Archive for the ‘Thai PM’ Category

Thai Pm Wants To Reopen Country More In November

October 12, 2021

Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday he will push for the opening of the country to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from at least 10 countries by November 1.
General Prayut said in a national broadcast that fully vaccinated tourists from at least 10 low-risk countries would be allowed to enter Thailand by air without quarantine.
The United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China, and the United States are among the first countries to benefit from the move.
The CCSA and the Ministry of Public Health have been instructed to urgently consider allowing international visitors to enter Thailand without quarantine from Nov 1 if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries,” he said.
The president promised to open the gates to more countries by Dec. 1, and to target others by Jan. 1.
Tourists from countries not on the low-risk list would be admitted, but they would have to quarantine, he said.
Singapore and Australia also loosened the restrictions for citizens to travel overseas after the announcement.
With the decision to open the country next month, Gen Prayut hopes to attract foreign tourists to Thailand over the next three months, including the upcoming year-end holidays
They would revitalize the sector and related businesses that employed millions in the country, he said.
The government had earlier planned to open only Bangkok and several provinces for foreign tourists on Nov 1. The other provinces are Chon Buri (Pattaya City, Bang Lamung district, and Sattahip district), Phetchaburi (Cha-am district), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district), and Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim, and Doi Tao districts).
Monday’s announcement indicated that the reopening would cover all parts of the country
The announcement came after the country saw the number of fatalities drop below 100 in recent days, with new cases hovering around 10,000.
Although the situation was improving in most parts of Thailand, a surge of new infections continued in Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala. The southern border provinces were in the spotlight of health authorities who were mulling additional measures to clamp down on the spike in the areas.
Tourism was the main economic engine of the country before the pandemic hit last year. The industry contributed about 20% of GDP if both local and foreign visitors are included. Foreign tourists alone accounted for 15% of GDP, as the country welcomed almost 40 million visitors from abroad, especially Chinese.
Bank of Thailand estimates only 200,000 foreign arrivals this year, rising to 6 million next year.

Poll Says Thai PM Should Resign By August

October 11, 2021

With the upcoming election, a new poll from the National Institute of Development Administration found that 40% of people feel PM Prayut Chan-o-cha should announce he is quitting as prime minister by next August. The NIDA poll asked political opinions from 1,311 people of various occupations and educations levels nationwide by phone on October 5 to 8.
The poll addressed the controversy over whether PM Prayut can be reelected as the Constitution says no one can serve as prime minister for more than 8 years, and Prayut has been in command of Thailand since the 2014 coup. But as the Constitution was established in 2017 so some argue that PM Prayut only officially took the office in 2019 election and is, therefore, eligible for one more term.
With the upcoming election, a new poll from the National Institute of Development Administration found that 40% of people feel PM Prayut Chan-o-cha should announce he is quitting as prime minister by next August. The NIDA poll asked political opinions from 1,311 people of various occupations and educations levels nationwide by phone on October 5 to 8.
The poll addressed the controversy over whether PM Prayut can be reelected as the Constitution says no one can serve as prime minister for more than 8 years, and Prayut has been in command of Thailand since the 2014 coup. But as the Constitution was established in 2017 so some argue that PM Prayut only officially took the office in 2019 election and is, therefore, eligible for one more term.
The NIDA poll found nearly 41% of people believe that PM Prayut should commit to stepping down by August 2022 while 38% believe the Constitutional Court needs to rule on the issue as quickly as possible. Only 15% believe nothing needs to be done and nearly 6% had no opinion.
The poll also found that only 22% believed that the House of Representatives does not need to be dissolved, while other respondents debated when the dissolution should take place. 40% believe the House should be dissolved immediately, while 30% said the election law should be revised in line with the Constitution before the House dissolves. Nearly 6% believe PM Prayut should just be sure to dissolve the House before he faces another vote of no-confidence next year. Just under 2% had no opinion.
50% of those responding to the NIDA poll felt that the Cabinet was in need of a major reshuffling while 24% believed only a minor shuffle was necessary to fill the 2 empty cabinet positions formed by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamanat Prompow and Deputy Minister of Labour Narumon Pinyosinwat being ousted one month ago. Of that 24%, half felt their replacements should be outsiders while the other half think members of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party should step into the positions. 6% had no comment.

