Advance Blog

August 3, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 3 August 2020

News

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today, Thailand reports newly three confirmed cases, a total of 3,320 cases. Out of the total number, 3,142 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.64%); 120 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are Thai national returned from UAE (2) and India (1), and have been in state quarantine since. This is the 70th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
  • Over the weekend, Thailand reports
    • A total of 3,317 cases (+7)
    • 3,142 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.41%);
    • 117 are being hospitalised. 
    • Death toll at 58.
  • The PM on Sunday ordered a second autopsy be conducted after the death of a key witness in a deadly hit-and-run case linked to the heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune, amid public anger that the charges were dropped. The deceased witness who said last year that he saw Mr Vorayuth drove his car at lesser than 70-80 km/hr against the earlier calculation in 2012 that the car was at 170-180km/hr was scheduled to be cremated on Sunday.—all media outlet

Politics

  • Yesterday, Army chief Apirat denied the online rumours that the PM has ordered the immediate removal of the Army and Police Chief and the Army Chief was about to fly to special operation army division in Lopburi and scheduled to address the nation. The vocal Army Chief, then, turned to recommend the people to take a look at Netflix’s The Hater which touch upon fake news.–VoiceTV, Matichon
  • Justice Minister Somsak said “there could be an aftershock in the House once the new portfolio is announced”. He gave an interview to media on Sunday, implying that the PM may face some obstacles in some voting as Industry Minister Suriya (under the same “Sam-Mitr” roof) apparently will not be able to get the Energy Minister seat, again. Sam-Mitr group (primarily consisted of former Deputy PM Somkid, Justice Minister Somsak and Industry Minister Suriya) reportedly holds 40 MPs in the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party.—Krungthep Turakij, Thai Rath
  • A new poll carried about by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA Poll) and released on Sunday showed that 54 percent of the people agreed with the student protests; 41 percent disagreed. Regarding what should be the PM response to the protestors requests: 42.72 percent said the PM should go to listen to the student himself; 20.40 percent said the PM should announce the dissolution of Parliament and hold immediate election; 13.68 percent said the PM should help amend the constitution and then hold an election; 6.56 percent said the PM should do nothing; 5.36 percent suggested the PM should listen to student protestors using House mechanisms.—Nida Poll
  • The student flash mobs are still keeping its momentum:
    • On Sunday, at Krue Se mosque in Pattani around 200 local protestors gathered to protest and hi-parked in local Malaya on inefficient governance, lack of legitimacy and the illegitimate operation of Chana Industrial Zone.—The Standard
    • This evening, a group of student is scheduled to gather at the Democracy Monument under Harry Potter’s Wizardry theme to cast a spell on the dark power of “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.
  • Amnesty International has sent an open letter to Gen Maj. Chaktip Chaichinda urging the Royal Thai Police to not arbitrarily interfere with the exercise of rights and peaceful assembly on its citizens when policing assemblies in Thailand.—Thai Enquirer
  • With cabinet rejig is set to be announced very soon, a media has published the following list of cabinet member (highlighted are newly appointed):
Quota/PartyNamePosition
PMPrawit WongsuwanDeputy PM
PMWissanu Krea-ngamDeputy PM
BhumjaithaiAnutin CharnvirakulDeputy PM and Public Health Minister
DemocratJurin LaksanawisitDeputy PM and Commerce Minister
PMPredee DaochaiFinance Minister
PMDon PramudwinaiForeign Minister
BhumjaithaiPhiphat RatchakitprakarnTourism Minister
PPRPAnucha NakasaiPMO Minister
DemocratJuti KrairerkSocial Development and Human Security Minister
Action Coalition for ThailandAnek LaothamatasHigher Education Minister
DemocratChalermchai SrionAgriculture Minister
BhumjaithaiSaksayam ChidchobTransport Minister
PPRPPuttipong PunnakantaDigital Economy Minister
Chart Thai Pattana PartyVarawut Silpa-archaNatural Resources Minister
PMSupattanapong PunmeechaowEnergy Minister
PMAnupong PaochindaInterior Minister
PPRPSomsak ThepsutinJustice Minister
PPRPSuchart ChomklinLabour Minister
PPRPIttipol KhunpluemCulture Minister
PPRPSuriya JuangroongruangkitIndustry Minister
PPRPNataphol TeepsuwanEducation Minister
PMChinchan ChangmongkonDeputy Defence Minister
PPRPSanti PromphatDeputy Finance Minister
PPRPThamanat PrompowDeputy Agriculture Minister
BhumjaithaiMananya ThaisetDeputy Agriculture Minister
Chart Thai Pattana PartyPraphat PhothasoothonDeputy Agriculture Minister
PPRPAtirat RatanasateDeputy Transport Minister
DemocratThaworn SenniamDeputy Transport Minister
BhumjaithaiWeerasak WangsuphakijkosolDeputy Commerce Minister
DemocratNipon BunyamaneeDeputy Interior Minister
DemocratKalaya SophonpanichDeputy Education Minister
DemocratSatit PitutachaDeputy Public Health Minister
BhumjaithaiKanokwan WilawanDeputy Education Minister
BhumjaithaiSongsak ThongsriDeputy Interior Minister
PPRP / (?)Narumon PinyosinwatDeputy Labour Minister

