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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM Yingluck extends ISA; Suthep calls for people’s government; Floods ease in South

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: PM Yingluck extends ISA; Suthep calls for people’s government; Floods ease in South | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM extends ISA and insists she won’t resign or dissolve House
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last night extended the invocation of special internal security law to cover entire Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli district and Pathum Thani’s Ladlumkaew district.

Since October 18, the Internal Security Act (ISA) covered only three Bangkok districts; Phra Nakhon, Dusit and Pomprap Sattrupai. The law that prohibits mass gathering would directly affect rally sites on Rajdamnoen Avenue and others.

In a special TV broadcast, Yingluck said her government has no choice but to use the ISA after the anti-government protesters stepped up their protests by invading, seizing many government agencies and destroying the assets including the front gates. The protesters also cut off electricity and water supplies in those buildings, the moves that would affect officials and people in general. The premier called for people not to provide cooperation with the protesters who broke the laws and to cooperate with government officers so that the situation returns to normal.

The US Department of State also issued a statement, urging all sides to avoid violence.

“The US Government is concerned about the rising political tension in Thailand and is following the ongoing demonstrations in Bangkok closely. We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law. Violence and the seizure of public or private property are not acceptable means of resolving political differences,” said its spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Earlier on the day, the prime minister refused to resign or dissolve the House and plans to use the two-day censure debate, which will start today, as a venue to explain the government’s stand.

“I will fully explain every issue during the censure and in order to overcome time constraints, may also issue additional clarification at other venues,” she said yesterday.

Yingluck was speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

After the meeting she was asked by reporters if she insisted that she would neither resign nor call a House dissolution. She said, “That’s correct.”

Meanwhile, junior coalition parties will not desert the Yingluck Shinawatra government – even if the government has been rocked to its core by the Rajdamnoen protesters led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban.

Chief coalition whip Amnuay Klangpha said he was not concerned that protesters might lay siege to Parliament today, coinciding with the censure debate.

Today’s censure is scheduled to begin at 9.30am and the debate will last until 3am. Tomorrow the censure will resume at 10.00am and conclude at midnight. The censure vote will take place on Thursday, he said.

Censure targets comprise the prime minister and Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan.

The two are expected to issue rigorous rebuttals to issues raised by the opposition.

Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said the marches across Bangkok by the anti-government protests won’t affect the censure debate scheduled for today and tomorrow.

The opposition party has prepared more than 20 MPs for the debate and is ready to expose alleged corruption scandals of the government, he said.

A government MP who asked not to be named said the junior coalition parties had no choice. They could not stop the political turmoil even if they decided to withdraw from the government coalition.

The junior parties had been pushed into working with the ruling Pheu Thai Party in violating Article 157 of the criminal law and the Constitution, and their implementation of the constitutional-amendment bill related to the Senate.

The MP said the Constitutional Court had ruled in favour of the opposition Democrat Party, which appeared to be politically a bad sign. That’s why they should keep their silence now.

“I cannot guess the future of MPs and senators who proposed the charter amendment. They might have to cease their duties this week by order of the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC]. If that happens, Pheu Thai must reject the NACC’s decision for sure and [this will] lead to political deadlock,” he said.

A Chart Pattana MP, who also asked not to be named, said he went to the Rajdamnoen rally site to join the protest on Sunday as a Thai citizen, not a government MP. He said he had no idea if the Yingluck government would survive the opposition moves, especially a House dissolution, which might not be enough to satisfy the demonstrators.

“I admit the Democrats’ battle strategy is better than the government’s. Suthep and his fellow protest leaders succeeded in analysing the situation and set up conditions consistent with the times. Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai Party’s strategy is like two boats tied together. If one boat is burned, it would destroy the other boat,” he said.

At about 2pm yesterday, due to the large number of protesters rallying near the Parliament, parliamentary officials were told to leave, but there had been no announcement that they should stay home from work today.

Call for people’s government
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Suthep Thaugsuban, a key leader of the protest against the so-called Thaksin regime, announced a plan to form a “people’s government” yesterday following a peaceful seizure of state power by the people.

In a symbolic gesture to paralyse the government, demonstrators began three sieges – at the Finance Ministry, the Public Relations Department (PRD) and the Foreign Ministry.

The latter incident saw about 100 protesters from the Network of Students and People for Thailand’s Reform occupy a carpark at the Foreign Ministry in the early evening.

“A people’s government will be established to amend the country’s rules so that it is genuinely a democracy under constitutional monarchy,” he said.

Suthep encouraged people who back the protesters’ cause to seize state power “with their bare hands” by occupying government offices all across the country.

He spoke at a press conference held inside the Finance Ministry after a group of protesters that he led managed to occupy the Budget Bureau, which is located inside the ministry’s complex. Suthep was surrounded and asked by an army of reporters, many from television stations accused by the protesters of failing to sufficiently cover the mass street demonstrations over recent days.

Suthep said the occupation of the Finance Ministry was an example made for people to occupy state offices in their areas. This was part of efforts to paralyse the “Thaksin regime”.

