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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok readies for shutdown; Yingluck denies coup call; Corruption costs B300bn a year; DNA confirms another Nui victim

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Bangkok readies for shutdown; Yingluck denies coup call; Corruption costs B300bn a year; DNA confirms another Nui victim | The Thaiger

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

Retailers gear for shutdown
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Wholesalers and retailers have scrambled to adjust their inventory and logistics strategies to ensure that they have adequate supplies of consumer goods and foods and don’t need to raise prices during the “Bangkok shutdown” planned by anti-government forces next Monday.

Speaking after a meeting with wholesalers, retailers, fresh-market enterprises and modern traders, Yanyong Phuangrach, caretaker deputy commerce minister, insisted that retail stocks and prices would be kept under control by businesses while the capital city comes under siege.

The Commerce Ministry has also set up a centre designed to mitigate the impact on consumers during this unusual situation.

The centre will prepare a 24-hour hotline number, 1569, to receive consumers’ reactions or complaints about the protest group’s activities. It will also provide contact numbers, (02) 507 5879-81, during office hours.

“Businesses have increased their inventories of essential goods and foods from 10 days to 15-30 days. They have also prepared transport such as motorcycles and tuk-tuks to ensure that their shipments are not interrupted,” Yanyong said.

The businesses are prepared to absorb some of the costs of these measures rather than burdening their customers, he added.

The ministry’s Internal Trade Department will also send out a special task force to inspect prices at supermarkets, fresh markets, and retail shops across Bangkok during the siege.

Somchai Pornrattanacharoen, president of the Thai Wholesaling and Retailing Association, said small and medium-sized enterprises had already adapted to the political uncertainty and closed down temporarily in some areas.

“Although facing higher costs, they have adjusted to the situation. Prices should be stable or not go up too much,” he said.

Voravit Charoenwattnanapan, president of the Thai Transportation and Logistics Association, said logistics providers would serve their clients normally.

Logistics

He pointed out that goods traders had already increased their stocks by 5-10 per cent. Logistics providers have also prepared various means of transport including small trucks to deliver goods from warehouses outside Bangkok to traders and consumers on time.

Voravit said about 60 per cent of deliveries would be to modern traders, and 35-40 per cent to small retailers.

He suggested that the Commerce Ministry set up warehouses in the capital to ensure that whatever happens, Bangkokians would be ensured of an adequate supply of goods.

Suwit Kingkaew, senior vice president of CP All, operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores, said the company had instructed its branches in metropolitan Bangkok to stock two or three times more goods than normal.

He said the demonstration should not affect goods deliveries for 7-Elevens, as normally these are done after midnight.

Suwit added that prices would not be changed, while 7-Eleven outlets in demonstration areas would have higher sales.

Netithorn Praditsarn, director of corporate affairs at Big C Supercenter, said the company had a business continuity plan (BCP) that enabled the company to adjust and synchronise all aspects of its operations to run smoothly, including store operations, safety, delivery, stocking and employees’ commutes, to ensure maximum customer convenience.

“We will closely monitor the situation and adapt our operations to ensure availability of necessities and commodities at Big C’s signature lowest prices. As for deliveries, we are re-routing them to avoid major intersections and also exploring the option of using smaller vehicles that can use smaller roads and sois instead of main roads.

“Stores in affected areas have stocked additional quantities of necessities such as water, instant noodles, dry food and so on to ensure sufficient supplies for our customers,” Netithorn said.

He added that at this point, the company planned to keep all formats of Big C stores (Big C Supercenter, Extra, Jumbo, Big C Market and Mini Big C) open on January 13. Salinla Seehaphan, corporate affairs director of Tesco Lotus, said all of its stores would be open normally during the “Bangkok shutdown” period to ensure customer convenience.

“We have ordered higher volumes of goods, especially products necessary for daily life, such as dried foods and instant noodles, from our suppliers. This is to serve higher demands of shoppers, which are expected to increase significantly by this weekend as they stock up on products for the demonstration period,” she said.

