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Emergency Decree extended through June amidst accusations of political motivation

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PHOTO: Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin - NNB

As widely predicted, the  Cabinet yesterday extended the Emergency Decree for a third month, to its limit at the end of June. Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, quickly explained that the decree was enforced because it enabled more than 40 laws to be tied together to allow for quick enforcement at the national level. He says this helps the government tackle the crisis more efficiently.

Last week, government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat hinted that the National Security Council wanted to extend the decree “because it would save lives”. She also dismissed as “illogical” claims that the state of emergency was being extended so PM Prayut Chan-ocha could tighten his hold on power.

But non-profit organisation iLaw says the government should use a less restrictive, less severe method to impose controls on businesses, travel and public health. For instance, it could enforce the Contagious Disease Control Act to stop people gathering outside their homes, and close high-risk venues, as the act is more flexible than the Emergency Decree.

The panel chaired by the National Security Council’s secretary-general is meeting today to discuss the third phase of easing lockdown measures, as well as whether the curfew hours should be cut a second time, from the current 11pm-4am to midnight-4am. The third phase of easing measures is thought to begin June 1.

The meeting’s resolution will be proposed to the CCSA on Friday and guidelines for businesses and activities under the third phase will probably be announced Saturday.

Meanwhile, police in Bangkok are denying using the Emergency decree as a political tool after the arrest of 2 activists on Friday, saying they were simply doing their job.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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