Advance Blog

July 31, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 31 July 2020

News

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today, Thailand reports six newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,310 cases. Out of the total number, 3,125 have been discharged from hospital; 127 are being hospitalised (at 94.41%). The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are Thai national returned from Egypt (5) and the Netherlands (1), and have been in state quarantine since. This is the 67th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
  • Following the accident death of the first witness who told the police last year that he saw Mr Vorayuth drove at 50-60 km/hr; not 170-180 km/hr as earlier indicated, House Committee on Police affairs told a press briefing on Thursday the panel had questioned officers who handled the case why they did not press charges related to illicit drug use against Mr Vorayuth. The officers told the committee because a dentist confirmed he had administered medicines which had cocaine as a component for dental treatment. That’s the reason why the police did not press charges related to illicit drugs.—all media outlet

Politics

  • Media reports that the PM has already submitted the new cabinet list to HM the King–Prachachart, Thai Rath; however, just this noon the PM has not submitted the name; still in vetting process.—The Reporters
    • Mr Preedee Daochai as Deputy PM and Finance Minister
    • Mr Anucha Nakasai as PMO Minister
    • Professor Anek Laothamatas as Higher Education Minister
    • Mr Supattanapong Pongmeechao as Energy Minister
    • Mr Suchart Chomklin as Labour Minister
  • Yesterday, pro-government took the street of Bangkok requesting student protests to stop using anti-monarchical messages. The organiser claimed to be a representative of vocational students. iLaw, a local NGOs on rule of law estimated that there were 50-60 participants.—all media outlet
  • Yesterday, the PM chaired a meeting at the Royal Police Headquarters with an agenda on the set-up of Police Special Operation Command, formerly 904 King’s Own Bodyguard Police Regiment with number of responsibilities, including intelligence operation against people who pose threat against the monarchy.—BBC Thai
  • A special report in Matichon Weekly reported that after his retirement in October, Army Chief Apirat will not be part of the cabinet, since under the current constitution, the Army Chief as Senator by position will need to be exempted from politics for two years. Army Chief will work more in the Crown Property Bureau (currently Lord Chamberlain is the chairperson of the Bereau).
  • The Supreme Court yesterday (July 30) handed down a 5-year jail sentence to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for illegally holding shares in the state’s phone concessionaires and conflict of interest and issued a warrant for his arrest.—all media outlet
  • The Digital Economy Minister came out to condemn Facebook as the English-to-Thai auto-translation in a King’s Birthday ceremony post by ThaiPBS caused royalist public outrage. The Minister said Facebook needs to be held responsible for this potentially lese majeste auto-translated caption.–Manager, Bangkok Post

Business:

Tourism

  • Inbound tourist operator demand for clarity on the travel bubble arrangement, which Tourism Ministry said will be implemented in October, as they need 2 months to prepare marketing campaigns in advance.  Without the arrival of tourists, some 80 percent of inbound tourist operators may have to exit the market.  Tourism operators in Phuket also urges the government to allow international direct flights to the province to resume to fulfil foreigners’ demands for alternative state quarantine.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Tourism Ministry reported that during the long weekend from 25-28 July, almost 2 million Thais travelled domestically and spent some 6.8 billion Baht.  Finance Ministry added that as of 29 July, 4.65 million Thais registered online to participate in the We Tour Together scheme.  Hotel bookings as of 30 July reached 307.041 rooms, with 4.7 million remaining rooms available.  Altogether 6,607 hotels, 58,247 restaurants and 1,560 tourist attractions have joined the We Tour Together project.  Source:  Thai PBS World  Thansettakij
  • The first public hearing on a sport yacht marina project, identified as one of the 6 new economic drivers of the province, was held on Thursday.  If approved, the marina expects to have a soft launch at the end of this year.  In addition to marina, other economic drivers are education; health and wellness; tuna exports; seafood and gastronomy; sports and events businesses.    Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations will work with the public and private sectors to promote Thai agricultural products in the RCEP markets as the free trade agreement since scheduled to be signed this November.  DTN will also educate farmers and those in its value chain on how to maximise the benefits from RCEP privileges.  Source:  Thailand Plus TV
  • Ministry of Finance forecasts that the Thai economy will contract by 8.5 percent this year, with export plunging by 11 percent and foreign arrivals totalling 6.8 million.  Recovery will begin in Q3, after the economy has bottomed out in Q2 with over 10-percent GDP contraction.  The annual GDP contraction forecast surpasses the 7.8 percent decline in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.  However, this time the government has more room to manoeuvre fiscal policy, with public debt and inflation data in better shape than in 1997.  Source:   Bangkok Post
  • Security Houses expect net profit in the retail sector to see a 50 percent decrease YoY as a result of the nationwide lockdown in Q2.  Despite being less affected, CP All suffered significantly from the lockdown, even with a large network of 7-Eleven branches and efficient operations.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • The American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand unveiled the white paper entitled ‘Better than Before – Creating Long Term Growth in Thailand Post-Covid-19’.  Among the recommendations is for the Thai government to build up its digital infrastructure to prepare for the acceleration in digital transformation, the prioritization of the Regulatory Guillotine Project and the strengthening of Thailand’s position as Asia’s medical hub by building an ecosystem of value-based healthcare and market environment.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Nok Air has filed a business rehabilitation request with the Central Bankruptcy Court, but insists it has no plans to downsize workforce or operations.  The move is to solve the airline’s liquidity problem, but it will not go bankrupt.  Source:  Bangkok Post

ASEAN/World

  • Media is giving its attention to Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth, a Thai-born Democrat Senator who is being on the short list for Joe Biden’s running mate in November’s presidential election to floated as a potential U.S. secretary of Defence.—Nikkei Asian Review
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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