“We have strong experience in serving our customers during times of crisis, such as the massive flood in 2011. We also have an emergency plan so that we will be able to look after our clients, employees, and communities quite effectively,” Salinla said.

Corruption costs the country Bt300 bn every year, claims Abhisit
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Democrat Party yesterday unveiled its anti-corruption proposal as part of its national reform blueprint.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said corruption is costing Thailand Bt300 billion per year, or 2 per cent of gross domestic product. With that amount of money, the country could build 30 Parliament Houses, 201 BTS stations, or 5,100 large secondary schools, he said.

The party yesterday held a press conference to announce its blueprint for national reform after it decided to boycott the February 2 election and spend time considering the reform measures.

Abhisit declared the anti-corruption mechanism as the first point in a seven-point national reform blueprint. He said the proposal has 20 measures.

For example, laws should be amended so that corruption cases have no statute of limitations, National Anti-Corruption Commission investigations should be increased, and so too the role of the Office of the State Audit and the Auditor-General. Moreover, there should be retroactive examination of politicians’ and senior government officials’ tax payments.

Laws should be amended to control the government’s use of advertising budget, and judicial officers should be banned from sitting on state-enterprises’ boards of directors, the party’s proposal said.

Information related to state enterprises should be transparent in the same way as listed companies. The party also proposed setting up a fund to support civil movements against corruption.

While Abhisit was speaking, a man who declined to be named blew a whistle at him. “I respect my vote. Please stop creating political speeches because your party [the Democrat Party] has never won an election,” the man said. Abhisit replied by saying “Thank you”, before the Democrats’ supporters took the protesting man out of the room.

Yingluck denies coup rumours
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday rejected rumours that she had struck a deal with the military to conduct a coup in an effort to pave the way for reforms within a year before elections.

“Who consulted whom? I don’t think so. There are too many rumours. May I ask the public to listen to news and regard rumours with caution,” she told repor

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Business

500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies

Greeley Pulitzer

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies | The Thaiger

Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.

Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.

A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.

Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.

“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.

The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.

The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care

The Thaiger

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Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care | The Thaiger

The majority of respondents to a Super Poll survey, say that they are still waiting to see where they will put their future support. For now they’re saying they neither support the Government or Opposition, preferring to wait to assess their performance.

Super Poll conducted the survey on 1,069 people from a wide range of occupations nationwide between October 1519.

The director of Super Poll, Noppadol Kannikar, says that one interesting finding was that 67.2% of respondents admitted that they prefer not to take sides, with the Government or Opposition, because both are currently under-performing and they want to wait to assess their performance.

But 16.9% of the respondents are supportive of the coalition Government, compared to 15.9% who oppose it.

On the question of Government spending, the survey showed 65.9% want quality health care as their top priority, 59.8% want good and secure jobs, 54.3% want security for their lives and property, 50.8% want increased road safety, 48.2% want government help for small and medium-size enterprises and 37.0% want government to provide them with housing.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thai Life

Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019)

The Thaiger

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Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019) | The Thaiger

…in English, in no particular order.

This post is mainly for newbies, tourists and people-interested-in-Thailand. Locals already have their home favorite news sources. But all these Top 10 do it well, in their own way. All are trying to navigate their way through the labyrinth of modern media, some better than others, whilst punching out daily news. We think they’re all stars because doing media in Thailand, in English, is a tough gig.

These are all news and information sources and the list doesn’t include the myriad of excellent blogs around – a topic for another Top 10.

1. Bangkok Post

Traditional news, still delivered as a daily newspaper, but with an expansive and thorough website. It’s been going since 1946 and reported on a coup or two, or three. As far as making the move into digital media is concerned, Bangkok Post is doing it better than most. Editorially it has has taken a, mostly, neutral political stance with a few exceptions. But, as newspapers go, it walks down the middle fairly reliably. It is currently the leading English language news portal in Thailand and deserves its position on top.

