Advance Blog

October 5, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 4 October 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
9,930 (362 from prisons); (excluding ATK 1,743)1,647,362 (last seven days: 75,436)3,071/ 7191,520,503 (+12,336)1,618,49932,987,918 (+83,168) BKK: 8,074,819 (+1,397)1,465,772 (+33,014) BKK: 346,269 (+1,892)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Active detection test rates (last seven days)
9,561 [8,954 (get tested in hospital) + 607 (active case finding)]7 (in SQ)109,748 [72,212 in field hospital]371,635 (+1,137)17,111 (+97) (last seven days: 742)55,150,481 (+281,070) BKK: 12,572,971 (+17,287)20,696,791 (+164,888) BKK: 4,151,883 (+13,998)13.94%
  • The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation said that they are ready to dispatch affordable antigen test kits in the GPO pharmacies around Bangkok. The GPO will start selling two million sets of 40 THB ATK from 18 October in a bid to help curb the pandemic.—Khao Sod
  • The PM has ordered Crime Suppression Police to tackle the arms-dealers who have connections to many sectors, including the bureaucrats in Greater Bangkok.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The police has apprehended three suspects who threw a bomb-like object at patrol police car at CBD Ratchaprasong Intersection this morning. At this stage, it is reported that the three suspects have the history of joining anarchic-prone protestors in Din Daeng Intersection.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The prospect for cabinet reshuffle is getting more prominent as media starts to speculate the new cabinet list:
Outlets/ FiguresGeneral PrawitGeneral AnupongSuphachai (former UNCTAD chief)Chatchai (former Interior perm-sec)Nutthapol (former NSC chief)SuphattanapongDon
Daily News and ManagerDeputy PMDeputy PM and Interior MinisterDeputy PM (economic tzar) and Energy MinisterA deputy minister in any ministryPM advisorOut of cabinetOut of cabinet
Inside ThailandDeputy PM (1st) and Interior MinisterDeputy PM (7th)*on condition that Prin (son of Supachai), the economic head of Democrat joins PPRPWaiting listWaiting listDeputy PM (6th) and Energy MinisterDeputy PM (5th) and Foreign minister
  • Despite many media speculation on reshuffle after the PM stripped two ministers out of the cabinet, the PM said that ‘there might not be a reshuffle’.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Deputy PM and PPRP leader General Prawit said there will not be any reshuffle. The government is working hard to help dealing with the country dominant problems first.—Khao Sod
  • Even though, main figures in the government stressed that there will not be a cabinet reshuffle, there are various developments signifying that the House Dissolution is approaching:
    • The Election Commission has submitted its letters to all political parties informing them to get ready for the next election, but the Election Commissioner dismissed the letters are signs for the House Dissolution.–Matichon  
    • Main figures in the ruling Democrat Party are throwing their support behind their party leader Jurin as the party PM candidate in the upcoming election. The party vows to get at least 100 MPs in the upcoming election and become a main party in forming the next government.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The secretary-general of the PPRP did a site-visit for primary vote of PPRP MP candidate in Samut Sakhon. The PPRP sec-gen said that the party is organising primary votes in 400 districts.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Coalition Chatthai Pattana Party said that the party will hold its party’s executives meeting on 12 October to discuss on issues related to the election. The party director said however, that he does not think the election will be occurring this year as the government must finish the local election within this year first. The veteran MP expects the election to be occurred on the first half of 2022.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Matichon wrote a special report on the tree future tracks of the 3Ps troika (PM Prayut, Deputy PM Prawit and Interior Minister Anupong ‘Pok’):
    • Matichon views that PM Prayut has been eyeing to have the deputy Lord Chamberlain and former Army Chief Apirat as his political successor, but according to the current Constitution General Apirat who concurrently served as the Senator is barred from taking any political position within two years after his Senate term. By this track, the PM must hold the coalition together until the former Army chief can take the position in October 2022.
    • The second track is to have PM aide Pirapan Salirathavibhaga and the new PPRP chief strategist to join the PPRP PM candidate with PM Prayut in the upcoming election to balance out the party popularity. This combination will be good for the PM and the PPRP secretary-general who is reportedly highly respect and love the chief strategist.
    • The third track is a reconciliation track attracting MPs from the main opposition Pheu Thai Party to join the coalition or PPRP as the sole way to steer the Kingdom out of protracted conflict. This deal will effectively keep the more progressive and less royalist wing in Pheu Thai and Move Forward Party at bay in the new coalition.—Matichon Weekly
  • Nida Poll released its latest Bangkok Governor Poll and the result showed that the Independent and former Transport Minister Chatchart remains the top of the league.
CandidatesOct 2021Sep 2021July 2021
Chadchart Sittipunt29.7427.7126.16
Cannot decide27.9224.627.98
Chakthip (Former Police Chief)13.6615.4914.6
Asawin (incumbent governor)9.339.579.58
Rossana (former Senator)4.14.13.04
Suchatchavee (University rector-Democrat)3.261.671.37
Any candidate from Move Forward2.735.243.58
Any candidate from Pheu Thai Party2.23.274.87
Any candidate from Democrat Party1.972.21.6
Sakolti (Deputy Governor)1.290.761.29
Vote No1.141.371.29

