Advance Blog

February 2, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 31 January 2022

News

Covid-19 situation/ vaccination number

8,008
(Domestic +7,842
(Abroad+166)
(ATK  +2,065)
(Prison +14)
2,440,542 16 84,319
Total vaccination 1st dose vaccine recipients
(from 28-30 Feb)
2nd dose vaccine recipients
(from 28-30 Feb)
3rd dose vaccine recipients
(from 16 July)
114,087,421 (+465,154) 52,315680
(+6,958 yesterday)
75.2 %
48,603,421
(+11,973 yesterday)
69.9 %
14,134,471
(+78,366 yesterday)
20.3%

Source : Covid-19 information centre , Department of Public Relation and Ministry of Public Health

Politics : The

(Surachart Thienthong from Pheu Thai party won the landslide by election yesterday at Constituency 9 in Laksi – Chatuchak)

  • The main opposition party, Pheu Thai won a landslide by-election victory of the Constituency 9 in Bangkok yesterday with 29,416 votes , beating the ruling Palangpracharat party dramatically with the remained 7,906 ( dropped by 18% from 2019 election) . Move Forward party came in the second with 20,361, votes while the new party’ Kla’ came in the third with  20,047 votes respectively.
  • Pheu Thai candidate, Surachat Thenthong who won yesterday’s by-election, was elected in the constituency 9 in 2014 election and is the son of the veteran politician ‘ Sanor Tienthong ‘  who was the former Ministry of Public Health and Interior .
  • Sarakrasmi Jenjaka,Palangpracharat candidate spoke in the press conference  just hours before the ending of vote counting that she accepted the defeat since she only received thousand scores of favour, which was far from Pheu Thai that received 20k+
  • After the release of the  by-election results,  Thammanat Prompao, former Palangpracharat Secretary-General shared his remarks on his Facebook page that said ‘ I am glad that  the citizens exercised  their rights in the election. This is the democracy ‘ ( in Thai)  before ending the significant sentence  in English that read ‘  The enemy of my enemy is my friend ‘   which brought the attention to the public on his next move.

Number of voters : by – election results at Constituency 9 ( Laksi-Chatuchak)

Year of election Eligible voters Number of votes who casted the votes Percentage Voided ballot Abstained Votes
2019 election 171,250 126,650 74.54% 1.89% 1.94%
2022 by-election 1,617,161 88,124 52.68%  

Source: Voice TV

By – election results at results at Constituency 9 ( Laksi-Chatuchak)

Ranking 2022 by-election 2019 election
1 Surachat Thenthong Pheu Thai 29,416 Sira Jenjaka Phalangpracharat 34,907
2 Karunpon Thensuwan Move Forward 20,361 Surachat Thenthong Pheu Thai 32,115
3 Atavit Suwannapakdee  Kla ( new)   20,047 Kritchuda Sansern Future Forward 25,735
4 Sarakrasmi Jenjaka Phalangpracharat 7,906 Wichai Sangpraprai Democrat Party 16,255
5 Phanthep Chatnarat Thai Pakdee (new)   5,987  ( not identify)  

Source : Workpoint

Voting percentage per party

Parties 2022 By-election 2019 election Percentage differences
Pheu Thai   35% 26% +9%
Move Forward 24% 21% ( Future Forward) +3%
Kla 23% +23%
Phalangpracharat 18% 10% -18%
Thai Pakdee 7% +7

Source : Workpoint

Comments from political analysts and media on this by-election

o   WorkPoint reported that the dramatic loss of Palangpracharat as a result of the party’s internal conflict (which led the secretary-general,Thammanat Prompao to set up the new party) as well as its lack of support to promote its MP in this by-election since there was none of political rally during 45 days of by-election promotion.

o   Attukit Sawangsuk (veteran journalist and political commentator on Voice TV channel) posted on his Facebook  Here on his observations on this by-election as follows;

–        The dramatic defeat of Palangpracharat candidate in this by-election reflected the popularity decline of the ruling Palangpracharat as this will continuously affect with the stability of the party afterwards, especially with the election that expects to take place in 2023

–        Pheu Thai party won as expected. This indicated citizens’ frustration with the government .The victory of Pheu Thai this time + the adoption of the two-ballot electoral system this have boosted the confidence with the party’s MPs  in the imminent election. Further,this attracts Palangpracharat MP whose moved from Pheu Thai party to return to Pheu Thai party.

