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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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Thailand

Officials mull over new guidelines for this year’s Songkran water festival

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Officials mull over new guidelines for this year’s Songkran water festival | The Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

With Thailand’s massive water festival, Songkran, set to go on next month, officials are now mulling over potential guidelines to help reduce the risk of Covid-19. The culture minister says there is talk of setting up so-called “water play” areas that allow the water fights and splashes with a Covid-19 check-in at the entrance. Pattaya News says face shields, goggles and raincoats could be required in the splash zones, but the idea is still being discussed.

The Thai new year has become an annual water fight with massive events in popular tourist destinations like Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Culture minister Itthiphol Khunplume says the “water play” zones are likely to be set up in areas with major events. In a previous report, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said people will need to abide by social distancing rules during the festival.

The government is also reviewing disease control guidelines for traditional activities like pouring scented water over religious objects and monk processions.

The Pattaya News says the government plans to hold a meeting next Monday to discuss Songkran guidelines as well as other Covid-related subjects like the length of the mandatory quarantine for travellers entering Thailand.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Business

Vietjet CEO, dreams to transform the world

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Vietjet CEO, dreams to transform the world | The Thaiger
VietJet CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao: “It is not technology that transforms the world but the human’s dreams; technology is merely a means, and it is created from the dreams of the people.”

“Start-ups shouldn’t ‘save on’ dreams but rather dream big and realise them by simple acts each day at your business or organisation.”

Meet the tour-de-force behind the establishment of VietJet, one of the region’s most successful aviation start ups.

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Any first-timers meeting Vietnam’s only self-made female billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao will be taken aback by the opposites she harbours. A petite woman with a bright smile always on her face, Nguyen will talk in her soft voice about her business motto… once you dream, dare to dream big.

‘Dream big and realise them’

Nguyen has been popular in the business since her young days studying abroad. Her hard work has paid off when she became a millionaire at the age of 21 – not a usual dream for a college student. But Nguyen is different. She strives to be the pioneer of everything she does by bravely conquering all challenges.

Upon returning to Vietnam, Nguyen has quickly made her appearance widely noticed by her successful investments in the finance-banking and aviation sectors. She is now the CEO of Vietjet Air and the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of HDBank.

To many young Vietnamese start-ups, Nguyen is the big inspiration and a role model for them to follow.

“Start-ups shouldn’t ‘save on’ dreams but rather dream big and realise them by simple acts each day at your business or organisation. We ourselves have turned the impossible into possible and made our dream come true. Millions for the first time have been able to fly and I’m extremely happy to learn that they are not only Vietnamese but people from other countries who have boarded a Vietjet flight for the first time.”

The billionaire’s motto has also inspired her own employees at Vietjet and HDBank to keep their dreams alive despite all adversities. Regardless of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impacts on the economy, the staff at Vietjet and HDBank are confident of their company’s new business strategy and solutions to overcome the pandemic.

Nguyen even envisions Vietnamese enterprises leading and creating a global sentiment by developing them into multinational, multicultural companies and integrating the most cutting-edge technologies.

“We need to be the pioneer of the digitalisation and automation trend in the industrial revolution 4.0 – the key factors for growth.”

Her message is realised at Vietjet as the airline has recruited nearly 6,000 employees coming from 50 countries and territories on its way to revolutionise the aviation sector of Vietnam, the region and the world. HDBank, meanwhile, has particularly grown by more than 20 times in the last decade after 30 years of relentless innovation since establishment.

‘An inspirer of kindness’

Recognised as a successful businesswoman, Nguyen though never thought of making money the ultimate goal of business. The values her company can create, especially for the sake of the community, is what truly matters to her. Nguyen also highly regards business ethics, stressing that “honesty will guide us to do the good things for the society”.

Nguyen has initiated the “Wings of Love” program to grant scholarships and gifts to children at orphanages and poor families, as well as to give winter clothes to children in remote regions.

“I understand more about the responsibility of the company and that of each of us to the community every time being on a charity trip and realise how brilliant the idea of our CEO, Mrs Thao, is. We all call her an inspirer of kindness,” a Vietjet employee said.

In addition to the “Wings of Love” program, HDBank has also supported the national chess sport via the HDBank Cup International Chess Tournament for the last 10 years, preparing the ground for the internationally famous chess players like Quang Liem and Truong Son. The bank has also organised the HDBank Futsal with a long-term goal of improving the physical health of young Vietnamese.

Despite unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, Vietjet and HDBank are still committed to charity activities. The airline has helped to bring hundreds of thousands of passengers back to their home countries like South Korea, Japan and China, while operating hundreds of repatriation flights during the pandemic. It also gave 2.5 million of face masks to the people in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States. Vietjet’s aircrafts have transported thousands of tons of medical equipment and essential goods to the people under social distancing as well as urgently delivered relief cargo to the flooded Central region.

The female billionaire and her employees have cooked and distributed more than 100,000 meals to disadvantaged people like motorbike taxi drivers or street lottery sellers. HDBank has launched special credit packages in support of those who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, while granting 1,000 premium hospital beds to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health and another thousands of health insurance passes to the people.

The popular magazine Tatler has honoured Nguyen as one of the 110 Asian figures in philanthropic activities due to her lasting acts of kindness through years.

Vietjet CEO, dreams to transform the world | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

Woman’s charred remains found near northern Thailand rubber plantation

The Thaiger

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Woman’s charred remains found near northern Thailand rubber plantation | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ หน่วยกู้ภัยพิษณุโลก มูลนิธิประสาทบุญสถาน (Phitsanulok Rescue)

The charred remains of a 19 year old woman was found near a rubber plantation in Phitsanulok, a province in northern Thailand. Police say the woman’s 18 year old boyfriend, a murder suspect, turned himself in.

Jularat Kongkaew was reported missing on February 27. She had left her home the previous afternoon with her boyfriend, a Mathayom 6 student (equivalent to a high school senior), who said he was taking Jularat to see a doctor, according to Jularat’s mother.

Police received a report about the remains of a woman’s body in the Ban Muang Hom district at around 7am yesterday. Along with the charred remains of Jularat’s body, investigators found 3 burned car tyres.

After the remains were found, the victim’s boyfriend turned himself in to the Kaeng Sopha police.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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