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Gen Prayuth voted to become next premier

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Gen Prayuth voted to become next premier | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

NLA votes Gen Prayuth to become 29th premier
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The National Legislative Assembly yesterday voted unanimously for junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha to be the 29th prime minister of Thailand.

He was the sole candidate for the job.

Prayuth was widely tipped to become the next prime minister after staging the coup in May. Before the assembly meeting yesterday, the only questions that remained were whether he would win unanimous approval or whether there would be other candidates.

Of the 197 NLA members, 191 voted for Prayuth while NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai and assembly vice presidents Surachai Liengboonlertchai and Peerasak Porchit abstained.

Three members were reportedly on sick leave.

Prayuth did not attend the meeting as he was not required to, and did not need to reveal his vision for the country. Instead, he attended a ceremony commemorating the 64th anniversary at the 21st Infantry Regiment of the Queen’s Guard in Chon Buri province.

An army of journalists arrived at Parliament early yesterday morning and there were a large number of security officers.

Before the meeting started, NLA members lined up for a group photo at 9am in a noticeably lively atmosphere, as members had got to know one other better through previous meetings.

Voting began at around 10 am, with Pornpetch detailing the voting procedures.

NLA member Tuang Antachai nominated Prayuth for the prime minister’s post, and the military-dominated assembly rushed to raise their hands to approve the proposal.

Pornpetch had to remind them that they still had to indicate their support on the electronic voting system.

The voting process went smoothly as members seemed to have collectively made up their mind.

The assembly president said he expected to submit Prayuth’s name as the new prime minister to His Majesty the King for royal endorsement later yesterday.

The economy must take priority, say key figures
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Economic advancement and integration into the Asean community are the great challenges for the Prime Minister-elect General Prayuth Chan-ocha, as the country is on the edge of recession while the door to regional integration has already been opened, diplomatic and business figures have said.

They said economic matters must be the priority for Prayuth’s government since the economy had slowed since late last year when anti-government groups started the protests that ended with the coup on May 22.

“I think one of the priorities will be to manage the economy. With a stable Thai economy, the regional economy will also perform better,” an Asean diplomat told The Nation when asked for a reaction after the National Legislative Assembly yesterday voted for Prayuth to become prime minister.

“Hopefully the new government will continue to think about Thailand’s integration into Asean, and also about the larger regional strategic picture,” said the diplomat, on condition of anonymity.

Lyn Kok, president and chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank (Thai), said that Prayuth’s priority must be to restore the confidence of foreign investors. She said one way to do that was by pushing infrastructure projects that could attract foreign investment.

The prime minister-elect should also try to boost Thai competitiveness as it was facing more challenges from more competitors being driven by integration of the Asean Economic Community at the end of next year.

Kok said neighbouring countries were enhancing their competitiveness to deal with the AEC, so Thailand had to do the same.

Darren Buckley, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, said foreign investors’ confidence in Thailand would not hurt by Prayuth becoming prime minister.

“The mix of the new Cabinet will be interesting since it is less obvious on what the set up is going to be, such as what is going to be the ratio of military personnel, and will there be a mixture of different political views within it,” he said.

Prayuth has not revealed his plan for the make up of the Cabinet. But it was reported that most ministers would come from the inner circle of the junta.

His deputies are tipped to become deputy prime ministers and ministers, taking care of key ministries.

Junta adviser Pridiyathorn Devakula is tipped to become a deputy prime minister overseeing economic matters while deputy junta chief Thanasak Patimaprakorn, a four-star general, could become foreign minister.

Stanley Kang, chair of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT), said foreign investors would be keeping an eye on the setting up of the new Cabinet and how it functioned.

Kang said everything seemed to be functional due to the respect that Prayuth had from the permanent secretaries and other government agencies. He was confident things would continue to run smoothly.

The JFCCT is due to meet with Prayuth in upcoming weeks to give its economic outlook for the next three to five years.

Sombat Kitjalaksana, managing director of Bangkok Metro Plc, said the junta had handled many challenges.

“I expect the rail system development, which is one of the biggest challenges facing the Prayuth government, will also be successful someday,” he said.

“Over the next 10 years, the country’s rail system will not be the same as it was in the past ten years. The rail system will be more systematic in terms of both the regulatory and business sphere.”

Business lobbies hail rise of Prayuth
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Business representatives say they are confident that the new prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, will drive the country’s economic growth.

Vallop Vitanakorn, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said yesterday that the junta chief was suitable for the position of prime minister and his new post would help speed up the National Council for Peace and Order’s national reform effort along with restoring foreign confidence in the country.

He said the appointment of the new PM would improve governance, boost investment, and support the recovery of the tourism industry, since Prayuth would be working with a new cabinet to continue with the national reform effort. He is also expected to implement measures to stimulate the economy as proposed by the private sector.

Vallop said the 2015 budget bill would be the top priority of the new cabinet and it should pass the second and third readings with ease, which should help stimulate the economy through the expected increase in investment.

Boonsithi Chokwatana, chairman of the Saha Group, said he wanted the new government and prime minister to make exports a priority concern. The economy has not recovered yet and the new government should first promote a strong export sector and keep the currency more stable, albeit a bit weaker.

He said that at the time the junta seized power on May 22, the baht was trading at 32.9 against the US dollar. However, it has been getting st

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says

Caitlin Ashworth



Burmese child contracted Covid-19 while crossing the border, report says | The Thaiger

The 2 year old Burmese child, who tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand, may have contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar, according to a report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department.

The department says they suspect the child was exposed to the virus while crossing the border from the Mae Sot border district in Tak to Myanmar’s Myawaddy town. The child’s parents worked in Ayutthaya and quit their jobs last month. The department says the toddler probably contracted the virus around September 4 to September 10 while the family was travelling.