2. The Thaiger

Please indulge us as we put our own website and news in the Top 10. The Thaiger, only running as a national website since April 2018, remains the fastest growing English-speaking online-only news and information site in the Kingdom (according to the ‘stats’).

The Thaiger curates the news and chooses topics it believes will be interesting, important or newsworthy, in English, Thai and now Vietnamese too. The Thaiger bought out the Phuket Gazette’s digital assets in August 2017 but now has a national and regional focus, whilst continuing to pay homage to its home turf in Phuket. Currently has the second highest readership of any English-speaking news website in Thailand.

3. The Nation

The Nation was the other major daily coming out of Bangkok, well for 48 years anyway, was a lot newer than Bangkok Post when it started up in 1971. The Nation took a more partisan line, famously turning its editorial voice against PM Thaksin Shinawatra. In latter years the paper struggled with circulation and was taken over by Sontiyan Chuenruetainaidhama, founder of conservative outlets T News and INN News. Falling circulation and advertising revenues eventual killed off the printed daily version. Final issue June 28, 2019. The Nation changed their domain name (suicidal) and continues as an online-only news source with an excellent coverage of local Thai politics.

4. ThaiVisa

Used to be the biggest and most popular news website in Thailand (in English). If it moves or breathes, you’d find the story on ThaiVisa. It’s full of news copied and pasted from partners who agree to share their news on the site. It’s also famous, or infamous, for its hugely popular forums where keyboard warriors dispense their opinions and wisdom on everything, usually tearing just about everything in Thailand to shreds. Whilst it was once the biggest English-speaking news website in Thailand for a decade it is now being challenged by new sources moving into the same web space. Plenty of info, a lot out of date, about visas and other snippets about living in Thailand.

5. Khaosod English

Fresh, selective, well-written and a rising star in real Thai english-language journalism. An offshoot of it’s much bigger Thai-language sister. To the point, original stories with a modern journalistic spark. They tend to choose their stories and provide excellent insight when they do. Original and deserving of your daily read.

6. Coconuts

Most would agree that when Coconuts started it was the best and cheekiest news blog for its time. Actually covering all of South East Asia, it’s Bangkok blog was a daily log-on for most hip expats. Now they’ve taken the brave ‘paywall’ option (because people want to pay for good journalism they say) which seems to have killed off some of their web traffic but the company says they will persist with the subscription model. In our opinion it’s lost a bit of its verve but it’s still a healthy and reliable daily read for Thailand and the region. Singapore it its most popular location, Thailand is third.

7. Thailand News

A shameless aggregator, they copy and paste headlines and a few paragraphs with a link to the original story. Designed to rank in Google, the site is still in its early days. To avoid any copyright issues, the stories usually include a photo library ‘look-a-like’, instead of the real photo from the story. For all we know the entire site could be run by cleverly-coded robots.

There is no sign of a human touch anywhere. Rather than a contributor to the world of Thai journalism, the site is just a parasite using everyone else’s news. Bottomline, it’s nicely set up and has, well, most of the stories around Thailand, all in one neat package.

8. Chiang Rai Times

Chiang Rai Time is a local website that is regularly updated, nicely laid out, aggregates most of the main international stories and has plenty of local news relevant to the residents of northern cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. You may notice a similarity with The Thaiger as they used the same WordPress theme – we’ll take it as a compliment. There’s also Chiang Mai City Life which is a bit less ‘newsie’ and has plenty of northern lifestyle info in addition to the local news.

9. The Pattaya News

Whilst the rest of Thailand does things one way, Pattaya does things differently, in every aspect, including its media. But The Pattaya News does a better job than most with daily content, some original, and translating stories from Thai media. Easy to navigate, clear and readable, unlike a lot of others!

10. Thai PBS World

A government news agency but has demonstrated its independence over the years. As a website it’s had more face-lifts than Joan Rivers but remains solid, reliable and surprisingly (especially as it’s run by a quasi-military government) unbiased. Also tends to cover stories the other news sources don’t.

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