-agenda:
    • Deputy PM and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin said that should the 21 MPs cannot find the party to be with, they are more than welcomed to join the second-largest coalition party.–Matichon
    • The Election Commissioner said that it has acknowledged the party’s decision to expel 21 MPs and will look into the legality of the expulsion process.–Krungthep Turakij
    • The leader of opposition Pheu Thai Party warned against a coup d’etat as the coalition has lesser votes. The Opposition leader said that the PM might not want to risk losing the next election if the House is dissolved. Pheu Thai leader warned that the other coup would lead to more conflicts.– Matichon
  • Sontirat, former Energy Minister and PPRP secretary-general, is touring the northeastern and is trying to garner support for their new ‘Build Thailand Future’ Party. The party just launched its neither extreme left nor far-right platform.–Krungthep Turakij

Economic

Akara Mine

  • Industry Ministry’s (MoI) Mineral Board said it had granted Akara Mine the 4 outstanding licenses based on Kingsgate’s earlier requests, which also complies with Thai law; namely the Mineral Act 2017.  Currently, MoI is waiting for Akara mine to decide on the timeframe of their investment, after which MoI will appoint a new committee to monitor and investigate Akara Mine’s activities.  MoI believes it may be able to reach a negotiation settlement with Kingsgate and may no longer need the involvement of the TAFTA arbitral tribunal.  Both sides are also in discussion to request for the tribunal award date to be extended beyond 31 January 2022.  Source:  Thai Rath  Daily News  
  • Pheu Thai Party’s MP Jiraporn Sindhuprai asks the public to closely monitor the TAFTA arbitral tribunal holding its award on 31 January 2021.  She is also asking the public to join Pheu Thai Party in petitioning against PM Prayut’s attempt to use the nation’s assets (the mines) to secretly settle a deal with Kingsgate in order for the company to revoke its case from the TAFTA arbitral tribunal process. Source:  Siam Rath

Others

  • The Bank of Thailand, Securities Exchange Commission and Finance Ministry are drafting a regulation to prohibit digital asset operators from using digital assets as ‘means of payment’ for goods and services.  The 3 agencies have been holding a public hearing on this matter since 25 January.  The regulation will be finalized after the public hearing ends in February.  Nonetheless, BOT is deliberating on allowing the use of ‘stable coins’ as a means of payment as it is backed up by assets.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • PM Prayut praises government agencies for their work on the reviving economy, which the NESDC forecasted will grow by +4 percent in 2022.  Going forward, the government will be promoting 6 industries including smart industries; developing manufacturing sector towards 4.0 through innovations and digital technologies; developing sustainable and environmentally friendly industries; establishing special economic zones to draw investments in industrial estates; using digital technology to upgrade the service sector; and developing target industries as specified under the 13th National Economic Development Plan.  Source:  Thai Government News
  • Pig farmers from the northeastern region of Thailand are protesting against the import of pork as a solution to curb the ongoing inflation.  They argue that once pork import is allowed, it will give European countries permanent access to the Thai market at the expense of domestic pig farmers.  Source:  Matichon
  • Commerce Ministry is focusing on curbing the prices of chicken, pork and palm oil.  The latter has seen price increase to nearly 70 Baht per bottle from 56-60 Baht at the end of 2021.  The MoC has set up a war room to monitor the situation and to impose strict penalties on price gouging.  Source:  Krungthep TurakijBangkok Post

Gulf Energy Development is partnering with a Chinese state enterprise, Sinohydro (Hong Kong) Holding, to co-develop the 770-megawatt Pak Lay hydropower project in Laos on the Mekong River.  Gulf expects to make an investment of 8 billion Baht after year 2024, with the hydropower set to become operational on 1 January 2032.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 26 January 2022  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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