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Coalition considers demoting clumsy deputy agriculture minister, Thammanat Prompow

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Coalition considers demoting clumsy deputy agriculture minister, Thammanat Prompow | The Thaiger
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Key members of Palang Pracharath are now discussing the future of deputy agriculture minister Thammanat Prompow’s as ‘fixer’ or coordinator of the coalition’s minor parties.

The coalition’s smaller parties, some of them just single MPs, are in uproar following the controversial minister’s “monkey keeper” weekend remarks, potentially causing new rifts in the shaky coalition government.

At the weekend the minister likened the minor parties to “monkeys” who needed to be given “bananas” to keep them happy. These “bananas” were interpreted to include government jobs for members of the coalition’s minor parties.

The Prachatham Thai Party has already made its position clear on the remarks and say it was leaving the coalition , even though Captain Thammanat had since apologised for the comments.
Captain Thammanat, the MP for Phayao province, is in the hot seat after a Sydney Morning Herald report on his heroin and drug-trafficking sentence in Australia. The article poured doubt over the Minister’s July claims that he was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, placing him in the middle of a Thai-Australian drug gang, landing him in jail for four years in Sydney after being served a seven year sentence.

When addressing questions about his suitability as a cabinet member back in July he described the situation as a “small issue” saying he lived “a normal life in Sydney for four years”.

“I lived a normal life in Australia, in Sydney, for a full four years. You can ask the court in Sydney whether what I’m saying is true or not.”

So the Sydney Morning Herald reporters did just that, unearthing court documents which were clearly contrary to the minister’s claims to the media, his fellow MPs and the Thai people.

A clearly dismissive PM Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday gave his minister support saying “all past governments also had flaws”.

After the revelations dominated front pages in Thailand’s news yesterday, the PM lashed out at reporters, saying he was annoyed at being asked about “small issues” before changing the subject.

“You often ask questions that ruin my mood.”

The prime minister ignored further questions from reporters at Government House when asking about Captain Thammanat’s future in the cabinet and government.

The original Sydney Morning Herald article HERE.

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Thailand

Thailand’s emergency decree extended again

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Thailand’s emergency decree extended again | The Thaiger
Thairath

Thailand’s nationwide Emergency Decree has been extended again, this time until the end of February. The decree gives the Thai government the ability to set policies and procedures to prevent the control the spread of Covid-19… things like restricting travel, setting up road checkpoints and introducing other restrictions without having to consult the parliament.

All the latest articles about Thailand’s Covid-19 situation are on one page HERE.

Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri says it is just an extension of the decree that is currently in place that was initially set to end on January 15. The extension, adding on another 45 days, was proposed by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and approved by the Thai Cabinet this week.

The initial emergency decree was enacted in March last year and has been extended ever since.

The number of local Covid-19 infections has spiked since the outbreak at the Samut Sakhon seafood market last month, spreading to 55 of Thailand’s 77 provinces. The ‘second wave’ has stemmed from a cluster of migrant workers in the nation’s seafood industry and markets in the Gulf of Thailand coastal province, as well as cluster of infections focussed on illegal gambling dens, principally in the eastern coastal provinces and Bangkok.

Here’s a video about the new Mor Chana app which you will probably be required to use if you are travelling around Thailand at this time…

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Politics

YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint

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YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint | The Thaiger
PHOTO: R.A.D.

A music video by a pro-democracy movement band was blocked on YouTube in Thailand due to a legal complaint from the government, according to the message posted on the video’s page.

The band Rap Against Dictatorship, also known as RAD, made a post on their Facebook fan page saying that the music video for their song “Reform” was blocked on YouTube.

“Happy New Year everyone. Our new music video has been blocked. This is obviously the ‘New Year Gift’ from the government.”

The band members are active in the pro-democracy movement and 2 of them are currently facing criminal charges relating to a protest in July.

The song conveys a definition of the word ‘reform’ in the Thai language and mentions the current problems in Thailand, including politics, social inequality and the right of protesters to seek justice.

The music video had footage from recent protests in Bangkok including clips from rallies in October and November where water cannons were deployed, some spraying tear gas on pro-democracy protesters.

The music video was first released in about mid-November and reached over 300,000 views on YouTube within 9 hours. It now has over 9 million views. The band was told that the music video is against the law without any other explanations from YouTube or government agencies.

RAD made a reputation with its previous work “Prathet Ku Mi” (“Which is My Country”) released last year and it went viral across the country. The group was also recognised one of the three winners of the 2019 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent that was presented in 2019 at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

SOURCE: Facebook|Prachathai English

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Multiple challenges to Thai PM’s leadership have failed

Maya Taylor

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Multiple challenges to Thai PM’s leadership have failed | The Thaiger
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Some compare him to Teflon for his ability to survive all manner of allegations, because the legal challenges keep coming and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha keeps winning. The Thai PM has now survived 3 legal challenges to his leadership, not to mention the countless calls for his resignation that were a hallmark of the recent pro-democracy protests. It’s probably safe to say he’s not going anywhere for a while.

The first challenge to the PM’s leadership came in September of last year, when he fought off an ombudsman ruling that he had not recited the full oath of office while being sworn in the previous July. In that case, the Constitutional Court ruled that it didn’t have the authority to make a call on the matter.

About a week later, the court had to rule on whether or not the PM could be considered a state official while in the role of chief of the National Council for Peace and Order. Opposition parties argued that the PM was a state official while head of the NCPO, meaning he was not entitled to hold the position of PM after last year’s election. However, the court found that as the NCPO had seized power in a 2014 coup, the position of its chief was not under state command, therefore he could not be considered a state official.

The third challenge came last month, when the Constitutional Court again found in the PM’s favour, acquitting him of charges that he was illegally occupying a military residence. The opposition had accused the PM of a conflict of interest by living in the property after he had retired from the army. The court ruled that the PM was permitted to remain in the property under a 2005 army regulation, which permits retired army generals to stay living in military residences if they continue to serve the country well. The PM has lived at the army property since becoming army chief in 2010.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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