Advance Blog

June 4, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 4 June 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports 17 newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,101 cases. Out of the total number, 2,968 have been discharged from hospital, 58 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58.  Of all newly confirmed cases, 13 cases returned from Kuwait, 2 returned from Qatar, 2 returned from Saudi Arabia. It is the 10th straight day that there is no report of the local transmission.
  • On the occasion of Queen’s birthday, their Majesties the King and Queen offer the newly established police SWAT unit with an emblem. The unit was established in November 2019, when the police commando unit was transferred to be part of the King’s Guard.—all media outlet

Politics

  • Yesterday, Justice Minister Somsak made a news conference about the resignation of main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) 18 executives that the internal party restructure aims to institutionalise the party. And he said that, despite earlier understanding, Deputy PM Somkid is not part of the Sam Mitr (3 great friends) group (consisting of DPM Somkid, Justice Minister Somsak and Industrial Minister Suriya). Somsak supported DPM Prawit as the PPRP leader.
  • It is expected that the PPRP restructuring would certainly affect the Energy and Higher Education portfolios under DPM Somkid quotas. Report also point out that the next cabinet reshuffle would jeopardise DPM Somkid, Finance Minister Uttama and Deputy Agriculture Thammanat positions. Rumour said it that Pailin Chuchottaworn would replace Uttama as Finance Minister, Boontak Wangcharoen to replace DPM Somkid. While, Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput would be seated as the Bank of Thailand Governor.—Inside Thailand
  • With the leadership tug-of-war in the PPRP keeps on persisting, rumours about the new leadership reaching out to the main opposition Pheu Thai Party to establish a “national unity government” has returned in media:
    • Pheu Thai Party leader posted on his FB Page denying rumours that the party could join the ruling PPRP. He said that Pheu Thai Party only adheres to democratic principles. The party stands on righteous path and will not betray the people. He said Pheu Thai refused to rise to power through undemocratic means. He insisted that as long as he is the party leader, joining PPRP is not feasible. —all media outlet
    • Paisal Puechmongkol, an adviser to Deputy PM Prawit, hinted on his FB Page the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle to include main opposition Pheu Thai Party chief strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan (at the Ministry of Public Health) and Pirapan Salirathavibhaga (as the Justice Minister) in the new line-up.—Khao Sod, Manager
  • The Senate came under fire for its nomination of Suchart Trakulkasemsuk, president of the Minburi Civil Court and former National Legislative Assembly during junta in 2014, as a new National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) member. Organic Act on Counter Corruption BE 2561 which requires a member or former member of the House of Representatives or the Senate, a political office holder or an executive of a local administrative body to take a 10-year gap before running for public office. The main question is whether a member of National Legislative Assembly is considered

Business:

Cabinet’s decisions, 2 June 2020

  • A royal decree was approved to cut the tax on land and building by 90 percent of the amount due for the 2020 tax year.  The new 2020 land and building tax law was originally scheduled to be enforced in August.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1928348/90-cut-on-land-building-taxes
  • Approved of BBS Consortium’s bid to build the 290-billion Baht Eastern Airport City Project at U-Tapao airport, expected to be completed by 2023.  The BBS consortium, comprising Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction, Bangkok Airways and BTS Group Holdings offered the best return to the state, at 305 billion Baht from land lease and revenue-sharing agreement through a 50-year contract.  Narita International Airport Corporation will be hired to run the airport.  The contract signing between BBS Consortium and the Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Committee is tentatively set on June 19.
  • Also approved is the navy’s bid to seek 390 million Baht to develop an aeronautical meteorology project from 2021 – 2023 to complement the Eastern Airport City project.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1928440/bbs-lands-b290bn-u-tapao-airport-bid  https://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/883324

