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Thai minister says aide not involved in massive mask-hoarding

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai minister says aide not involved in massive mask-hoarding | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow - Bangkok Post
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Responding to a report on Facebook, the Thai Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow admitted today that his assistant met a man who was reported to be hoarding face masks, but he denied they discussed the mask trade. The post alleged that Thamanat’s close aide had a hoard of 200 million medical masks for resale to China.

He said on his own Facebook page there was a man hoarding masks for sale, but emphasised he has no connection with the man, who he named.

Apparently contradicting himself, he went on to say that his close aide, Pittinant Rak-iad, was advised by a friend to meet the man at the Marriott Hotel in Bangkok’s Pratunam area to discuss a matter involving masks, but they did not make any deal to trade in masks.

According to Thamanat, Pittinant didn’t know the man and it was their first meeting. He claims he instructed Pittinant to ask police to take action against the man. He says that if Pittinant were involved in any such offence, he would support his prosecution.

He also said the story was an attempt to discredit him and seek his removal from the cabinet.

Thamanat, aka Manat Bophlom, was convicted of conspiring to import heroin to Australia in 1994, and sentenced to six years imprisonment. He served four years, then was deported upon his release. Thamanat denies the conviction, and claims he never confessed to the charges.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM asks cabinet for emergency decree

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM asks cabinet for emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Eleven Media Group

PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha formally asked the Thai Cabinet this afternoon for the declaration of a national emergency to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Thailand. The decree, which the Cabinet is currently discussing, will likely be enacted for a month. A decision is expected to be announced later today.

The decree would allow authorities to impose curfews, ban domestic travel and close any building without a warrant, and would give the government the ability to censor and shut down media if deemed necessary.

Proponents of the decree say it will help bring the situation under control, while critics fear the decree could be used to further the government’s power and limit individual rights.

Prayut proposed the enactment of the 2005 Royal Decree of Emergency Situation during today’s Cabinet meeting. If approved, the decree will be enacted from Thursday to April 30. A news conference is expected later this afternoon.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | The Pattaya News

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Politics

Health minister denies racist tweets

Greeley Pulitzer

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Health minister denies racist tweets | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - File photo

“Many farang dress dirty and don’t shower. As hosts we have to be very careful.”

Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul certainly knows how to grab the spotlight: just days after messages posted on his Twitter account caused a social media uproar and prompted the account to be shuttered, he has denied making the tweet. In a short interview with the BBC, Anutin claims he didn’t post the now infamous “Dirty Western Foreigner” tweets late last week.

Writing in two Twitter posts on Thursday night, which were later deleted, the account said “farangs,” (slang for Caucasians) “never shower” and pose health risks to the Thai population.

Anutin, who previously grabbed national attention when he lost his cool on television after a Caucasian foreigner rejected his attempts to give him a mask, says he has “no issues” with Europeans and foreigners, and even has many white western friends.

He told the BBC that the tweets, which seemed to blame the outbreak of the virus on Western Europeans while stating that Chiang Mai was better when it had many Chinese tourists and not “Bad and dirty Europeans” was not his.

He claims that many people had access to the account and that the account was closed down because the the incident is under investigation, adding that his full attention is on fighting the novel Covid-19 Coronavirus and ensuring Thailand does not have a full scale epidemic like several other countries, and his team, not he, is administering his social media.

Reaction on social media has been extremely harsh, with many western foreigners and full time expats expressing outrage over the comments.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Khaosod English

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Politics

PM urges unity in the face of adversity

Greeley Pulitzer

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PM urges unity in the face of adversity | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - File photo

In a nation battered by drought, a slowing economy and the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has appealed to the public to unite and join the government in its efforts to overcome.

In a public statement yesterday, the PM said some of the measures adopted by his administration to cope with the threat of coronavirus contagion are different from those of other countries, due to differences in population, demographics, climate and other factors, but added that the government has obtained help and adopted practises from abroad.

Prayut urged all sectors of society, including the mainstream and online media, the public and the business sector, to support the government in its attempts to contain the virus, instead of bickering over minor issues, publishing false or distorted information, or accusing the Government of failure in addressing the virus threat, drought or other problems.

He defended against criticism that Thailand is not democratic and that his administration does not embrace democracy, asking whether the government has ever gagged the media.

Regarding the nation’s drought its worst in 40 years, the government claims officials are working at full capacity to find sources of water to meet demand for consumption and agriculture.

Regarding the economy, the PM said Thailand still relies on exports and tourism to drive the economy, pointing out the need for Thai people adjust to changing circumstances and technologies.

He assured the public that the government is doing its best for the people, but would like them to cooperate in the fight to contain the virus by avoiding panic, keeping themselves in good shape and trusting that the government will prevail over the current problems.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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