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Loosening the shackles, nid noi

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Loosening the shackles, nid noi | The Thaiger

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by Kas Chanwanpen, Khanittha Theppajon

Thai politicians are giving a cautious thumbs up to the junta’s easing of political restrictions that have been in place since the 2014 coup – but they say more has to be done to allow political parties to better prepare for next year’s election.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that the ban on political activities would be partially relaxed from next month ahead of the election that is expected to be held between February and May, 2019. In effect, the leader assured that the road map to democracy would go ahead as promised.

His remarks came after the weekly meeting of the ruling junta National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Prayut said the NCPO had initially agreed that the ban should be relaxed soon after the final two electoral legislations were promulgated. He was referring to the organic laws on MP elections and the Senate structure, which are expected to get royal endorsement next month.

“So, everything follows the same schedules [announced earlier],” Prayut said.

“The earliest date possible is February 24, and it can be held on any Sunday as recommended by the Election Commission. The |government has no intention to delay the election any further.”

Political activities that will be allowed include the selection of party executives, membership applications and the selection of MP candidates, Prayut said.

The relaxation should help solve every electoral problem facing political parties, he said.

Parties and politicians have been paralysed since the junta took power in 2014 and imposed restrictions, citing the need for peace and order. The ban continued even after the new Constitution was put in place, stopping them from making preparations for the first election in five years.

Deputy leader of the Democrat Party, Ongart Klampaiboon, say it was a good sign that Prayut had finally cleared up the matter, though he still wanted to see details of the move to determine if it was practical.

“This is just a general direction. We’ll still have to see what the new order will bring,” he said. “Our party just wants an order that will allow us to make preparations for the election as required by the organic laws. We don’t mind partial lifting and full lifting of the ban being done separately.”

Ongart was referring to the fact that the initial easing would only give politicians a certain degree of freedom, while the entire lifting of the ban would come later this year.

Future Forward Party’s deputy leader Chamnan Chanruang said his party was confident it would be able to meet any requirements, but whether the premier’s word could be taken seriously was another matter.

Future Forward has campaigned for the election and will continue to do so regardless of the ban, he said.

“The party never paid attention to such limitations, and when it’s officially lifted, we’ll just proceed accordingly,” Chamnan said.

Chart Thai Pattana Party director Nikorn Chamnong also welcomed NCPO’s move, saying political parties need to be able to move more freely, particularly on urgent tasks, such as member recruitment and primary voting preparations, ahead of the general election.

Pheu Thai politician Worawat Auapinyakul yesterday called for a complete removal of the ban so parties can start campaigning in time for the ballot.

“The primary voting system has been a hurdle to all parties,” Worawat said. “Those new parties will have to seek trustworthy representatives and members in every constituency they’re going to contest. Even the Pheu Thai Party will have to do lots of work in constituencies where we don’t have an MP.”

Read the full story from The Nation HERE.



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Thailand

Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Thailand is ‘least miserable’ country in the world again | The Thaiger

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he’s delighted over Thailand’s rating as the “least miserable” economy in the latest Bloomberg Misery Index. The annual Misery Index is calculated as the sum of a country’s inflation and unemployment rates.  The index compares the average of economists’ forecasts for each country.

The US moved six places to 13th least miserable and the UK improved four spots to 16th least.

Thailand scored 2.1 in the 2019 Index, which was the same score it received last year, making it the “least miserable” country out of 62 economies as rated by Bloomberg. Switzerland improved to second least miserable. Venezuela was rated the “most miserable economy” with inflation projected at about six million percent this year.

But Bloomberg says that Thailand is often rated least miserable due, in large part, to its rather unorthodox way of counting employment as well as their low fertility rate and aging population.

The Bank of Thailand lists Thailand’s unemployment rate at 0.9 percent and inflation at 1.1 for last year.

Thailand is 'least miserable' country in the world again | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Phuket seastead being removing by Thai Navy today | The Thaiger

Navy officers are in the process of dismantling and removing the Phuket seastead today.

About 300 navy officers are currently in the process removing the structure off the south east coast of the island. The operation is expected to be done by today, according to a spokesperson. The seastead will be kept at the Phuket Deap Sea Port as evidence in the case against the builders, Ocean Builders, and Thai/American couple who had been ‘living’ there for a short time.

The Phuket Vice Governor Supot Rodrueng Na Nongkhai says documents will be summited to the Office of Attorney General within one week.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court will force the Thai Government to test its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute on friday, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said Thai officials could remove the floating structure from the seas off the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

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Plastics

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | The Thaiger

By the end of 2019 Thailand will be free from three types of plastic – microbeads, cap seals and oxo-degradable plastics.

Then by 2022 four other types of single-use plastics will also be banned – lightweight plastic bags less than 36 microns thick; styrofoam food containers for takeaways; plastic cups and plastic straws – according to a road map approved by the Cabinet.

The Plastic Waste Management Road Map 2018-2030 also includes an ambitious plan for Thailand to use 100 per cent recycled plastic by 2027 in various forms, including turning waste into energy.

The Cabinet has acknowledged the road map and assigned the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry to formulate a draft action plan for plastic waste management, so it is in line with the 20-year national strategy.

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

The Cabinet also called for clear details on related agencies’ role in the integration of the work for managing plastic waste, which will also get huge participation from the private and business sectors. The related state agencies should create various mechanisms to propel this forward such as creating a good understanding among agencies, continuously implementing a public relations campaign via social media to achieve the set goals, the Cabinet instructed.

The work procedure must consider lifecycle plastic-waste management so steps are taken from the very start: with plastic products designed applying the “Eco Design” approach, manufacturing and post-consumption disposal which will include garbage separation, transport and storing, recycling and proper disposal.

According to the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, Thais generate as much as 1.14 kilogram of garbage per head per day, contributing to the 27.04 million tonnes of waste per year.

One person uses approximately eight plastic bags a day – or 500 million plastic bags per day for the whole nation.

Most of the plastic waste ends up in the oceans, accounting for 16% of garbage in the seas.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thailand to ban three kinds of plastic by end of this year | News by The Thaiger

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