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Thailand’s plastics industry wants the government’s help to keep afloat

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s plastics industry wants the government’s help to keep afloat | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thais get used to the plastic bag ban, but the plastics industry is crying foul - Flipboard
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There may be less plastic bags being handed out around Thailand, and that’s a good thing. But there’s been a down side – the failure of an entire industry and the people it employees. Now the Thai Labour Minister is being asked to step in and help the dozens of Thai plastic bag manufacturers which are at risk of closing their businesses

The Thai government banned the handing out of single-use plastics on January 1. Many customers of Thailand’s largest retail companies, including Central Group shopping centres, 7-11 and Family Mart, are having to adapt to changing long-term habits and a reliance on plastic bags.

Somchai Techapanichgul, the president of the Thai Plastic Industries), told the Labour Minister MR Chatu Mongol Sonakul that almost 500 plastics manufacturers only “expect to stay in this industry until April” if the government refuses to step in.

“Our workers are now living with a dim and uncertain work prospects. We may need to shut down our businesses, which employ about 7,000 workers.”

Mr Somchai claims the government reneged on an agreement to phase out single-use plastic bags by 2020But he says the industry broadly supports the government’s attempt to reduce plastic waste.

“We need enough time to readjust our production lines.”

But the managing director of the plastic bag producer Pack and Save says the government should have asked consumers to decide whether they want to use plastic bag.

“If they want one, they will have to fork out extra money.”

He also said the government should promote the use of thicker and more durable bags, and plastic bags that can be used more than once. The production an of plastic bags, thicker than 40 microns, are currently allowed by the Pollution Control Department and not covered in the ban.

The association estimates that the ban on single-use plastic bags has already cost the industry 24.3 billion baht. The ban also put 6,030 workers in the industry at risk of losing their jobs.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Events

Future Forward ruling sparks flash mob at Bangkok’s Thammasat U.

Greeley Pulitzer

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Future Forward ruling sparks flash mob at Bangkok’s Thammasat U. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Students and supporters of the now-defunct Future Forward Party protesting at Thamassat University last night - Thai PBS Word

The Student Union of Thailand held a brief rally at the campus of Thammasat University yesterday, to protest the Constitutional Court’s decision to dissolve the Future Forward party, strip its MPs of their status and and ban its executive committee members from politics for ten years.

Students and members of the public who support the now-defunct party attended, lighting candles as a gesture of “protest against injustice in Thailand.”

Two sheets of white cloth were laid on the ground of the Pridi Courtyard, where protesters could express their thoughts about the court’s decision. The event also featured the poetry readings and speeches by students.

Plainclothes policemen were sent to observe the event, which ended peacefully at about 7pm.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

US embassy, Amnesty International oppose Future Forward dissolution decision

Greeley Pulitzer

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US embassy, Amnesty International oppose Future Forward dissolution decision | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the disbanded Future Forward Party, addresses supporters following the Constitutional Court's ruling yesterday - Chanat Katanyu, Bangkok Post

In a statement today, the US embassy in Bangkok said the Constitutional Court’s decision to dissolve the Future Forward party risks disenfranchising more than six million Thai voters who voted for the party in last March’s general election.

“The United States strongly supports democratic governance around the world, and appreciates Thailand’s recent seating of a democratically elected government. While the United States does not favor or support any particular political party in Thailand, more than six million voters chose the Future Party in March 24 elections. The decision to disband the party risks disenfranchising those voters and raises questions about their representation within Thailand’s electoral system.”

Amnesty International yesterday called on authorities to reverse the decision and to “restore genuine rights to freedom of expression and association in Thailand.”

In a statement issued last night, regional director Nicholas Bequelin said the decision illustrates how Thai authorities use judicial processes to intimidate, harass and target political opposition.

“The dissolution of the Future Forward party is the culmination of the Thai authorities’ relentless onslaught against the party’s leaders and members since the lead-up to the March 2019 general elections. Both before and since the elections, the authorities have [issued] sweeping and vaguely worded legal restrictions to dissolve the party, and… disqualified the party leader from sitting in the parliament.”

“The Thai government, members of parliament, and all political parties in Thailand must commit to protecting the rights of freedom of expression and association. The international community, which has on the whole remained silent about human rights violations in Thailand, must clearly demonstrate it will not accept the outlawing of political opposition.”

Meanwhile, former National Intelligence Agency deputy director Nanthiwat Samart has accused the US embassy in Bangkok of interfering in Thailand’s domestic affairs. In an open online letter addressed to the US embassy, Nanthiwat said each country has its own history, culture and traditions, which do not necessarily align.

US embassy, Amnesty International oppose Future Forward dissolution decision | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Former National Intelligence Agency deputy director Nanthiwat Samart – Thai PBS World

“Friendly countries can express their fondness, concern and good wishes toward one another, but must respect each other’s differences and laws, which vary from country to country. The US judicial system is completely different from that in Thailand. America must not interfere and refrain from criticizing the law and judicial process of Thailand.”

“Politics is about the fight for power to administer a country. The US must not openly take sides with any political party, otherwise the relations between the two countries and the people of Thailand and the US may be affected. Hopefully, the US embassy understands diplomatic protocols.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Disbanded Future Forward Party vows to fight on

Greeley Pulitzer

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Disbanded Future Forward Party vows to fight on | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Future Forward Party founders Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul - File photo

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party (FFP), disbanded yesterday by the Constitutional Court, has vowed to continue fighting and announced the formation of “the Group of Future Forward,” which he says will continue the campaign to get Thailand back on the road to democracy.

He said leaders of the Future Forward Party have no intention of giving up their political activism despite the party being disbanded.

Apart from disbanding the party, the court banned 16 executives of the party from politics for 10 years, including Thanathorn, ending his short-lived career as a maverick politician who stunned the political landscape by placing third in a March 2019 poll, his first-ever election.

FFP secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul objected to the court’s ruling, calling the judges’ interpretation of the law “inappropriate” and accusing them of “applying double standards.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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