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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Abhist digs in; Yingluck rejects protesters’ demands; Anand calls for mutual retreat, peace talks

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Abhist digs in; Yingluck rejects protesters’ demands; Anand calls for mutual retreat, peace talks | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Abhisit: Dems will strive to oust ‘Thaksin regime’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva Thursday insisted his party is determined to overthrow the “Thaksin regime”, saying the government had lost legitimacy.

He said the Democrats are ready to support popular movements conducted within constitutional limits.

Abhisit did not rule out the possibility of party MPs quitting in order to conduct the campaign.

“If it leads us to win the battle, we won’t hesitate [to do it] with unity,” he said.

“The Democrat Party is inviting everyone to join us in reforming the party in order to reform Thailand. Our aim is to uproot the Thaksin regime. If we succeed, we in the Democrat Party will not accept any post arising through unconstitutional means,” he said.

Mr Abhisit was speaking after chairing an urgent meeting with the party’s executive committee and MPs to discuss what role the party should play in the protests.

PM rejects protesters’ call for people’s council
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday urged protesters to leave all government offices, stop their rallies and hold talks with the government.

PM Yingluck went on TV at 1:50pm to insist that her government wanted to talk with protest leaders to find a solution for the country that would draw an end to the protracted political crisis.

She said the protesters should leave the government offices they are occupying so that government officials could continue to work to serve the people.

She added that the protests should end because the country is about to celebrate HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday.

The Prime Minister said the call for the establishment of a people’s council to reform the country could not be done under the current Constitution.

As a result, the protesters should hold talks with the government instead of continuing the protests.

PM Yingluck also expressed confidence that government officials would continue to work to serve the people even though the protests were making their work harder.

Anand calls for mutual retreat, peace talks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun speaks to Nation Multimedia Group’s editor-in-chief Thepchai Yong. The interview was conducted in Thai and translated by The Nation. Here are some excerpts:

Q : Do you see a way out of the prevailing situation?

A: Suthep Thaugsuban as well as the government can best answer your question. They are direct parties to the conflict.

I am not informed enough about the situation, though I believe that we shouldn’t be over-excited by what is happening on the streets.

Protest marches happen in other countries. During the racial struggle in the United States, millions of people marched in Washington DC demanding that then-president [John F] Kennedy issue a pledge for the civil-rights law.

This law came into effect in 1964, during the administration of president [Lyndon B] Johnson. Other countries, such as India, have also faced similar experiences. The march led by [Mahatma] Gandhi, if you remember, gave birth to civil disobedience.

Q : So, what is happening can be seen as normal in a democracy?

This is normal. In England, millions of people, including university students, marched to protest against what they saw as the country leaning too close to the US on the nuclear issue.

We should view this protest as normal and not an attempt to overthrow the political regime or not abiding by the rulebook.

England, the original model for Westminster democracy, or the US, as a model for the presidential system, have both experienced protest marches. France and Greece as well.

What I am pleased to note is that the prevailing Thai protest is unarmed. It may be noisy, caused by whistle-blowing or through musical entertainment or by other elements. But, in my opinion this is frivolous as long as the protest is peaceful and unarmed. I have to commend the government for not trying to do anything in the extreme.

Therefore, I see little chance for clashes to erupt. Of course, there will be exchanges of fiery words if you listen to statements made by either side of the conflict.

I still hope words do not lead to a breaking point, causing street fights.

As the situation stands, there seems to be no potential resolution involving the disputed parties.

But I hear some voices going in the right direction, such as proposals for reform. We have been preparing reports on reform for the past years and no one paid attention. Now everyone is interested in reform. The government as well as the Democrats have started speaking on the matter.

That is the next step but the immediate issue is how to resolve the tension.

If you can convince people to remain hopeful for a resolution, then the immediate tension will dissipate. It is important to set new agendas, which are not about dealing with existing feuds but diverting attention to national issues.

Some say the problem is Thaksin [Shinawatra]. Others say it is Abhisit [Vejjajiva] or Suthep. Yet others say it is the yellow and red shirts. I think this will only lead to an endless argument.

