Advance Blog

January 10, 2023
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 9 January 2023

KEY ISSUES AT A GLANCE

  • Pheu Thai hit by sex scandal, claims of naked photos of former deputy PM. Any member of Pheu Thai will be expelled from the party if he is proven to be the former deputy premier alleged to have had a sexual affair with a married woman, the opposition party’s deputy leader, Yutthapong Jarassathian, told a press conference on Sunday. The press conference followed a bombshell claim on Saturday that a former deputy premier had had a sexual relationship with a married woman. The woman’s husband allegedly found naked photos of her with a former Pheu Thai deputy premier but faced intimidation after attempting to divorce her. Source: The Nation, Thai PBS World
  • ‘China’ could dump export prices to boost competitiveness. Businesses point out that the global economic recession is weighing down on 3 of Thailand’s major export markets namely China, US and Europe. This is reflected in Thailand’s export figures, which have been contracting since October. The National Shippers Council suggested Thailand diversifies its exports to emerging markets such as the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Qatar), South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Nepal) and CLMV markets (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam). Economists reiterated Thailand must expand its trade by concluding more FTAs, while forecasting that Thailand’s export will continue contract in Q1 2023 but annually will see an expansion of around 1.3 percent. Diversification is also an effective strategy as China may be looking to dump the prices of their exports to compete with other countries to offset its economic slowdown. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition

AUSTRALIA IN THE NEWS

  • Ambassador is also a BLINK. Australian ambassador sent a tweet welcoming Rose and her fellow members of BLACKPINK to Thailand on Friday. She wrote “Who’s ready and thrilled to see the #BLACKPINK concert?🖤💗 Welcome Rosé and her fellow bandmates. Wish you all a wonderful tour in #Bangkok this weekend. #BLINKS” BLACKPINK concert took place at the National Stadium over the weekend with more than 40,000 BLINKs (as Blackpink fans are known) showing up on the first show on Saturday. Source: Ch3Plus

GENERAL

  • Princess Bajrakitiyabha under close observation as doctors log irregular heartbeat. Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha is suffering from an irregular heartbeat caused by mycoplasma infection, the Royal Household Bureau said in a statement on Sunday. Doctors said that though the Princess has not gained consciousness yet, she is being medicated and provided support with machines. The statement said a team of doctors is at hand to closely monitor the Princess’s condition. Source: The Nation
  • Blaze fanned by strong wind burns down 7 speed boats in Trat island. Flames fanned by strong sea winds destroyed seven speed boats docked at a bay on Koh Mak in Trat on Saturday night. Officials from Tambon Koh Mak Administrative Organisation and local villagers tried to put out the fire, but failed as flames engulfed the boats before they capsized. Officials said no witnesses had seen which boat the fire had been sparked in, but the blaze spread quickly to the six others docked side by side at Thong Lang Bay. Damages have been estimated at 20 million baht. Source: The Nation, Thairath

POLITICS

  • Move Forward aims to turn Bangkok orange. The opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) is confident it can turn the electoral map of Bangkok orange, the party’s colour, by winning the most seats in the capital in the coming general election. Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat made the prediction on Saturday as he visited Bang Kapi constituency. They handed out leaflets introducing the party’s policies and its prospective candidate for Bang Kapi constituency, former TV actress Sirilapas “Mew” Kongtrakarn. Mr Pita said Ms Sirilapas had been recognised for her role as a TV actress and for speaking up on behalf of the public. She has been an outspoken critic of shortcomings of the government’s Covid-19 policies during the past two years. Source: Bangkok Post, Daily News
  • Police moves to plug confidential info leaks to whistleblower Chuwit. The Metropolitan Police Bureau is investigating a senior police officer who is believed to have leaked information on the Jinling nightclub case to ex-massage parlour tycoon and politician Chuwit Kamolvisit. The information leaked is related to a police raid on the nightclub in Bangkok’s Yannawa district in October 2022. In the raid, 104 revellers, 99 of whom were Chinese, tested positive for drugs. Police also seized recreational narcotics and some 30 luxury vehicles in the raid. Source: The Nation, Thairath
  • Pheu Thai hit by sex scandal, claims of naked photos of former deputy PM. Any member of Pheu Thai will be expelled from the party if he is proven to be the former deputy premier alleged to have had a sexual affair with a married woman, the opposition party’s deputy leader, Yutthapong Jarassathian, told a press conference on Sunday. The press conference followed a bombshell claim on Saturday that a former deputy premier had had a sexual relationship with a married woman. The woman’s husband allegedly found naked photos of her with a former Pheu Thai deputy premier but faced intimidation after attempting to divorce her. Source: The Nation, Thai PBS World

ECONOMICS

  • ‘Tourism’ sector rushes to redesign supply chain to draw 20 million tourists and resuscitate Thai economy. The Tourism Industry Association of Thailand said the biggest challenge to the tourism sector in 2023 is to re-design the supply side, such as the frequency of international flights, workforce and finding new selling points from MICE to retiree groups since up to 20-30 million tourists could return this year, which is 75 percent of pre-pandemic number. The redesigning is to ensure equal distribution of wealth to the grassroot and as such, the Association asked Prime Minister Prayut to prioritise tourism as a national agenda and to convene a hackathon brainstorming session with the private sector. Source: Krungthep Turakij
  • Big property developers continue to launch new projects to accommodate Chinese comeback. The return of Chinese tourists is the hope of Thai condominium market as they are expected to increase condominium sales by 40 percent. Large Thai property developers have announced plans to pursue their major projects, while demands from Thai buyers will remain bogged down by high household debt. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition
  • Thai-Sri Lanka FTA talks to resume after 4 years. Thailand will launch the second FTA negotiation round with Sri Lanka today, according to the Ministry of Commerce.  This round of negotiation was postponed from 2018 due to COVID-19 outbreak and the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s government. Ministry of Commerce expects the negotiations to wrap up in 1-2 years. Source: Bangkok Post
  • Shaking up the EV market. China is expected to become a key player in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry after many Chinese firms stepped up effort to build their brand awareness and introduce Thai buyers to Chinese electric mobility technology. Chinese automakers such as Great Wall Motor, MG and BYD have announced plans to invest in Thailand and join the Thai government in making Thailand a regional hub for EV sales and export. GMW, MG, BYD and DFSK plan to assemble cars and batteries in Thailand for domestic and overseas sales, while selling their EVs in Thailand at lower prices than foreign competitors. Source: Bangkok Post
  • ‘China’ could dump export prices to boost competitiveness. Businesses point out that the global economic recession is weighing down on 3 of Thailand’s major export markets namely China, US and Europe. This is reflected in Thailand’s export figures, which have been contracting since October. The National Shippers Council suggested Thailand diversifies its exports to emerging markets such as the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Qatar), South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Nepal) and CLMV markets (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam). Economists reiterated Thailand must expand its trade by concluding more FTAs, while forecasting that Thailand’s export will continue contract in Q1 2023 but annually will see an expansion of around 1.3 percent. Diversification is also an effective strategy as China may be looking to dump the prices of their exports to compete with other countries to offset its economic slowdown. Source: Krungthep Turakij Print Edition
  • Matichon

For further information please see the embassy’s Facebook Page ‘Australian Embassy, Thailand’ or the Ambassador’s Twitter Page https://twitter.com/AusAmbBKK

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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