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Judgment day for Yingluck

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Judgment day for Yingluck | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Judgment day for former PM Yingluck
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Pressure is mounting on the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), which votes today on whether to impeach former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and two former parliamentary speakers accused of wrongdoings.

Supporters and detractors of the three targeted politicians – Ms Yingluck, former Parliament president Somsak Kiartsuranon and his ex-deputy Nikom Wairatpanij – have urged the NLA members to vote with their conscience.

Social media yesterday was agog with campaigns from both sides. People supporting impeachment said it was a necessary step towards national reform while those opposing impeachment warned of renewed conflicts if the NLA votes to punish the trio.

Observers, meanwhile, expect the impeachment vote to polarize the nation. “No matter which way it goes, there will be those who agree and those who disagree. It won’t please everyone,” Reuters quoted NLA vice president Peerasak Porchit as saying.

Either way, the vote would create dissension against the junta, said Paul Chambers, director of research at Chiang Mai University’s Institute of South East Asian Affairs. “Ultimately, no matter which way the NLA votes, it will create dissension against the NCPO by either pro- or anti-Thaksin elements of Thai society,” he said, referring to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Support from at least three-fifths of the 220-member NLA, or 132 votes, is required to impeach any of the targeted politicians.

An impeached politician will face a five-year ban from holding political office.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) accused Ms Yingluck of negligence of duty by failing to curb corruption in her government’s rice-pledging scheme, and former House speaker Somsak and Senate ex-speaker Nikom of violating the constitution while chairing parliamentary meetings on charter amendments.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which held street protests against Ms Yingluck’s government, yesterday called on the NLA members to decide with their conscience.

“It is now the NLA’s task to prove that morality and ethics exist in Thai society,” PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said in a phone interview with The Nation.

He said Ms Yingluck failed to provide satisfactory answers to NACC’s accusations in her closing statement.

Red-shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana yesterday said Ms Yingluck is the latest of the people close to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who are victims of “political persecution”.

He also said that as the country has been under the control of the National Council for Peace and Order, the red shirts have been unable to do much in campaigning publicly about this matter.

A politician from Ms Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party, Somkid Chueakong, said yesterday that he expected increased voter support for the party in the next general election if the NLA votes to impeach Ms Yingluck. Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday criticized certain red-shirt leaders for having warned that a decision to impeach Ms Yingluck could lead to bloodbath or riots.

“Such talk is not good for the country, which is now progressing well. They must use more brains before such talk,” he said.

Mr Prawit, who is also deputy PM, said the government was not seeking revenge or acting against anyone. “We are just solving the country’s problems and helping the country to move forward.”

Yingluck ‘satisfied’

Meanwhile, Ms Yingluck said after presenting her closing statement before the NLA that she felt satisfied for “explaining everything” to the assembly members. “I feel happy,” she said when asked to describe her feelings.

Ms Yingluck’s lawyers were also satisfied with her explanations in response to all the allegations against her, said Pichit Chuenban, one of the legal team members.

He also said that NACC member Wicha Mahakhun, who represented the agency in presenting the closing statement yesterday, appeared to rely on rhetoric in a bid to persuade the NLA members.

The lawyer also urged NLA members to carefully consider all the documents presented by Ms Yingluck’s legal team to support her case, before voting today.

Mr Wicha yesterday also voiced satisfaction with his closing statement. “Whether the NLA will vote for impeachment or not, we have created a new standard for the country’s reform,” he said. Before leaving Parliament yesterday, the ex-PM was handed flowers by a small group of supporters. Ms Yingluck is expected to watch a broadcast of the NLA vote today at SC Park Hotel, which is owned by her family, according to a source close to her.

Starting at 10am, the NLA is scheduled to hold a secret ballot whether to impeach Mr Somsak and Mr Nikom, followed by a vote on Ms Yingluck’s case later in the day.

NLA member Wanlop Tangkananurak said that after listening to their closing remarks yesterday, he feels that both sides had not produced any new information that was different from their opening remarks last week.

He stressed that reconciliation and impeachment are entirely different issues and the NLA members should make decisions based strictly on legal principles.

“I can’t answer for other NLA members but mention of the word ‘reconciliation’ was less frequent during our impeachment conversation,” he said.

Regarding the contrasting information produced by both sides, including the estimated total loss caused by the rice scheme, Mr Wanlop said in his opinion the official figure produced by the Rice Scheme Accounting Committee, which the NACC used as its reference, has more credibility because it came from an official committee.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Noodle shop ‘taking the piss’ with special ingredient

The Thaiger

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Noodle shop ‘taking the piss’ with special ingredient | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: sanook.com

Thai Facebook page ‘Return.v12’ has posted a storey about people who believe in the “power of urine” and that it can heal body pain and diseases. The noodle shop owner admitted that he has been using his own urine as a “secret ingredient” and that he has a lot of customers because of it.

He claims that his customers tell him that his noodles makes their muscle pain go away but admits he hasn’t told them about the additional surprise ingredient.

Ever since he added the secret ingredient to the noodles his sales have improved. He also attached a picture of his noodles.

Another member of the Facebook group asked the question…

“Hello, urine can be used in food right? I own a restaurant in the middle of a city, if I add my urine to the dishes would it make my food more delicious and would my customers gain better health? I’ll add more for those who come from this group.”

We don’t know where the noodle shop is.

“My family owns a noodle shop. Many people in the area come to my shop. Many of them are workers coming in for lunch. My customers often told me that they had back pain and muscle pain. I didn’t know how to help them, I wanted to tell them the truth but I didn’t want to seem weird about it.”

“So I took the issue into my own hands and started adding my own urine into the soup pot. Customers started loving my noodles, they tell me how their pain has gone away since they started eating my noodles. Some even asked if I had a secret ingredient haha.”