*It is expected that the PM will announce the name list by 10 August 2020.—Matichon Weekly

Business:

Tourism

  • For the first six months of 2020, the number of foreign tourists contracted by 66 percent YoY to total 6.69 million.  Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicts that foreign tourist figure would reach only 7 million and revenue 1.23 trillion if Thailand remains closed in the last quarter of 2020.  TAT noted that the sixth phase of lockdown easing includes Thailand opening up to specific groups of visitors such as film crews, businessmen, medical visitors as well as some 200 foreigners who hold the Thailand Elite Card.  Direct flights to Phuket will also be provide to take travellers to Alternative State Quarantine in October this year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Alternative state quarantine (ASQ) hotels may be in short supply when foreigners are allowed into Thailand, with the Thai Hotels Association (THA) saying the extra medical cost is preventing operators from taking part.  Operators urge the government to partly subsidise medical costs for hotels to help guests pay less.  Source:  Bangkok Post

CPTPP

  • The parliament-appointed sub-committee to study CPTPP’s impact on agriculture will convene a meeting tomorrow (4 August).  Among the topics of discussion is the impacts of UPOV 1991 on Thai agricultural exports, farmers and the available remedies.  It will also consider other alternatives to CPTPP.  The subcommittee will continue with its studies and is scheduled to submit the results to the parliament on 8 September.  Source:  Thansettakij

Others

  • Bank of Thailand projects that the Thai economy could contract up to  13 percent YoY in Q2 2020, worse than the 12.5 percent GDP contraction in Q2 of 1998.  The record contraction owes largely to the lockdown measures in Thailand and throughout the world, yet the central bank also asserts that the Thai economy has bottomed out in Q2.  For June, BOT contends that the Thai economy improved from May, evidenced by the lower contraction rate in export, consumption, investment and manufacturing.  However, tourist number remained zero.   Source: Bangkok Post   Bank of Thailand Press Release
  • The phase II of Bank of Thailand’s debt relief measures come into effect since 1 August, including debt restructuring and interest rate cuts and increasing credit limit for credit cards and personal loans.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper
  • Thai Airways expects the Central Bankruptcy Court to allow for a rehabilitation process after its first hearing on 17 August on its restructuring proposals.  Once the court accepts the airline’s request, it would appoint a committee to design a rehabilitation plan, which will be submitted to creditors and court for approval next year.  Restructuring is expected to begin in May or June 2021 and could take up to seven years.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thai exports may be affected by the looming China-India conflict and the US-China technology war, in addition to currency volatility and tightened human rights, according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce University.  TCCU also urges the government to assist business sectors, from loans and tax incentives to stimulus packages.  Source: Bangkok Post

Australia

  • Ultra-royalist doctor, “Garbage-collection” group leader, Mongkutwattana Hospital’s director and one of the PM hand-picked counsels to study the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 Dr Rianthong Nanna has posted on his Facebook Page the photos of his three children who he claimed are being threatened. He said that should he and his family are not able to live in Thailand, he will seek asylum and establish a Radiation Oncology Centre in the city of Perth, WA. Recently he has been launching “Closing-down Opportunity” campaign against the anti-Prayuth young protestors, threatening to send photos of protestors to like-minded companies for social sanctions.
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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