The family crossed natural, unofficial passageways into Myanmar. The news website Xinhua says it was an “apparent intent to evade anti-pandemic measures at the Mae Sot border checkpoint.”

Those in Thailand who came in close contact with the family tested negative for the virus. 146 people who worked with the family at Ayutthaya migrant worker camps all tested negative for Covid-19. Those in close contact with the family in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, where the parents worked prior to Ayutthaya, tested negative as well. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Health officials are still investigating 2 apparent local transmissions of Covid-19. Earlier this month, a Bangkok DJ tested positive for Covid-19, breaking Thailand’s 100 day streak without a local transmission. The DJ tested positive for G strain of the virus, a more infectious strain that is typically found in imported cases detected during state quarantine rather than local transmissions. Health officials do not know where the DJ contracted the virus.

A Uzbek football player for the Buriram United team recently tested positive for Covid-19. He was asymptomatic and tested negative for the virus multiple times during quarantine after he arrived to Thailand. Although it seems like a local transmission, some health officials speculate the virus has a longer incubation period than 14 days.


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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020

The Thaiger



Thailand News Today | Amnesty finishes, protest round-up | September 21, 2020 | The Thaiger

Daily video news about Thailand with Tim Newton

Get a visa or go to jail.

Thai Immigration Tourists, and anyone else with a lapsed visa, ha ve only 5 days to renew their visa or they could get arrested. The current visa amnesty ends on September 26 and there isn’t going to be another sudden announcement for another grace period, according to immigration officials. Those who overstay will face arrest and be deported back to their home countries. Immigration officials estimate there are more than 150,000 foreign nationals who need to have their tourist visas renewed. Immigration officials said today that people without a valid visa after September 26 could face jail.

“Overstaying the tourist visa is punishable by both a jail term and fine under the Immigration Act.”

Some foreigners who arrived on tourist visas earlier in the year have been in Thailand since late March when the Thai borders closed and many international flights were cancelled due to the world coronavirus pandemic. The visa amnesty was renewed twice since many people were unable to their home countries, but now the amnesty is coming to an end this Saturday.

There were hopes that the end of the visa amnesty could co-incide with the introduction of the new Special Tourist Visa so that those either unable to leave, due to lack of flights or problems returning to their home countries, could ‘roll over’ onto the new 90 day visas. But that has not been announced at this stage and remains just wishful thinking. The best thing you can do, if you don’t currently have a valid visa to stay in Thailand, is urgently contact your embassy, make an appointment online at your nearest Immigration office, or speak to a professional visa agent. But, be warned, there are plenty of scammers posting official looking urgent posts in social media offering to issue you with a visa so you can stay in Thailand. Do your homework before spending money with any visa agent.

Weekend protest rallies draw 30,000 people but no formal response

Protesters gathered from early Saturday morning at the Thammasat Tha Prachan campus. Although officially denied permission to hold their protest on the Campus grounds, the demonstrators stormed the campus’s gates, without resistance from onlooking police or security officials. By the afternoon the crowd had reached some 30,000 people, less than the 50,000 expected but a lot more than the 15,000 expected by government officials in the lead up to the Saturday rally. Largely peaceful the protesters sat in the wet season drizzle to listen to speeches and performances before marching together to the adjacent royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang. Here the protest continued under the watchful eye of police, all unarmed, who barricaded off sensitive areas of the historic parade grounds and access to the Grand Palace.

The protest continued into the night and punctuated the themes of political freedom, new Democratic elections, the dissolution of the Thai parliament and, controversially, reforms to the country’s revered monarchy. On Sunday morning there was a symbolic placement of a brass plaque to commemorate the event, seen as a replacement to a similar plaque that commemorated the Siam Revolution in 1932 that mysteriously vanished in 2017. The protesters then marched to the Privy Council to officially hand over a copy of their 10 point manifesto.

Meanwhile, 45,000 books – a collection of speeches and poems by some of the protest leaders – were seized in a nearby Bangkok house. The books were to be handed out to protesters. 5 people were arrested at the time.

Alcohol banned at national parks after complaints of trash and drunk tourists Alcohol is now banned at national parks after tourists allegedly got drunk at a waterfall and others left a load of trash by their campsite. Just last week, trash left at a campsite at Khao Yai National Park was boxed up in a parcel and sent back to the campers. Other tourists were allegedly drunk and making a lot of noise at the Namtok Samlan National Park, Varawut says. He says both groups of tourists face charges for their actions.

• Alcohol is banned at national parks for the time being

• Loud noise is not allowed after 9pm and noise must be stopped at 10pm

• When renting a tent, tourists must provide identification, address and phone number

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MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest

Caitlin Ashworth



MP files complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the protest | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A member of parliament filed a complaint against 3 opposition MPs for allegedly joining the weekend’s pro-democracy protest where activists demanded reform of the Thai Monarchy. He’s also putting together a legal team aimed at dissolving the members’ 3 opposition parties.

Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjakha says he has a photo of the 3 members raising their hands in a 3 finger salute, a symbol of resistance against the military run government. He says the protest was illegal, and the location, the Royal Field next to the Grand Palace, is off limits to unauthorised people.

He filed the complaint with the Chanasongkhram police against Mongkolkit Suksintharanont, of the Thai Civilized Party, Peerawit Ruangluedolapark, of the Thai Rak Thai Party and Nattha Boonchai-insawat of the Kao Klai Party.

A legal team assigned by Sira will collect evidence and file a petition with the Constitutional Court calling on the dissolution of the 3 opposition parties: Thai Civilized Party, Thai Rak Thai Party and Kao Klai Party.

He says he also plans to ask the House Speaker to investigate the 3 members to determine if they breached the parliament’s ethical conduct.


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