–        Move Forward party –  the scores were higher than expected. It demonstrates that the party is not easily devastated although it has recently lose the by-election in Songkla province

–        Kla party  –  it stressed that it would vote for Prayut as the PM in the next  election, which may share the vote percentage with the Democrat party.

–        Thai Pakdee party – very surprising result as it received the positive outcome than expected. This will provoke the formation of extreme right-wing party in the upcoming election.

  • BangkokPost also echoed political experts’ comments that the electoral result reflected the instability of the Prime Minister reputation, this by-election will be popularity test of the government in Bangkok which expects to be held in in mid-2022.

Economic

Akara Mine

  • An undisclosed source from the mining industry said Kingsgate had responded positively to the Thai government’s decision to let Chatree mine to reopen after it was ordered shut 5 years ago.  Earlier, at the end of 2020, the Thai government had also granted permission for Akara Resources to sell high-value gold and silver sludge from Chatree Mine, which contained 4,750 ounces of gold and was valued at AUD14 million.  The source observed that the company had also started to regain its profit.  Its revenue as of June 2021 was 307,943,542 Baht; a profit of 300 million Baht compared to the same period in 2020, which reported a loss of -70,455,130 Baht.   Source:  Prachachat Turakij
  • The TAFTA arbitral tribunal based in Singapore prepares to issue its January 31 verdict on the government’s battle with an Australia’s Kingsgate mining company. Thailand may be forced to pay over 25 billion baht in compensation if it loses.
  • On 28 January, Akara Resources Plc held a meeting with 40 local leaders to publicise its plan to restart mining at Chatree.  The company will establish a 100-million-Bat fund to compensate residents if they are affected by toxic emissions.  It would take 5 months for Akara to set up systems and equipment, after which it will recruit workers – mostly locals.  Thanks to the jobs and infrastructure development the company has brought to the area around Chatree, many locals support the gold mine.  Opposition to the mine has also declined in recent years, as most of the villagers who were seriously affected by its operations have relocated to safer places.  Sources:  ThaiPBS World Bangkok Post
  • This op-ed explores the conundrum behind the government’s ordered closure and subsequent re-opening of Chatree Mine.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • More than 20 real estate businesses in Thailand are accepting cryptocurrency as payments for their properties, paving way for them to embrace digital asset investment in the future.  They are also looking to fundraise through digital assets as an alternative to issuing debentures or getting bank loans with the goal of tapping into the younger generation of investors.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 31 January 2021
  • Ministry of Commerce revealed that it had granted a total of 570 foreigners to invest in Thailand in 2021 under the Foreign Business Act.  They brought in 82 billion Baht of investment and created 5,450 employments for Thais.  The top 5 investments are from the Japanese, American, Singaporean, Hong Kong and Chinese.  Most investments are for the new S-Curve industries related to Electric Vehicle charging station, digital platform developer as well as design and procurement service for the hi-speed rail linking the 3 provinces.  As for December 2021, some 56 foreigners received the permission to operate businesses in Thailand, with investment value of 1.9 billion Baht while employing 447 Thais. 
  • The Industry Ministry (MoI) and Energy Ministry (MoE) are disagreeing on the Electric Vehicle (EV) incentives, which is causing a delay in the package’s implementation period.  MoI wants EV manufacturers to set up an EV battery plant in Thailand as part of the condition for the incentives.  However, MoE believes the focus should be on promoting EV imports in the initial period.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • To improve Thailand’s ease of doing business, the economy and tourism, the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) is drafting a roadmap (Year 2023 – 2027) to develop an e-central portal to help foreigners such as travellers, businessmen, long-stay visitors, workers and students better access government services.  The DGA is currently organising a public hearing to draft the roadmap.  It is tasked to digitise the workings of the Thai government.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai government claimed that the restoration of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after 30 years will bring great benefits to several sectors of the economy, notably tourism, labour, energy and medical services.  Observers, however, are cautious about jumping on this bandwagon of optimism, given that the circumstances for both countries have drastically changed from 30 years ago.  Source:  ThaiPBS World  Bangkok Post
  • The business sector is concerned that political volatility, from the anti-government protests to the expulsion of 21 MPs from Palang Pracharath Party which threatens the survival of the coalition government – could affect the government’s ability to resuscitate the domestic economy from COVID-19.  Federation of Thai Industries noted that, fortunately, foreign investors are continuing to invest in Thailand despite the political instability.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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