Economic:

CPTPP

  • FTA Watch’s Vice Chairman, Kannikar Kittiwejakul, pointed out that China’s accession to CPTPP will not benefit Thailand much more than the existing FTA between China and Thailand.  FTA Watch continues to object to Thailand joining CPTPP and has criticised the government for trying to downplay the severity of the sensitive issues regarding Thailand’s accession.  It has also lashed out on the government’s inactivity since June in addressing the various concerns of Thailand’s accession, particularly on the provisions that Thailand has no prior exposure to.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) forecasts that the Thai economy will grow by 6-8 percent in 2022, which will offset the GDP contraction in 2020.  To this end, it urges the Thai government to decide whether or not to participate in CPTPP negotiation by October at the latest.  This is because China, Taiwan and the UK have also expressed interests to accede, for which Thailand must be swift in joining CPTPP to avoid having to negotiate with more members.  JSCCIB added that Thailand must lure more investments into new industries by revamping the investment incentives offered by BOI and EEC, in combination with signing new FTAs such as CPTPP and Thai-EU.  The JSCCIB is also working on establishing the ‘Thailand Plus’ team, which will coordinate with the Thai government and private sector to expand Thai businesses into China and the US from 2022 onard.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij

Tourism

  • Tourism and Sports Ministry (MoST) plans to start collecting a 500 Baht tourism fee for ‘tourism transformation fund’ in 2022.  MoST aims to collect 5 billion Baht within 2022 based on the forecast that Thailand welcomes 10 million foreign arrivals.  Of the 500 Baht fee collected, some 200 Baht will go to projects initiated by the private sector, community enterprises or social enterprises that will restructure the country through BCG economic model or from mass tourism to high-value or environmentally-friendly tourism.  The project might be funded by a co-payment scheme with contributions by both the government and private sector.  The remaining 300 Baht is budget for insurance and development projects for foreign visitors.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Khao Sod
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to increase inbound visitors from Asian markets during the high season via travel bubble schemes with South Korea and India, for which it is negotiating.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The new 2-tier excise tax structure for cigarettes is likely to push up the retail price of low-priced cigarettes by 6 Baht per pack.  This means the retail price of low-cost cigarettes is expected to rise to a range of 66-72 Baht per pack from the current 60 Baht.  Currently a 20 percent tax applies to cigarettes priced at 60 Baht per pack of 20.  The new structure applies 25 percent tax on cigarette packs with retail price of 72 Baht and 42 percent for packs priced higher than 72 Baht.  Packs are also subject to an additional tax of 1.25 Baht per cigarette, regardless of the retail price.  Overall, 1 pack is subject to 25 Baht of tax.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Thai PBS
  • World bank has slashed Thailand’s GDP projection for 2021 to 1 percent from 2.2 percent due to the impacts of the pandemic.  However, Thailand’s GDP may rebound to a growth of 3.6 percent in 2023, given its mass vaccination rollout and improvements in the pandemic situation.  Moreover, COVID-19 has hiked up the number of people living under the poverty line by 170,000 in 2021 compared to 2020.  World Bank forecasted that Thailand will welcome only 160,000 foreign tourists in 2021 and 1.6 million tourists in 2022, during which time export will remain Thailand’s driving engine.  Source: Thai PBS
  • Leading telecom operators said a comprehensive 5G ecosystem has the potential to unlock digital power for business operations, new lifestyles, healthcare and agriculture in the years to come as well as raise the country’s competitiveness.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) forecasted that the current flooding could incur a damage of 10 – 20 billion Baht, which will chip away Thailand’s GDP growth by 0.1-0.2 percent.  The inundation this year is not expected to be as severe as back in 2011, with the floodwater anticipated to affect farming areas and houses where economic loss is small.  Nevertheless, UTCC asked that the government provide compensations to those affected by the flood and resort to boosting state revenue collection through tourism.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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