Thai Restaurant Operator Has Sued Thai PM For Ineffective COVID-19 Policy

September 28, 2021

Restaurant operators have sued Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for 50 million baht in damages resulting from ineffective measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the court said Never-Ending Summer Co represented 39 restaurant businesses in a class-action lawsuit. As a result of examining the petition and request, the court has set Nov 9 for a hearing via Zoom.
In the petition, Never-Ending Summer said its business suffered from the government’s decision to temporarily close restaurants during the fight against the virus because the emergency decree failed to control the situation.
“According to the petition, it is claimed that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a nationwide emergency under the Covid-19 pandemic and had acted willfully or negligently, resulting in several disease clusters,” the court said.
According to the report, vaccination campaigns, antigen test kits, and drugs to alleviate Coronavirus were conducted in an inadequate manner.
The filing also names the Public Health Ministry, Interior Ministry, and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
The group’s compensation was calculated from March 17 last year. It coincided with the early stages of the first outbreak of the disease that has crippled the economy.
The Never-Ending Summer restaurant is located in the compound of Jam Factory in Bangkok’s Klong San district.

Thailand Breaks New COVID-19 Vaccine Record

September 26, 2021

Recently, more than one million Covid-19 vaccines were administered in Thailand in one day. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked the public and everyone involved for making yesterday Thailand’s most successful vaccination day. He expressed confidence that Thailand will reach its vaccination goals by the end of 2021.
In celebration of Mahidol Day, a national holiday honoring the death of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, who is widely regarded as the father of modern medicine and public health, a massive campaign of 1 million vaccines was launched. As an expression of appreciation to the monarchy, government officials chose this day.
On top of the first and second vaccines, the government started a booster shot program yesterday, giving the third vaccine to those who had already received two Sinovacs. Booster shots were previously mainly administered to medical professionals and frontline workers. In Bang Sue Grand Station, a campaign was launched yesterday to give booster shots to 15,000 people per day over the weekend and 10,000 per day for several weeks to follow.
Over 50 million vaccines have been administered in Thailand so far, according to the latest figures from the Department of Disease Control, a total of 47.6 million injections have been given. In those figures, just under 30 million first doses had been administered, 16.7 million second doses had been administered, and 988,000 third doses had been administered. Booster shot data has been inconsistent, with September 18 figures listing just under 916,000 third vaccines given, but September 19 data mysteriously dropping 162,000 to 754,000.
However, PM Prayut announced through a government spokesman that Thailand will reach a 70% vaccination rate for the target population by the end of 2021. There will be a total of 100 million doses administered to 50 million people, but this does not include third vaccinations administered as boosters.

Thai PM Tries To Predict The Future In Speach At Annual China-ASEAN Expo

September 11, 2021

Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke by video conference to kick off the 18th annual China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, China, from September 10 to September 13. Prime Minister Prayut praised the Chinese government and pledged to focus the ASEAN-China relationship on public health, economic recovery, and sustainability.
During his speech, the Thai prime minister expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for providing the China-ASEAN Expo every year with the opportunity to unite all countries and sectors to achieve goals together.
After that, he discussed the future of the region, a 10-year plan for comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN and China. Prayut spoke about focusing efforts on long-term economic recovery and growth, public health security, and sustainability.
In order to address public health security, PM Prayut suggested finding the safest ways to learn to live with Covid-19.that, vaccines were at the forefront of his strategy, suggesting building the infrastructure to manufacture and distribute vaccines throughout Asia and Southeast Asia, as well as developing new and more effective vaccines and antiviral treatments.
For economic recovery, PM Prayut calls for ratifying the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as well as enhancing the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement as part of his 10-year plan. It also provides access to technology and capital for startups and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in the future.
Thailand was designated as the coordinator for sustainable development in ASEAN and PM Prayut committed ASEAN to make 2021 and 2022 the years of sustainable cooperation and development. Sustainability must be at the forefront of the economy, the pandemic, and all aspects of growth. Taking a Bio-Circular-Green approach will be key to eliminating poverty and hunger in the next decade.