You cannot speedily wipe out deep-rooted perceptions. You have to create a diversion to focus on other issues that have plagued the country.

There have been a lot of proposals to resolve the situation, such as each side taking a step back. But in practice, there is no tangible way to implement this. In your opinion, who should be held responsible for signalling the stepping back?

All sides should talk quietly in order to make a mutual retreat. The talk about stepping back raises the world’s unsolved puzzle – which side will make the first move. The rivals should retreat at the same time.

Q : This means the rival camps should talk outside the glare of the media?

Before talking about reconciliation, you should touch on measures to dissipate tension or hatred. At present, a few television stations are seen as pro-reds. There also are those pro-blue and pro-yellow. A war of words is being carried out 24 hours a day.

Problems occur because some people fall prey to biased views. I think this rival broadcasting should cease.

Reconciliation can happen only after a quiet talk to work out the agreement on key issues, hence forging understanding and trust.

They need to engage in a dialogue before embarking on peace talks.

Q : As prime minister, Yingluck [Shinawatra] cannot avoid the responsibility of solving the problems.

No, she can’t.

Q : What do you want to see the country’s leader do at the moment to ease the situation? Maybe, at least some talks to find a solution and to see if any is possible?

Yingluck must present more of her leadership as now there is doubt that Thailand’s prime minister is Yingluck Shinawatra. They don’t believe this. It’s a question of perception versus reality.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Parliamentary protest, Dark days for hotels | September 25

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Parliamentary protest, Dark days for hotels | September 25 | The Thaiger

Daily TV news about Thailand, delivered fresh, and free, to you. Hosted by Tim Newton. Catch the latest updates and Thai News.

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat

Thailand’s MPs and Senators have kicked the constitutional can down the road at least a month after the parliament failed to agree on charter amendments yesterday.

A panel will be sent up to examine 6 motions that were proposed and debated over the past 2 days. The reality of the vote, and the setting up of an investigative committee, could push any votes on real reform well into 2021. The 2 Houses of Parliament voted 431-255 to delay the vote. Pheu Thai and the Move Forward Party described the vote as “a way to stall for time” complaining that the decision “was moving the country towards a dead end”.

Meanwhile, up to 2,000 protesters were gathered outside the unfinished parliamentary buildings as an act of solidarity for the MPs supporting the changes to the current Thai Constitution.

The protesters viewed the afternoon’s proceedings as a blunt stalling tactic to keep the current parliament, and its unelected senators, in power. The session ran until 8.30 last night. Rather than face the angry mob of anti-government protesters at the front of the building, most of the senators escaped on boat at the rear of the building, which backs onto Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

Bleak outlook for Thailand’s hotels

Thailand’s hotels are facing a very dark time with the Thai borders still largely closed and the vast majority of Thailand’s hotels remaining closed for business.

There are 1000s of hotels and a related millions of staff, waiting for things to improve. C9hotelworks.com MD, Bill Barnett, is one of the region’s most respected consultants for the industry. We asked Bill, how are they all surviving? (Run interview video… 2.56 – 3.35)

Officials says no illegal land encroachment at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort

After coming in for some negative online attention recently, the land title deeds of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort have been investigated and found “to be in order”.

The 5-star hotel first attracted the attention of netizens when its owner, Vorasit Issara, publicly criticised an anti-government activist.

His Instagram tirade prompted outrage from those who support the current protest movement, with netizens calling for a boycott of his property.

Shortly after, the Civil Society for State Welfare called on the Social Security Office to clarify its investment in the resort’s trust fund. This was echoed by at least one opposition MP and anti-corruption activists.

Responding to the land rights issue, the Phuket Land Office has issued a statement to say the hotel does not occupy state land.

Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree

Thailand’s Covid-19 task force is advising the government to extend the country’s state of emergency by a further month…again.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration plans to discuss the matter next Tuesday and put it to Cabinet for consideration on Wednesday.

The state of emergency, or emergency decree, which has been extended several times since its introduction in March, is due to expire at the end of this month. It has been extended, on a month by month basis, many times this year since it was introduced to short-circuit the process of implementation of Covid-19 preventative measures.

