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Former police chief, turned MP, rails against the PM

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Former police chief, turned MP, rails against the PM | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS

Seri Ruam Thai party leader Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyavet, former Police Chief appointed by the NCPO, is taking the fight right up to the PM and the coalition, hinted to the media before parliament resumed todaythat he still has enough ammunition to fire at the government and, particularly, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

During his time as the Junta’s chosen police chief it appears he was well and truly rubbed up the wrong way and is using his time in front of Parliament to pass on a few ‘dark secrets’ from the five years of military rule.

Today, he told the media, he would mention the government’s omission of budgetary issue in the policy statement which is deemed a violation of the Constitution and, secondly, the status of the cabinet which is not legally completed.

Thai PBS reports that Seripisut said that he would skip the issue about the qualifications of some cabinet ministers, saying that “somebody may go ballistic”.

The former police chief was told to leave the meeting late last night after he refused to withdraw his accusations against the PM as demanded by Pornpetch Wichitcholachai, vice president of the parliament who chaired the meeting.

When the meeting resumed this morning, Pornpetch asked the whips of the government and opposition parties and the Senate to consider the remaning time for the debate and the lineup of the speakers.

Palang Pracharat MP of Ratchaburi province Ms Pareena Kraigupt asked the meeting to consider whether Seripisut should be allowed back to the parliament after he was told to leave late last night.
She was booed and jeered by several opposition MPs who suggested that she should leave the meeting.

The parliament vice president later ruled that Seripisut could attend the meeting as usual after the incident last night was over.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Business

Thai finance minister confident GDP will pick up next quarter

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai finance minister confident GDP will pick up next quarter | The Thaiger

Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak says he is confident Thailand’s gross domestic product will pick up in the fourth quarter as a result of the launch of 316 billion baht economic stimulus package from the Thai government.

He claims the new rice price guarantee scheme will also assist the agricultural sector.

The Cabinet approved the new packages at its Tuesday meeting. The National Rice Policy Committee approved a budget of 21 billion baht to guarantee the price of rice harvested in 2019 and 2020 the following day.

Somkid recently held a meeting with the Bank of Thailand and Finance Ministry to discuss a plan to set up a joint committee to steer the Thai economy.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank has downgraded its 2019 GDP growth forecast for Thailand to 3% from 3.3%. The bank expects growth in the second half to improve from a weak 2.6% in the first half.

According to the National Economic and Social Development Council, the country’s GDP expanded 2.3 per cent in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter’s growth of 2.8 per cent.

According to the Finance Ministry, the country’s debt level in the next five years is expected to be 46.73%, while the GDP next year is expected to expand by 3.5%, then 3.6% in 2021, 3.8% in 2022 and 4% in 2023.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Politics

Thai coalition government may not last more than two years, experts caution

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai coalition government may not last more than two years, experts caution | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

Economic concerns and doubts over the government’s legitimacy may mean it only maintains a grip on power for two years, according to academics.

The situation is not helped by Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan being made chief strategist of the Phalang Pracharat party. According to Titipol Phakdeewanich, Dean of Ubon Ratchathani University’s Political Science faculty, this only seems to strengthen the belief that the military is controlling the coalition.

Titipol says that when General Prayut Chan-o-cha, head of the junta-backed government, was confirmed as PM following the election, it sent a clear message that the military wanted to keep hold of the reins of power. He maintains the Deputy PM and his party will continue enticing more opposition MPs to join them, to boost the coalition’s slim majority in the House of Representatives.

According to Titipol, Prayut needs to make good the mistake he made during the ceremony before he took office, where he was accused of not reading the entire oath.

“Prayut doesn’t need to resign, and nor will the government collapse. Former US president Barack Obama had to be sworn in again after he made a similar mistake in 2009, when he took office for the first term.”

Another political scientist, Somjai Phagaphasvivat, draws attention to Thailand’s struggling economy and doubts over the coalition’s legitimacy, citing these as two major challenges facing the government. He says that while Prawit’s power combined with Prayut’s charisma may be in their favour, failure to deliver will mean trouble.

He adds that the government must prove it stands by freedom of expression, a cornerstone of democracy.

Meanwhile, Gothom Arya, from Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, says he reckons the government will stay in office for two years because politicians are not ready for another election.

He also called for freedom of expression to be restored, particularly given that Thailand has a civilian government. Gothom also agreed that the premier should take his oath again, “otherwise Prayut’s reputation will be tarnished forever.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

“Government stimulus package for Thai economy is unsustainable”

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Government stimulus package for Thai economy is unsustainable” | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Anusorn Tamajai, an economist from Rangsit University, says he expects the proposed package to make little difference and has declared it unsustainable.

The package, which should be approved this week, is worth 370 billion baht and includes cash handouts for farmers and low-income earners, grants for children, incentives for domestic travelers, and tax incentives for small businesses.

It’s hoped to stimulate the economy by 3%, in the wake of domestic uncertainty and the ongoing US-China trade war. Last week, the Finance Minister said the aim of the package was to prevent growth sliding below 3% in 2019.

However, economist Anusorn Tamajai has his doubts.

“Short-term spending as part of populist policies will not help much, as the Thai economy is monopolised by big business.”

He adds that most spending by low-income groups will end up as revenue for large businesses. However, he agrees with the plan to reduce the tax burden for small and medium-sized enterprises, which could lead to more private investment.

The government plans to offer generous tax reductions for those who import machinery to upgrade their production with a five-year depreciation allowance. The state-run Government Savings Bank and Krung Thai Bank will also provide combined soft loans worth about 100 billion baht.

The government also plans to direct a number of other state-run banks to provide soft loans to farmers and lower income groups, which Anusorn warns may not be sustainable as its effectiveness relies on public confidence in the future.

Thai governments often resort to state-run bank lending, quasi-fiscal measures that usually increase the burden for banks but translate into a burden for tax payers later.

SOURCE: The Nation

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