Connect with us

Politics

88 billion baht Covid-19 spending bill, criticised by opposition, passes first reading

Jack Burton

Published 

 on 

88 billion baht Covid-19 spending bill, criticised by opposition, passes first reading | The Thaiger
PHOTO: House Speaker Chuan Leekpai - Xinhua
  • follow us in feedly

Thailand’s House of Representatives kicked off a debate this morning on a bill that would transfer about 88 billion baht from the budgets of each government ministry to a central fund, to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and rehabilitate the nation’s economy. The first reading was approved with 264 votes. 4 MPs rejected it, 185 abstained and 1 MP failed to vote.

The Opposition called on fellow MPs to reject the bill, saying it gives no detail about how the money will be spent and approving it would be like “issuing a blank cheque to the PM.” A Sereeruamthai party-list MP criticised PM Prayut Chan-o-cha for revising rules to increase the spending limit from the central fund and urged the House not to allow it, pointing out that the budget transfer would be capped at 16 billion baht under the old rules. He argued it’s improper for the PM to raise the spending amount of funds that he would himself manage, saying it would invite corruption.

A Pheu Thai Party MP for the northern Nan province says the PM revised the regulation to accommodate himself, pointing out the central fund is to be be managed by the PM, and it’s the fourth time the administration has sought budget transfers.

The PM defended the reallocation of budgets, saying the government needs money to implement programs to help cushion the pandemic’s economic blow. He says the central fund will be used for Covid-19 mitigation efforts or the money will be returned.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

New ‘Progressive Movement’ party plans to take on local elections

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

New ‘Progressive Movement’ party plans to take on local elections | The Thaiger
PHOTO: time.com

Thailand’s elections may look a bit different as some candidates, who normally campaign in local elections, are banding together to form a new ‘Progressive Movement.’ The move comes despite the Constitutional Court banning its founder, Thanathorn Juangroogruangkit, along with other executives, for 10 years after being involved with the Future Forward Party that was disbanded earlier this year.

The banning hasn’t swayed Thanathorn’s determination to continue the campaign to help Thailand move towards further democratic reform as he is now aligning himself under the new Progressive Movement. He reportedly is planning to field candidates in local elections such as tambon administration organisations and provincial administration organisations. Thanathorn made the announcement in Phuket with many former Future Forward Party members.

“We are in Phuket today to persuade the Phuket people to walk together with us. We will field our candidates in the election of 5,320 TAOs, 76 PAOs, 2,454 municipalities, the BMA and Pattaya City.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post|Nation Thailand

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Politics

Redshirt activist acquitted, freed after nearly 4 years

Jack Burton

Published

on

Redshirt activist acquitted, freed after nearly 4 years | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Activist Thanet Anantawong has been acquitted of national security and computer crime charges after being detained for almost 4 years. He was charged over 5 Facebook posts made in 2015, criticising the now defunct National Council for Peace and Order, and the army.

The posts were critical of the late Privy Council president and former PM Prem Tinsulanonda, and the army, for the death in custody of Suriyan “Mor Yong” Sucharitpolwong, who was accused of insulting the monarchy. The army claimed he died of a “bloodstream infection.”

Thanet also alleged corruption at the army-run Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin. Some of the posts encouraged people to float kratong (traditional Thai floating offerings) to expel dictatorship, and to wear red shirts to the park as an act of protest. The charges claimed the posts caused people to dislike the government, leading to protests to topple it.

Lawyers for Human Rights, who handled the case, say the court reasoned that while Thanet may have had different views from those in power at the time, he acted constitutionally. Quoting a translation of the verdict, they say…

“The court believes his expression of opinions was not intended to stir up sedition or disobedience among people to the extent it could cause unrest in the kingdom or law violations. It was legitimate free speech. Since the witnesses and evidence of the plaintiff do not carry sufficient weight to warrant a guilty verdict, we’ve dismissed the charges.”

It’s been 4½ years since Thanet was charged, and he was detained for 3 years and 10 months, or 1,396 days, including for the “offence” of boarding a train to the Rajabhak Park in Hua Hin as a symbolic gesture against alleged corruption in the park’s funding by the army. His case was tried in a military court but only 3 witnesses were heard. Since he failed to report when summoned (but changed his mind later), he was denied bail.

The case was then transferred to a civilian court last year, delaying the trial by almost a year. The hearing of all witnesses finally ended in May.

While in custody he lost his father and was not permitted to meet with him before he died.

Now 30, Thanet is from the central Uthai Thani province, north of Bangkok. His mother died when he was 8 and he worked as a labourer for several years like his father. After competing primary school he worked as a motorcycle taxi driverin Bangkok. He joined the red-shirt protests in 2010 and was jailed for a year for breaking the emergency law at the time.

After the 2014 military coup, he continued to join anti-coup movements, especially activities led by the Democracy Study group led by Sirawich “Ja New” Seritiwat.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Khaosod English

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phase 5 rules to be announced Monday

Jack Burton

Published

on

Phase 5 rules to be announced Monday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

On Monday the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration will hold a significant meeting, led by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, to decide several major issues of importance to Thailand as well as foreigners hoping to come into the country. The issues to be discussed and expected to be resolved are:

  • An official decision on “Phase 5” relief measures and the date of relaxation. This includes bars, pubs, nightclubs, karaokes, live music venues and others that have been closed since March due to the Emergency Decree. The CCSA has previously announced they aim to start Phase 5 on July 1, with a list of proposed rules and regulations disclosed at a press conference earlier this week. Monday’s meeting will make a final decision on going ahead with this phase and the final rules for nightlife-related venues. Schools are also a major part of Phase 5 relief and are scheduled to start classes next week, while nightlife owners have been cautioned to prepare for reopening, but await final orders.
  • A decision on whether children living near the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, and who generally attend Thai schools, will be allowed to attend the new school semester.
  • “Possibly” a final decision between the government and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand on the lifting of the current ban on inbound international travel, allowing a limited number of foreigners into the country. Current indications are that those holding work permits, some medical tourists, diplomats and a limited number of those with Thai dependents will be the first to be allowed. No general opening for tourists is expected.
  • A decision on the recommendation by the National Security Council that the Emergency Decree be extended for an additional month. If approved, it will need approval from the Cabinet, which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.
  • Easing social distancing measures at some venues, especially transportation. Phase 5, if finalised, is expected to see a significant rise in the use of public transportation, and as a result proposals to ease social distancing on buses and trains are likely to be approved. “Travel bubble” discussions have been suspended until August and further review of the Covid-19 situation worldwide

The meeting, originally scheduled for yesterday, was postponed until Monday due to the PM’s commitment to an Asean conference.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Trending