Thai PM Is Very Happy To Survive Censure

September 6, 2021

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was in high spirits despite receiving the second-fewest votes of confidence and the most no-confidence votes among six targets.
Despite rumours that some key figures in the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) plotted to unseat Gen Prayut, he and five of his cabinet ministers won a vote of confidence from the House with no surprises.
The premier scored 264 votes of confidence against 208 votes of no confidence, with three abstentions – the second-fewest vote of confidence after Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin of the PPRP, who scored 263-201 with 10 abstentions.
Additionally, he received the most no-confidence votes of all six on the list with 208.
Following the vote, Gen Prayut said he was satisfied with the outcome and would continue working. Additionally, he thanked the MPs for their support.
“My heart is big like my fist,” he said as he pounded his chest twice with a fist.
“My morale is high as well.”
Asked if he would spend more time with PPRP MPs and coalition partners, Gen Prayut said everyone was welcome to discuss public issues with him.
A number of renegade government MPs and some PPRP heavyweights attempted to topple him during the four-day censure debate.
On the eve of the election, General Prayut was said to have fended off the threat.
In addition, the prime minister dismissed MPs’ observations about the number of votes he received, saying he didn’t pay attention to details.
He replied, “Did I survive [the censure motion]? If I did, it’s done.”. During past censure debates, Gen Prayut won the most confidence votes with 274 both in February last year and this year.
Coalition MPs who cast a vote of no confidence for the prime minister were Democrat MP for Pattani Anwar Salae, Forest Conservation Party leader Damrong Pidech, Thai Rak Tham Party MP Peerawit Ruangluedolapak, New Democracy Party (NDP) leader, and list-MP Suratin Picharn, and New Economic Party list-MP Niyom Wiwatthanaditkul.
Democrat list-MP Panich Vikitsreth broke ranks and abstained from voting.
Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on of the Democrat Party won the most votes of confidence with 270-199 with eight abstentions while Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the new digital economy and society minister from the PPRP, received 267-202 with nine abstentions.
Anutin Charnvirakul, deputy prime minister and minister of public health, received 269 votes to 196 with 11 abstentions. Saksayam Chidchob received 269-195 votes with 10 abstentions. Both were members of the Bhumjaithai Party. Nutin thanked the MPs for their support but declined to discuss a possible cabinet reshuffle. A cabinet shake-up is the prime minister’s responsibility, he said.
Chalermchai said the result showed unity in the coalition government and for the government as a whole.
Two Democratic MPs who defied the party line were told to submit an explanation.
Seven Pheu Thai MPs abstained from voting, breaking ranks with their party.
Additionally, six renegade MPs voted against the party stance, with Kharom Polpornklang casting a vote of confidence for Gen Prayut and the five cabinet ministers.

The Thai PM Is Criticised For COVID-19 Policy As Well As Allegedly Bribing Colleagues To Keep His Job During 3-Day Censure Debate

September 3, 2021

The PM Prayut Chan-o-cha responded to charges that he had bribed MPs to vote in his favor at the end of the censure debate in Parliament on the third day of the debate. PM Prayut, according to Pheu Thai MP Visarn Techateerawat, met privately with a group of MPs on the third floor of the parliament building, during which he allegedly distributed 5 million baht payments to each MP to bolster their support.
In the hearing, MP Visarn derided the actions of the prime minister with a vitriolic outburst, “It’s outrageous! What corruption! MPs are receiving five million baht each from him just because he wants to remain in his position. Can this be done in Thailand?”
Several Palang Pracharat MPs requested that the House Speaker order MP Visarn to retract his claims of bribes, but the Speaker said that PM Prayut has been implicated and will have the chance to respond.
Members of Phu Thai requested that all CCTV footage from the third floor be obtained immediately in order to witness what happened. An MP stated that he heard rumors that someone attempted to tamper with the CCTV system in order to hide the footage.
PM Prayut insists that the meeting was merely a visit from supportive MPs to offer words of encouragement and was not accompanied by bribes. He said that he would not be stupid enough to get caught in a scandal like a snack bag incident in 2008.
An attorney representing Thaksin Shinawatra gave a paper bag containing cookies to a court official, which later turned out to contain 2 million baht in 1,000-baht notes. The lawyer claimed that he just confused the bags.
Over the course of the censure debate, PM Prayut and other cabinet members defended themselves against accusations regarding embezzlement from Covid-19 funds, failing to join the COVAX program, and their general bumbling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Thai Cabinet Approves More COVID-19 Relief