Tourism

  • Tourism Authority of Thailand is drafting projects to boost post-Covid19 tourism from July-October, aiming for domestic travellers to reach at least 7 million.  TAT is drafting projects to seek budget allocation from the 1 trillion Baht budget.  Source:  https://www.nationtv.tv/main/content378779151
  • Tourism and Sports Ministry together with Finance Ministry will launch ‘Tiew Pun Suk’ (Trips to Share Happiness) domestic tourism promotion from July to October.  Cash vouchers worth 2,000-3,000 Baht available to 4 million people and free trips to 1.2 million medical personnel.  The travellers will have to register through an app, to be developed by Krungthai Bank, to buy the hotel vouchers first.  The government would then give cash rebate to spenders via an electronic wallet, after which tourists could use the rebate to spend on rooms, restaurants, spas or souvenirs.  Medical personnel are encouraged to take three-day trips using local tourism operators.  With a budget currently set at 8-12 billion Baht, both ministries will submit the project to the cabinet later in June.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1928416/big-push-for-local-tourism
  • Hotel occupancy in Hua Hin was 40 percent in May, with the rate reaching 100 percent from 30-31 May and is expecting to remain busy through to the end of June.  The seaside town lifted its travel restrictions on 18 May and saw a surge in local travellers, with many adopting Hua Hin resorts as a remote working destination.  Inter-provincial group tours will see slower recovery.  Tour buses and airfare expect to see a 30-percent increase in their cost due to physical distancing rules.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929132/restive-locals-turn-to-hua-hin
  • The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is proposing for Thailand to become a work-from-home destination for foreign executives, in addition to the rolling out of local over-the-top (OTT) platforms embedded with 5G technology for daily usage.  Both initiatives will be proposed to the 26-member National 5G Committee chaired by PM Prayut.  Incentives could include offering Thai nationality to skilled tech workers who can generate revenue for the country during a certain period of time, such as five years.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929072/nbtc-pushes-work-from-home-hub-as-lure-for-foreigners

CPTPP

  • Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) in consultation with trade associations and industry groups show support for Thailand to join the CPTPP, enthusing that it would boost Thailand’s overall economy, investment and international trade.  They also urge the government to negotiate for the country’s best benefits, particularly in the areas of UPOV regulations, Thai plant development and genetically modified organism controls.
  • TNSC stands firm on its forecast that Thailand’s export will decline by 8 percent his year, given that the rise in Q1 export figures is driven largely by gold, oil and weaponry.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1928504/negative-factors-still-clouding-export-outlook-shippers-say

Others

  • Indonesia’s Lion Air is suspending its domestic and international flights indefinitely due to the impact of the travel restrictions resulting from the pandemic.  Lion Air’s fleets will be grounded from 5 June onward, including flights to ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1928792/lion-air-to-stay-grounded-indefinitely-due-to-travel-curbs
  • Kasikorn Research Centre projects that Thailand’s GDP will contract by 6 percent in 2020 and will take a few years to return to pre-pandemic level, including key industries such as tourism, automotive and property developments.  Unemployment that will peak the second half of the year is the greatest concern as people will find it hard to find employments again.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1928500/k-research-glum-on-recovery-outlook
  • Thai Summit PK, the OEM auto parts manufacturer belonging to Thanathorn Jeunreungrungkit’s family, has launched a voluntary redundancy package from 26 May – 16 June.  The company is seeing less demand from carmakers abroad since the pandemic outbreak and has previously temporarily suspended employees, paying them 75 percent of their salaries throughout the suspension period.  Source:  https://www.thansettakij.com/content/436796
  • The pandemic has exacerbated an already uncertain residential and office property market in Bangkok, disclosed Savills Thailand.  The new volume of office supply in CBD area is expected to reach 150 percent on top of the current supply level, leading to falling rents as demands drop and work-from-home arrangements remain in place.  On the residential side, the market will feel the effects of the crisis much sooner, as developers struggle to sell off existing supply of condominiums as overseas buyers dwindle.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929064/pandemic-leads-to-falling-rents-glut

Australia

  • Thai media reports Australian economy is in minus for the first time in 29 years. The Finance Ministry announced the Q1 GDP growth which is at -0.3 percent.—Thai News Agency
  • The police violence has sparked protests worldwide, including in Australia. Protestors in Australia demanded justice for impartial treatment against Indigenous Australians.—Bangkok Insight
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
Share:
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Representing the Chamber on Your Website

Proud Member of

preview logo

Adding AustCham Logo to Your Website​

Proudly present yourselves as a part of Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce by adding AustCham logo to your website.

MEMBER LOG IN