Now, the CCSA says an extension is vital to ensure various government agencies can work speedily as the county starts welcoming back visitors.

Phuket’s annual Vegetarian Festival goes ahead next month

Somehow Phuket’s annual vegetarian festival is to go ahead next month, but officials say they will ask participants to strictly observe social distancing. Good luck with that!

The 2020 Phuket Vegetarian Festival will take place from October 17 to 25.

Given the fireworks and crackers exploding in your face if you attend any of the events, it’s probably a good idea that the Governor is insisting visitors wear face masks. We’d recommend eye googles as well.

The grotesque piercings, noisy parades and visits to the shrine, are good news for Phuket’s tourism and bad news if you’re a vegetable. Many adherents to the Chinese-heritage local festival will go without sex, alcohol and meat for the week of so of the festival.

The week of events and ceremonies hopes to scare away the bad gods again but, especially this year, attract some extra visitors to the festival.

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Economy

Deputy PM says 2 years until Thailand’s economy is back to normal

Caitlin Ashworth

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Deputy PM says 2 years until Thailand’s economy is back to normal | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

It’s going to be another 2 years until Thailand’s economy is back on track, according to Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow. At least that’s the amount of time he expects it will take to get the economy back to “normal levels” from before the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis crippled economies across the globe. The Covid-19 pandemic is already the worst global crisis since World War II, according to a report by the UN. Thailand’s tourism-dependant economy has been struggling since the country shut it’s doors to international travel. Krungthai Bank also predicts it will take about 2 to 3 years for Thailand’s economy to recover and the Finance Ministry predicts Thailand’s economy will contract by a record of 8.5% this year.

Almost 800 billion baht has gone into supporting the economy, Supattanapong says, adding that the government plans to do more stimulus perks to help boost the economy. The government is working on a 1.9 trillion baht response package with a 1 trillion baht borrowing plan.

Supattanapong’s guesses are based on the pandemic situation not getting any worse, whilst the world’s Covid cases, in many part of the world, including many of Thailand’s feeder markets, are suffering a new spike in cases. His assumptions would also have to include an immediate return to high profit of the country’s tourism industry – not likely to happen any time soon.

“I think the economy should get back to normal levels within two years… But if we can manage it very well, we may see that late next year.”

While Thailand’s economy as a whole might take just 2 years to get back to normal, the country’s tourism revenue is expected to take even longer. Krungthai COMPASS Research Centre predicts it will be at least 3 to 4 years until tourism revenue is back to normal. Thailand’s tourism revenue is expected to shrink by 70% by the end of this year, making only 9.1 billion baht compared to the 3.02 trillion baht tourism brought in last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thailand’s first cancer medicine factory expected to cut drug costs in half

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand’s first cancer medicine factory expected to cut drug costs in half | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prachachat

The government just sealed the deal to build Thailand’s first factory to produce cancer-treating medicine and chemicals, a move that is expected to cut treatment drug costs in half. Buying imported cancer-treating drugs is expensive. Thailand spends about 21 billion baht per year on imported cancer medicine, according to Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

The local factory is intended to give Thais more affordable and also more accessible medicines for treating cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Thailand, Anutin says, adding that each year, 80,000 people in Thailand die from cancer.

Thailand's first cancer medicine factory expected to cut drug costs in half | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: CDC Thailand

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation signed a contract with PTT to build the plant. Construction will be begin in 2022 and they would start producing commercially until 2027. The factory will produce variety of drugs for many different types of cancer, including drugs for chemotherapy, according to the organisation’s managing director.

“This factory will have the capacity to produce 30 million units of chemotherapy drugs and 31 million units of biological drugs per year, with a focus on patents that will expire first. Once there is enough for domestic use, we can boost our production capacity for export. This will make cancer drugs cheaper in the country and will also help push for them to be included in the national list of most-needed medications.”

The factory is planned to be in Rayong’s Ban Chang district at the PTT Wanarom Eco Zone Industries estate. The feasibility study is expected to take 14 months.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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