August 31, 2021

According to a government spokesman, the cabinet approved a further 44.3 billion baht in relief measures as the country struggles to control the worst Covid-19 outbreak to date.
Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said a briefing that the support will be for those affected by tough restrictions in 29 high-risk provinces, including Bangkok.
Thanakorn said the money was in addition to the previous relief package of 33.47 billion baht approved by the cabinet on August 10, 2021.
An increase in funds would benefit more than 9 million workers in 29 maximum-risk (dark red) provinces registered under Sections 39 and 40 of the Social Security Act, he said.
In an Aug 10 estimate, there were 6.7 million workers in need of assistance.
There are approximately 1.43 million eligible workers under Section 39 and about 8 million under Section 40. They will each receive 5,000 baht in cash, he said.
A worker covered by Section 39 of the Social Security Act is someone who previously paid contributions for at least 12 months under Section 33 and who, when they lost that status – either through retirement or termination of employment – continued to pay contributions to the fund.
A company wishing to retain its social security membership under Section 39 of the Social Security Act is one whose employees retire or become unemployed while they are still members under Section 33.
Workers under Section 40 are those who are not considered employees under Section 33 but have applied for social security insurance under the Act, while workers under Section 33 are insured company employees between the ages of 15 and 60 who are still working.

Thai Bits: Thai Government Is Negotiating With European Countries Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines, Former Nakhon Sawan Police Officer and Fugitive Turned Himself In

August 27, 2021

Thai Government Talking To European Countries About COVID-19 Vaccines

A health official said the government is in discussions with European nations to purchase millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines, as the country tries to speed up its inoculation rollout to contain epidemics.
Thailand has been scrambling to secure vaccine supplies despite being the regional hub for AstraZeneca shots.
Earlier this week, the Bhutanese government announced it would borrow 150,000 AstraZeneca doses from the Himalayan kingdom.
“Some countries may have a surplus of AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines, and will be able to sell 2-3 million doses each month,” senior health official Kiattiphum Wongrajit said.
Kiattiphum did not name any European countries involved in the talks. Around 9% of the country’s population of over 66 million has been fully vaccinated so far as it deals with its deadliest outbreak of Coronavirus.
1.1 million infections and 10,314 deaths have occurred since April due to the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta variants.
“New cases have peaked, and new infections will gradually decline,” Dr. Kiattiphum said.
AstraZeneca will deliver 61 million doses delayed previously by the end of this year, according to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
According to him, the coronavirus task force will decide soon whether to relax lockdown measures, including shortening a nighttime curfew and allowing diners who are vaccinated or have recently been tested to dine in restaurants, he said.

