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House committee postpones meeting on subs purchase… again

Jack Burton

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House committee postpones meeting on subs purchase… again | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English
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A Parliamentary committee meeting on the Royal Thai Navy’s controversial purchase of 2 Chinese submarines has been postponed for a third time, until Monday. The Democratic party vehemently opposes the purchase, saying the 22.5 billion baht would be better spent on Covid-19 relief efforts and aiding the recovery of the nation’s battered economy.

Democrat MP Akkharadet Wongphithakrot, acting as spokesman of the House committee scrutinising the budget bill for fiscal 2021, told reporters that a subcommittee on durable product items, state enterprises, ICT equipment and revolving funds has been asked to meet with the committee to submit the results of its consideration of the purchase.

But the meeting was postponed to August 31 since there are “many time-consuming budget considerations for other projects during this period.”

According to Akkharadet, if the committee wants more information about the submarine procurement, representatives of the navy will be invited to clarify the matter.

The meeting has already been posponed twice, on Wednesday and yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 29, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    Apparently Thailand has already bought one submarine from the Chinese, but not paid for it.
    Seems despite all the Thai declarations of being solvent they cannot pay for a second hand submarine.
    The Chinese will not let Thailand have the submarine until the Thais have paid for it – very wise.
    Now the the Thais want two more submarines.
    Is this because they want the Chinese to let them have the first submarine, not paid for, to encourage the Chinese to let them that submarine on the promise to buy the later two submarines?

  2. Avatar

    rinky stingpiece

    August 30, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    They need to torpedo this deal, and put their collective periscope up above the surface to look at the economic carnage that Kung Flu has caused. Don’t buy into Chinese Communist Party loanshark diplomacy, it will ruin the country.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 30, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    The Thais can ruin the country without Chinese help.

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket residents going hungry after local government assistance runs out | The Thaiger

Residents in Phuket, particularly those living in and around the west coast townships, are reportedly going hungry as the government’s municipal budget to provide food has been depleted. Despite efforts to revive tourism in the area, thousands of people are still in need of donated food to survive and continue to queue up for donated food every day. A public relations staff member at the Patong municipality says, sadly, there is no budget to do any more food handouts in the near future and that there is no word on when or if there will be any more handouts.

The Phuket Town Deputy Mayor told The Phuket News that there has only been 2 handouts since the pandemic struck the tourist-reliant area. One handout was in March while the last handout was in June with the mayor saying 28 million baht was spent in those 2 handouts. Meanwhile a number of foreign residents in the town have been providing supplies for food queues for many months to help the impoverished residents.

One Phuket expat says the majority of those affected in the Patong area are Burmese migrant workers, with long queues for private donations still being seen on the streets of Patong. Such private donations are a result of charity events that are being held across the island with the assistance of dedicated volunteers.

Like Thailand’s Mental Health Department, many are concerned about the impact that food insecurity is having on those struggling. According to the department, 2,551 people had killed themselves across Thailand in the first half of 2020, a 22 % increase, year on year. In response, the National Reform Committee on Labour was ordered on September 11 to issue an amnesty on all outstanding debts, while providing financial support anyone who remains unemployed on the island.

At a recent meeting, other requests were made that include the government giving incentives for more Thais to visit the island and to use social security funds and soft loans as support for local business owners. For now, the situation is grim as Phuket residents are resorting to relying on private charities for food donations.

Phuket’s vice governor Phichet saysd that Phuket has been badly affected by the Covid crises, and delivered 3 requests to the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism… to extend the financial support by the Social Security Office for a further 3 months, allow workers from other provinces to transfer their house registration to Phuket so the Phuket government can receive more funds to provide better care for them, and ask the Ministry of Labour to provide assistance to at least 1,000 unemployed in Phuket.

Whilst the government unveiled plans for a “Phuket Model” to revive tourism on the island, it came to nothing, despite a high power delegation of Ministers and Bangkok officials who visited Phuket 2 weekends ago.

One such charity is set to record a song by leading Phuket musicians with the hopes of continuing to help feed those in need on the island.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Economy

Laid off workers ask for financial assistance after Thai Airways’ flight suspension

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Laid off workers ask for financial assistance after Thai Airways’ flight suspension | The Thaiger

Almost 2,600 laid off employees of the Thai Airways subsidiary company Wingspan have filed complaints with PM Prayut asking for financial assistance. The State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation stated that the company had let go the employees as of September 1 due to THAI flights being suspended since the end of March this year.

The complaints of the sacked workers came in letter form as about 150 former employees of Wingspan and the Serc secretary-general submitted the request at the Government House in Bangkok to the PM. Wingspan provides employee recruitment services for Thai Airways, and up until recently, has employed over 3,000 people until its suspension on April 1.

This week the administrators of the Thai Airways’ restructure plan, aka. the bankruptcy accounting team, invited debtors to start sending them outstanding invoices so they could begin the process of prioritising debts and payment schedules.

Many passengers, who previously had flights booked with Thai Airways, have also been waiting for refunds.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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