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His Majesty endorses provisional constitution

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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His Majesty endorses provisional constitution | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

NCPO chief gets full control of security
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: His Majesty The King has endorsed a provisional charter that puts the chief of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in charge of national security, allowing him to suppress any action both inside and outside the Kingdom that could be considered a threat to national peace, security, economy or the monarchy.

Article 44 of the provisional Constitution stipulates that all orders from the junta chief, with the endorsement of the NCPO, on those matters are final.

The 2014 provisional Constitution, comprised of 48 Articles, stipulates that the NCPO will continue in its current status. Moreover, the junta chief or the PM can call a meeting with the NCPO and Cabinet to discuss issues related to national security. Article 48 of the provisional charter also gives the NCPO amnesty for its coup.

The charter stipulates that the 220 members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) would be selected by the NCPO and appointed by His Majesty.

The government would comprised of a prime minister and a 35-member Cabinet, who will be nominated by the NLA and then appointed by His Majesty.

The National Reform Council’s 250 members will be nominated by the NCPO and then appointed by His Majesty. The members will be representatives from each province and different civic groups.

The Constitution drafting committee will be comprised of 36 members appointed by the chairman of the National Reform Council, while the drafting committee’s chairman will be named by the NCPO. The rest of the committee will comprise of 20 members nominated by the National Reform Council; five by the NLA; five by the Cabinet and five by the NCPO.

Once the charter is ready, the National Reform Council and the charter drafting committee must continue to collaborate on organic laws.

Members of the NLA, the National Reform Council, the Cabinet and the Constitution drafting committee must not be political party members or political office holders over the past three years.

Meanwhile, NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha was granted an audience with His Majesty at Klai Kangwon Palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan at 5pm. He was handed the royally endorsed provisional Constitution.

This the first time that the junta chief was granted an audience with His Majesty since the military seized power two months ago.

This provisional charter is meant to kick-start the second phase of the junta’s roadmap for national reforms and reconciliation.

According to the junta’s road map, a general election would be held by October next year. The military took power on May 22 to restore order in the country after months of turmoil and political protests aimed at bringing down the elected government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Deputy NCPO chief General Paiboon Koomchaya, in charge of legal issues, and NCPO legal adviser Wissanu Krea-ngam will hold a press conference on the provisional charter this morning.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamathee said the provisional charter would help convince the international community that the ruling junta would pursue its road map and complete it on schedule.

He said it was good that currently the governments of European Union countries, the United States, and Australia had shown a better understanding of the situation in Thailand.

They are now focusing on the details and the process of the road map instead of condemning the coup, he claimed.

“They [foreign communities] will keep their eyes on the NCPO’s role and power after the charter comes into effect; who will be appointed as prime minister and the composition of the cabinet,” he said.

It is the ministry’s duty to assure them that Thailand would follow the road map back to democracy, he said.

Moreover, the ministry will ensure that after national reforms, Thailand will maintain diplomatic relations with other countries and try to enhance the Kingdom’s role in cooperation with international communities.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December

The Thaiger

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Points deduction system for drivers to be introduced mid-December | The Thaiger

The point deduction system, for traffic and road infringements, is tentatively scheduled for activation for motorists and motorcyclists in mid-December. It is hoped that the system will help reduce road fatalities and injuries on Thai roads.

The deputy commander of Highways Police Command says that every licensed driver will be given an allocation of 12 points. Each time the driver commits a traffic law violation, points will be deducted. When there are no points left, the driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days, after which the driver or motorcyclist will have to undergo training administered by the Land Transport Department to get their licence back, and another 12 points.

Those who don’t attend the training, however, will have their licence returned after 90 days, but with only 8 points.

Points to be deducted differ, depending on the offence. Offences are divided into four categories:

• One point deduction

Using a cell-phone while driving; exceeding the speed limit; not wearing crash helmets for motorcyclists; not wearing seat belts; not giving way to emergency vehicles, riding on the sidewalk and not stopping for pedestrians on zebra crossings.

• Two points deduction

Running a red light; driving on the wrong side of the road; reckless driving; driving while his/her license is suspended and drunk driving.

• Three points deduction

Organising or promoting street racing without permission; hit-and run; driving while under the influence of narcotics; driving while under the influence of alcohol exceeding 150mg per ml.

• Four points deduction

Driving under the influence of alcohol exceeding 200mg per ml, drunk driving in a way which may cause serious injuries or death to the other people; driving in a manner disregarding the safety of the other people or causing trouble to other people.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget

May Taylor

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Opposition hits out at government’s military spending in 2020 budget | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Reuters | The Business Times

The opposition is accusing the government of being more concerned with military arms than the daily struggles of Thai citizens. During a debate in Parliament on the budget bill, the government was accused of caring more about the growth in military spending than citizens’ financial woes.

The opposition levied the attack after PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered the 3.2 trillion baht bill to the House of Representatives. The debate on the 2020 budget is expected to continue for two more days and if approved by Parliament, the bill will come into force early next year.

The PM says the budget aligns with the “20 year strategy” to improve the living standards of the nation’s citizens while growing the economy, but opponents accuse him of making defence spending a priority.

The leader of the opposition, Sompong Amornvivat, claims that in the five years the PM has been in power, total spending has hit 14.3 trillion baht, with loans of 2.2 trillion baht, without any significant growth in the economy. He accuses the government of spending more than 6 billion baht on defence, with the Interior Ministry getting 25 billion baht more than last year.

It’s also understood that the government has also put 518.8 billion baht aside, which it can spend as it wishes, without the consent of Parliament.

The government’s tourism stimulus plan, whereby domestic tourists would be given cash incentives, also came under fire as Sompong declared it a waste of money that would do nothing to boost productivity.

The subject of the PM’s oath-taking fiasco reared its head again, as the leader of the Seree Ruam Thai Party, Pol General Sereepisut Temiyavej declared the PM and his government unfit to rule or propose a budget bill as a result of it.

Anudit Nakorntab from the Pheu Thai party said the government should postpone unnecessary spending on military arms while the country’s citizens battle economic hardship, accusing the previous junta-led administration of also prioritising the military in its spending.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals

May Taylor

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Academics warn of high cost of Thai ban on agri-chemicals | The Thaiger

The chairman of the Thai Sugarcane Farmers Association, Thongkam Cheongklad, says a ban on the weed-killer paraquat would have a severe impact on production costs. Academics and Thai sugarcane farmers have also expressed their concern over the ban, saying it could cost the industry up to 570 billion baht.

The Nation reports that up to 1.2 million people working in the sugarcane industry are understood to be against the ban, saying the proposed paraquat substitute is both expensive and ineffective.

The president of the Thailand Society of Sugarcane Technologists, Kitti Choonhawong, says Thailand has approximately 11 million rai dedicated to sugarcane plantations, generating about 300 billion baht a year.

He claims that a ban on agri-chemicals may lower sugar production, which in turn would affect sugar factories and cause the export market to lose as much as 94.6 billion baht. Thailand is currently the world’s second biggest sugar exporter, behind Brazil.

A research director from the Thailand Development Institute says the ban could ultimately mean the country is not allowed to produce enough food, unless chemical fertilisers are still allowed if chemical pesticides are banned.

Viroj Na Ranong says production costs will still rise however, along with labour costs, adding that the government needs to do its homework.

“The government has to implement measures based on research, not on social trends and politics.”

It’s understood that The National Hazardous Substances Committee will meet on October 27 to decide if a ban on three chemicals currently used in farming will go ahead. The substances involved are paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos and the proposal is for them to be banned from December 1.

SOURCE: The Nation

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