An Ex-Cop And Fugitive Turned Himself In

Chon Buri police seized the former chief of the Nakhon Sawan Muang police station.
On the same day, Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk was scheduled to hold a briefing at 9 pm. About 9.45 pm, he described the case and assured that he would not protect any wrongdoers. He let Pol Col Thitisan take reporters’ questions over the phone.
Pol. Col. Thitisan admitted he used bags on Jeerapong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, during questioning, but said the motive was not to extort money from him.
Jeerapong saw photos of a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine and 20,000 speed pills on Jeerapong’s phone and thought it was a big case, so he tried to learn more about it, he said.
“I intend to get the information to destroy the drug business and protect the people of Nakhon Sawan. My subordinates just followed my order. I am solely responsible,” he said.
When asked why he used so many bags to cover Jeerapong’s head, he stated that he did not want Jeerapong to see his face, but the suspect kept trying to remove them, which forced him to tie his hands as well.
When Jeerapong lost consciousness, Pol Col Thitisan assumed the suspect was in shock because his wife had said he usually took large quantities of narcotics and was sleep-deprived.
Jeerapong, whose breathing was shallow and pulse was weak, was brought to a hospital by his team for resuscitation.
Asked why he ordered subordinates to remove security cameras at his station, Pol Col Thitisan said he was shocked by Jeerapong’s condition and had never experienced such a thing.
The reporters asked him how he felt when one of his subordinates sent the clip to the public after speaking to him for about 15 minutes. The deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Suchart Teerasawat, ended the session at this point, saying he didn’t want reporters’ questions to affect the case.
Thitisan was wanted for allegedly torturing Jeerapong to death at his Muang Nakhon Sawan police station in Nakhon Sawan province on Aug 6. Police said detectives had not yet concluded whether the death was the result of an attempt to extort money or gather information.
Pol Col Thitisan appeared at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok and was questioned by National Police Chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk.
Detectives were about to arrest Pol Col Thitisan in Chon Buri province, but the suspect said he wanted to surrender at the CSD headquarters, said Pol Maj Gen Jirapop Puridet, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau.
When asked about earlier reports that Pol Col Thitisan fled to Myanmar, Pol Maj Gen Ekarak Limsangkat, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 6, said Pol Col Thitisan called him and said he wanted to commit suicide.
He said he convinced Pol Col Thitisan to surrender and do the right thing to protect police honor.
Pol Maj Gen Ekarak said Pol Col Thitisan arrived at Saen Suk police station in Chon Buri at 4 pm.

Thai Bits: Thai Cabinet Thinking About New Cigarette Tax, Police Chief Promises That Thai Cops Caught In Video Suffocating A Man Will Be Fired

August 25, 2021

New Cigarette Tax Is Being Proposed

Santi Prompat says he will discuss the new excise tax structure for cigarettes with Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith before presenting it to the cabinet next month.
The new flat tax rate of 40% was scheduled to take effect in October 2019, regardless of the retail price, but some related parties have expressed opposition.
In order to review the tax, the ministry postponed its enforcement until Sept. 30 this year.
Currently, cigarettes are subject to two tiers of excise duties. The retail price of packs costing up to 60 baht is subject to a 20% tax rate. A 40% tax rate is applied if the retail price exceeds 60 baht per pack.
Anti said he reviewed the tax details and came to a conclusion, which needs ministerial approval. The conclusion he reached was not disclosed.
Deputy Director-General Lavaron Sangsnit said the new structure will be based on four principles in order to strike a balance between farmers’ income, public health, government revenue, and efforts to prevent smuggling.
According to him, the new structure is intended to discourage smokers and thwart the smuggling of foreign cigarettes, which avoids paying duties.
Ministry source who requested anonymity said since the two-tier cigarette tax was adopted in 2017, the department’s excise revenue from cigarettes fell from 68.6 billion baht in fiscal 2017 to 68.5 billion in 2018, 67.4 billion in 2019, and 62.9 billion in 2020.
During the first seven months of fiscal 2021, the department collected 37.8 billion baht from cigarette taxes.


Thai Cops Caught On Video Suffocating A Man

Several police officers in Nakhon Sawan have been sacked after a video showing a man being suffocated with a plastic bag went viral recently, a day after the provincial police chief pledged to investigate.
A man sits on a chair, surrounded by four men in civilian clothing, in the 2.44-minute clip. The room is full of desks like those found at a police station.
A plastic bag is placed over the head of the seated man by one of the standing men. They beat him a few times while one of them wraps a bag around his neck and tries to keep his head down.
In a briefing on Tuesday evening, police chief Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk said he had instructed chief inspector Pol Gen Wissanu Prasartthongosoth to check the video.
According to Pol Gen Suwat, if the information is accurate, they will be placed on leave pending the investigation.
The clip appeared authentic, which meant a crime had been committed. A panel will be formed after they are temporarily removed from service to take serious disciplinary action against them.
In parallel, his deputy, Police General Suchart Teerasawat, will conduct a criminal investigation into the murder.
“We believe 13 police officers were involved and all will be charged as soon as possible,” he said.

Note: Nakgon Sawan is not far from Bangkok. It is about 1 to 2 hours to get there. You can take a van, a bus or a train to get there. It is near Lopburi, a city know for having monkeys on the streets. It is the biggest city in that area.

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