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Royal Thai Navy front media today to explain purchase of 2 Chinese submarines

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Royal Thai Navy front media today to explain purchase of 2 Chinese submarines | The Thaiger
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After the outcry over a house budget committee’s decision to approve the purchase of another 2 Chinese submarine’s last week, the Royal Thai Navy will front the media today to explain the controversial 22.5 billion baht acquisition.

A Royal Thai Navy source has told Thai PBS World that “a clarification is necessary”, because members from the Pheu Thai party had published misleading information about the purchase.

Pheu Thai Party members question the Navy’s use of taxpayers’ money to buy 2 Chinese submarines under the present circumstances, when Thailand’s economy continues to be in bad shape. They claim the money would be better used to improve the people affected by the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic and the Thai government’s lockdowns and border closures.

3 years ago the, then, NCPO were forced to defeat the purchase of a 13.5 billion Chinese submarine, batting back criticism about the secrecy of the deal, its high cost and the questionable utility of the warship in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand. At the time, the submarine sale was the latest defence deal between Beijing and Bangkok, as Thailand pivoted towards better relations with the Chinese since the 2014 military coup.

Thailand had scooped up over 20 Beijing-built army tanks since the coup.

Pheu Thai party members claims the contract, signed by then Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Luechai Rootdit, is not a government-to-government agreement and is “invalid” because it was not signed by the Thai Defence Minister (the PM), representing the Thai Government. Last Friday, the sub-committee meeting to approve the budget allocation for the submarines descended into a shouting match and members were told to “pause” for a break before taking the vote.

The Navy will also explain the strategic need for Thailand to buy the submarines and that it won’t need any additional taxpayers’ money. They say they are only using funds already allocated by the Government to purchase the submarines and intend to postpone plans to procure additional surface ships and aircraft.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 24, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Yes as the story relates, the water is too shallow around Thailand for submarines.
    This is a pointless waste of money for Thailand at the present time of austerity.

  2. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    August 24, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    At this moment all efforts should be directed towards internal consumption! These toys bought outside Thailand will not help the economy and the fiscal cliff that the government is facing means that the country will ultimately have to borrow the money to pay them.

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Protesters gather outside the Thai parliament - Tanaporn Choopanya

Thailand’s MPs and Senators have kicked the constitutional can down the road at least a month after the parliament failed to agree on charter amendments. A panel will be sent up to examine 6 motions that were proposed and debated over the past 2 days. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 protesters were gathered outside the unfinished parliamentary buildings as an act of solidarity for the MPs supporting the changes to the current Thai Constitution.

The reality of the vote, and the setting up of an investigative committee, could push any votes on real reform well into 2021.

The 2 Houses of Parliament voted 431-255 to delay the vote. Opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs stormed out and missed the opportunity of nominating anyone to the new 45 member parliamentary committee to examine the motions, whilst the remaining members chose members for the committee. Move Forward Party’s, Pita Limjaroenrat, described the vote as “a way to stall for time” complaining that the decision “was moving the country towards a dead end”.

It was not known how the NCPO hand-picked Senators would vote on the bills. Many were thought to side with the idea of constitutional reform but the reality was that, in most scenarios, they’d be voting themselves out of a job if any reforms went ahead. Thailand’s entire upper house is a military-appointed rump of conservative former businesspeople and Army officials, mostly men.

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

The protesters viewed the afternoon’s proceedings as a blunt stalling tactic to keep the current parliament, and its unelected senators, in power. The session ran until 8.30 last night. Rather than face the angry mob of anti-government protesters at the front of the building, most of the senators escaped on boat at the rear of the building, which backs onto Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

The demonstrators, with a consistent theme of reform over 3 months of rallies, are demanding changes to the current constitution because it was drafted by the NCPO who kicked out the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

The protesters specifically point to the NCPO-appointed senate and the power they wield to elect the country’s prime minister, even though none of them were elected (nor was Prayut Chan-o-cha).

Protesters say they will now organise the next lot of rallies in October. Meanwhile, the Parliament is now is recess.

PROTESTSLive scenes from today’s protest rally to lend their voices, albeit from outside the The Parliament, to the debates inside about amendments to the Thai Constitution. The Thai parliament buildings are unfinished and, so it seems, are the student and anti-government protesters.

Posted by The Thaiger on Thursday, September 24, 2020

 

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Deputy PM says “Big Joke” transfer not necessarily unlawful

Maya Taylor

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Deputy PM says “Big Joke” transfer not necessarily unlawful | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says former immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, shouldn’t assume his transfer to an inactive post in the PM’s Office was unlawful. Surachate, known by the nickname “Big Joke” (given to him by Thai media) headed up Thailand’s Immigration Bureau until he was unceremoniously side-lined by the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha last year.

It’s understood he is now planning to sue the PM, claiming that the lack of any investigation against him shows there were no grounds for the transfer. His lawyer, Sitthi Ngarmlamyuang, says other officers transferred to the PM’s Office have since been re-instated, after being cleared of any wrongdoing. He insists his client deserves the same, pointing out that in the 1 year and 5 months since his transfer, there has been no investigation against him.

For his part, Deputy PM Wissanu says Surachate has the right to sue the PM if he so wishes but shouldn’t assume his transfer is similar to that of former National Security Council chief, Thawil Pliensri, who was transferred under former PM Ying­luck Shinawatra in 2011. The transfer was subsequently deemed unlawful by the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Bangkok Post reports that Wissanu doesn’t rule out the possibility of Surachate being re-instated, saying the PM’s Office should submit the issue for the PM’s consideration. For his part, Surachate claims his petitions to the PM have fallen on deaf ears.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Warong Dechgitvigrom

Just after proposed constitutional amendments, backed by pro-democracy supporters, were submitted to the Thai parliament, the Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against making changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding a rewrite of the Thai constitution at protests over the past few months. The nonprofit organisation Internet Law Reform Dialogue, known as iLaw, drafted amendments including one that would require all senators and local administrators to be elected. Currently Thailand’s entire Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party. More than 100,000 people back the proposed changes.

“There’s no need to make changes”, according to Former Democrat MP and leader of Thai Pakdee Warong Dechgitvigrom. He says the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people (Thailand’s population is 69.4 million).

“Redoing the process would cost 15 billion baht in taxpayer money. On top of that, it would require 2 referenda and a general election.”

According to Thai PBS, 84 of the 250 senators need to be on board to move forward with revisions to the constitution. At the moment, around 60 of them are in favour of constitutional amendments while 100 oppose any changes and the rest are undecided. But Senators against the amendments might change their minds, according to Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan. He says he believes more senators will be in favour of making some amendments after hearing debates in parliament.

SOURCES: Thai PBS

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