No photos were available of the cook adding the secret ingredient.

SOURCE: sanook.com | ThaiResidents.com

Noodle shop 'taking the piss' with special ingredient | News by The Thaiger

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Opinion

Saving Thai Airways

Tim Newton

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Saving Thai Airways | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The pleasant smile and wai won’t fill aircraft seats anymore

Whilst it’s always a generally pleasant experience flying Thai Airways, the airline, in a business sense, is a basket case racking up nearly a decade of losses, first under the Yingluck Shinawatra Government and then the military government of the NCPO.

Most people in aviation circles agree on the main challenges for the national carrier.

• Entrenched nepotism and cronyism
• Top heavy management
• Contracts for older staff which do not reflect aviation business realities in 2019
• Uncompetitive pricing

So do what QANTAS did in Australia in 2003.

QANTAS was Australia’s legacy airline which had similar long-standing contracts and Union issues that made it difficult for the national carrier to compete in the modern aviation business. It battled for decades with the staff, all on cushy contracts, and the Unions were resistant to change as well.

So they started JetStar, a completely separate company headquartered in Melbourne, but under the wider QANTAS banner. It would take over the ‘leisure’ routes and compete as a low-cost carrier. As QANTAS slowly moved routes over to its cheaper subsidiary the parent airline had a much better argument to pay-out the older, uncompetitive contracts and lay-off the ‘old pot boilers’.

JetStar was not a glamorous airline and lacked the reputation and brand-love of the ‘flying kangaroo’ but, as a business strategy, was a winner for QANTAS and gave them options to modernise the national airline business. The CEO, Alan Joyce, came through Aer Lingus in Ireland then the failing Ansett Airlines in Australia to completely turn Australia’s national carrier upside-down. The strategy worked.

The model has been repeated by other national airlines.

Thai Airways sort of tried the same strategy with Thai Smile in 2012. The offshoot of the parent Thai Airways International, would fly leisure routes for the national carrier but it was still owned entirely by Thai Airways and wasn’t set up as a separate entity so was subject to much of the same ‘handbrakes’ that was holding back Thai Airways from competition in the modern aviation market.

Brand Thai Airways is starting to look a bit tired. The Thai smile, orchids, pleasant staff wai-ing to the camera is all a bit naff when most customers in 2019 are looking for a safe, efficient, on-time airline, at a competitive price. Let’s face it, the seating is much the same, give or take, in just about any plane now. Unless you have the deeper pockets and can afford to sit closer to the front of the plane, you’re in cattle class whether you’re on Thai Airways, Air Asia or RyanAir. A Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 is much the same aeroplane no matter who is flying it.

So what does Thai Airways have to offer customers these days that they won’t get on the many alternatives airlines flying on the same routes? Nice uniforms? A Thai stir-fry included in your airfare? (I’m battling to think of anything else…)

At the same time their website , whilst much improved in the past 12 months, is still a bit ‘clumsy’ compared to other airlines’, the fleet is starting to look a bit ‘tired’, the eight years of loss after loss is starting to noticeably weigh on the airline’s staff, and in many cases the airfares are simply too expensive.

Unless you’re a huge Thai Airways fanboy or fangirl, there are fewer reasons every year to keep flying Thailand’s national airline.

Thailand’s surging tourist industry, which despite a few blips this year will continue to grow, has provided a huge opportunity for Thai Airways to thrive and grow. Instead the airline’s management have squandered an enormous opportunity. Whilst calling for patience as they make (almost zero) changes, many other airlines have jumped into their flying space with newer aircraft, better promotions, cheaper flights and a better business plan.

If Thai Airways was a private company they would have been out of business a decade ago. Instead they keep coming back to the Thai government with their hat out for contributions to bail them out of quarter after quarter of losses.

The airline’s main backer, the Thai government, provides a massive disincentive for the airline to clean up the internal mess and modernise. Where’s the urgency to make the necessary changes when the government will always end up bailing them out? The airline has simply weaponised ‘saving face’ – the national carrier simply CAN’T fail.

But maybe the view of Thai Airways as a potential profitable business is old-fashioned and the costs to the Thai taxpayer should be seen as an ‘investment’ into the country’s growing tourist industry. Middle Eastern airlines are operated in this way where they make massive losses but provide excellent service on modern aircraft dragging tourists through and to their airports and destinations.

Now Thai Airways is asking for the Thai government to bankroll the purchase of new aircraft for its fleet. That the Thai Government seems in no rush to write out any more cheques to Thai Airways is a good indication that some hard decisions now need to be made.

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Environment

Thailand Prime Minister rejects calls to ban plastic bags

May Taylor

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Thailand Prime Minister rejects calls to ban plastic bags | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

In what some may see as a baffling contradiction, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha promised to protect marine life, while simultaneously rejecting an increasing number of calls for a ban on single-use plastic bags.

Following the death of Marium, a young dugong who had ingested plastic waste, the PM says he has ordered the agencies concerned to take more measures to protect sea life.

Of particular concern to the PM is the fate of another young dugong.

“Yamil must not die”.

The PM says the use of some plastic will be banned by 2022, including single-use plastic bags, but insists the issue is not solely the government’s responsibility.

“Everyone has a duty to help reduce plastic waste. It is unfair and pointless to blame the government when sea animals die due to marine waste. This issue is everyone’s responsibility,” he maintains.

A conservation plan known as the “Marium Project” has been approved by the cabinet, along with a number of other proposals to protect marine life, specifically dugongs.

Among them is a plan to create more dugong conservation areas such as Koh Libong in Trang province, where Marium was looked after.  The chosen sites should have beaches rich in sea-grass, a preferred food source for the dugong.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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