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More delays for next February’s election?

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More delays for next February’s election? | The Thaiger

PHOTO: On the lookout for next year’s election – The Nation

February 2019 is just six months away, the deadline for the long-awaited, and must postponed, Thai general election.

Although the junta have ‘promised’ that THIS will be the date for Thailand’s return to democracy, an increasing amount of politicians are starting to wonder if the deadline will be met.

In recent months the Thai PM has been spending a lot more time in Thailand’s north-east – the hot bed of red shirt dissent with many in the agriculture-heavy Isan region still remembering the ‘good old days’ of the Thaksin administrations.

Thaksin Sinawatra, then his sister Yingluck, played the numbers game using by ‘pork-barreling‘ the population-heavy centres in the north-east to sway any election.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, happy to be seen as the ‘uncle’ who swept the elected Yingluck government away and installing a military government, now seems to me manoeuvring himself into a position where he could continue his premiership after the next election, whenever it is held.

The uncertainty about next year’s election stems from a recent move by a group of 36 members of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly to amend the organic law on the Election Commission, specifically regarding the appointment of 616 provincial election inspectors for all provinces, including Bangkok Metropolis. Take a big breath and read on…

The job of these inspectors – an average of eight for each province – is to ensure that the election is conducted freely and fairly.  They will have the authority to monitor voting and do spot check at polling stations. The inspectors are also empowered to monitor conduct of poll officials and detect irregularities.

Thai PBS explains that, under the proposed amendments by the 36 NLA members, a selection committee of each province will select the election inspectors. In the case of Bangkok, the selection committee is made up of the city clerk as the panel chairman, chief of the election department of the Supreme Court, a representative from the Attorney-General’s Office, the metropolitan police commissioner and one representative each from the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Bankers Association.

For the other provinces, the selection committee is made up of the provincial governor as the panel chairman, a provincial chief judge, the provincial chief prosecutor, the provincial police chief, chairman of the provincial chamber of commerce and chairman of the provincial industrial association.

In other words, the legislators are not happy with what they see as the arbitrary nature of the appointment process used by the outgoing Election Commission. They see the list of election inspectors already drawn up as people with suspected links one way or another to political parties or interest groups.

What they want is for the incumbent Election Commission to leave the job of appointing election inspectors to the new commission whose appointment is pending royal approval.

But outgoing Election Commission chairman Supachai Somcharoen begs to differ.  He argued that his panel is legally bound to nominate the inspectors otherwise they could be faulted for omission of duty.  Supachai also said the new Election Commission can always remove any of the inspectors it believes to be unqualified.

Critics see the move by the NLA members as an attempt to delay the election.

More delays for next February's election? | News by The Thaiger

Supachai Somcharoen, outgoing Election Commission chairman

Thai PBS reports that, under the Constitution, the next general election can be held only after all the election-related laws take effect. NLA vice president Surachai Liangboonlertchai  has tried to allay such fear, claiming that it would not in any way upset the political roadmap. But he insisted on the right of NLA members to seek amendments to the law. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan also said he believed the political roadmap will not be affected by the proposed amendments.

But former Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Worachai Hema is not convinced.  He said he suspected that the attempt to amend the law is a tactic to delay the election out of fears that political parties allied with the military junta would not win the election.

And this is one of the few issues on which the two erstwhile political opponents – Pheu Thai and the Democrats – share an area in common.

Democrat deputy leader Nipit Intharasombat has also raised a red flag. He said he believed the NLA members are acting on behalf of certain groups of people who want to see the election delayed. If the process of appointing the election inspectors is prolonged, the election could be postponed to May, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Somchai Sawaengkarn, the secretary of the NLA’s extraordinary committee or “whips”, said the NLA members are still in the process of gathering opinions and feedbacks from all stake-holders on the proposed amendments which have yet to be formally put on the NLA’s agenda.

He noted that the process of amending such an important organic law could take up to a year, considering the need for public hearings as constitutionally required.  And the term of NLA would already have expired by the time the amendments are adopted.

SOURCES: Thai PBS, The Thaiger



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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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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui

The Thaiger

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Infamous ‘large’ passenger dies in Koh Samui | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Sun

A 200 kilogram tourist, who forced flight crews to wipe his bum as he moaned with pleasure in January, has died on Koh Samui.

The American, who hasn’t been named, died whilst staying on the Gulf island due to an undisclosed illness. But he has left an indelible memory in his wake.

At the same time, as the news emerged about his demise, EVA Air were putting plans in motion to ban the oversize traveller from flying with their airline ever again.

The man shocked readers is January when he was accused of forcing cabin crew to strip him in a cramped airline toilet (remember this guy weighed 200 kilograms) and wipe his bum while he “moaned with pleasure”.

The incident occurred on an EVA Air long-haul flight from LA to Taiwan’s Taoyuan Airport and was covered extensively on world media.

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

A flight attendant, who on the same flight, described how the passenger boarded the plane in a wheelchair and then insisted on having three adjoining seats in economy class due to his size. He then demanded to use the plane’s business class lavatory, as he couldn’t fit into the economy toilets.

But (put down your food if eating) while in the toilet, he demanded cabin crew strip him down so he could relieve himself, saying he had an arm injury that prevented him from doing it himself.

“I told him we couldn’t help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in there immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor. As the passenger’s genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty.”

“But he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn’t want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet.”

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

The flight attendant who ‘assisted’ the man should be awarded lots of medals and a lifetime supply of latex gloves

The passenger then asked crew to wipe his bum for him leading him to groan as the chief attendant fulfilled his request while wearing three pairs of latex gloves.

“He said: ‘Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper,’ and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again,” recalled the attendant, who was holding onto the passenger to keep him steady.

She said the attendant repeated the action three times before the man said, “You can pull my pants back up now.”

The two female flight attendants involved, who both said they were traumatised by the incident in January, are both on extended paid leave.

The Sun.co.uk, reporting this story, says that “Party island Ko Samui – the second largest island in Thailand – is known for its prostitution and seedy nightlife.”

Despite the source, the incident has been widely reported by ‘respectable media’ on January 20 this year, and the large man has indeed passed away on Koh Samui.

SOURCE: The Sun

Infamous 'large' passenger dies in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

‘The Sun’ confuses Koh Samui with Walking Street

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Average hotel prices drop in Thailand in 2018

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Average hotel prices drop in Thailand in 2018 | The Thaiger

The latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) released by Hotels.com reveals no sign of a slowdown for the global travel industry. Prices are up for overnight accommodation by 3% globally in 2018 across every regional index, except for the Pacific region, including Thailand.

Hotel.com has 85 websites in 34 languages, and lists over 325,000 hotels in approximately 19,000 locations. Its inventory includes hotels and B&Bs, and some condos and other types of commercial lodging.

Travellers to and around Thailand paid an average price of 1,720 baht a night for their domestic accommodation last year, a 7% drop compared to 2017, and paid the same average price of 4,437 baht a night for international accommodation in both 2018 and 2017.

The growth in travel comes despite global uncertainties including Brexit, California wildfires, South African drought and Japanese earthquakes. Travellers also showed resilience and renewed confidence in destinations touched by unrest: Paris, Egypt, Turkey; regions experiencing currency fluctuation: South America; and areas affected by natural disaster: North America.

Despite the overall growth in global accommodation prices, average prices paid for domestic accommodation in Thailand have decreased, with average prices for international beds remaining stable.

SOURCE: The Nation | Hotel.com

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