A senior Democrat politician who recently resigned as an MP, Suthep denied he was rebelling against the government. He said the government lost its legitimacy to rule after it rejected the power of the Constitutional Court.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expressed concern yesterday about protesters occupying the Finance Ministry compound. She said the government had not expected the protesters to trespass into a government office.

Yingluck said protesters could cause damage and hurt confidence in the government with intrusions into state offices. However, she said the Cabinet had no plan to declare a state of emergency.

She said the protesters had already expressed their wishes and should wait for a censure de

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Economy

Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment

Caitlin Ashworth

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Ministry of Labour, CP Foods to hire 8,000 graduates to help reduce unemployment | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Foods

To help reduce unemployment and boost the economy after the pandemic, 8,000 graduates will be hired by the company Charoen Pokphand Foods, known as CP Foods. Thailand’s Ministry of Labour recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the company.

4,000 of those jobs will be in Bangkok and metropolitan areas while the other 4,000 more in the upcountry. The job offers vary from positions in the computer science field to positions in the culinary industry.

Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin says the government has a policy to unite all sectors of the society to revive the economy from the coronavirus crisis that caused job cuts, leaving many unemployed, especially new graduates.

He adds that CP Foods has been constantly supporting the government in Covid-19 relief effort since the beginning of the outbreak. This post Covid-19 collaboration will create stability for people at all levels and build more small and medium sized enterprise, or SME, owners that are the foundation of Thai economy.

There’s also a discount coupon giveaway from CP Foods and the minister says it will help reduce cost of living for people who are eligible for social security benefits.

CEO of CP Foods Prasit Boondoungprasert says CP Foods is managed in line with the parent group CP Group’s policy, to solve the Thailand’s unemployment problem, particularly for new graduates, by creating job opportunities and job security. He says it’s an “engine for economic revival.”

CP Foods will also provide a business opportunity for SME franchises like FiveStar and STAR Coffee, which need a small budget and small space to kick off.

The company will also offer training courses with experts to guide them to start up the business. It expects to create 4,500 franchise owners nationwide.

CP Foods will have a book at the Job Expo Thailand 2020 this Saturday until Monday at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centres, or BITEC. Those interested can click HERE for more information.

To learn more about starting a FiveStar franchise click HERE and for a STAR Coffee franchise click HERE.

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Thailand

Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes

Caitlin Ashworth

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Empire strikes back: Thai royalists oppose constitution changes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: Warong Dechgitvigrom

Just after proposed constitutional amendments, backed by pro-democracy supporters, were submitted to the Thai parliament, the Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against making changes to the constitution.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding a rewrite of the Thai constitution at protests over the past few months. The nonprofit organisation Internet Law Reform Dialogue, known as iLaw, drafted amendments including one that would require all senators and local administrators to be elected. Currently Thailand’s entire Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party. More than 100,000 people back the proposed changes.

“There’s no need to make changes”, according to Former Democrat MP and leader of Thai Pakdee Warong Dechgitvigrom. He says the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people (Thailand’s population is 69.4 million).

“Redoing the process would cost 15 billion baht in taxpayer money. On top of that, it would require 2 referenda and a general election.”

According to Thai PBS, 84 of the 250 senators need to be on board to move forward with revisions to the constitution. At the moment, around 60 of them are in favour of constitutional amendments while 100 oppose any changes and the rest are undecided. But Senators against the amendments might change their minds, according to Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan. He says he believes more senators will be in favour of making some amendments after hearing debates in parliament.

SOURCES: Thai PBS

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Video & Podcasts

Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23

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Thailand News Today | Surachet sues, The Nude Panda | September 23 | The Thaiger

Daily TV News from The Thaiger

Former immigration chief, “Big Joke” suing Thai PM over transfer

The former head of Thai Immigration, and poster boy for Thai officialdom, Surachet Hakparn, is taking legal action against Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, after the PM had him unceremoniously transferred to an inactive post last year.

Surachet, commonly known by the nickname “Big Joke”, (a nickname given to him by Thai media) accuses the PM of transferring him without just cause and has been petitioning for a review of the decision ever since.

At the time there was no reason given for the high-profile head of Thailand’s Immigration to be ‘side-lined’ to desk duties at the PM’s office.

Surachet’s lawyer says that in the 1 year and 5 months since his client’s transfer, there has been “no investigation launched against him” and that he should immediately re-instated.

At the height of his fame, in 2017 and 2018, Surachet’s face was everywhere in daily media reports, often seen with hordes of foreigners his team had ’rounded up’ in immigration crackdowns around the country.

But at some point, he appears to have stepped on the wrong toes, calling into question procurement practices at the Immigration Bureau, amid plans to spend billions on smart cars and the airports biometrics system. Surachet was dumped and sidelined… the purchases went ahead.

4 Thai banks to be investigated for “suspicious transfers” after FinCEN files report

4 Thai banks are being investigated after an international money laundering report said the Thai banks had “suspicious financial transactions.” The report found 92 “suspicious” transactions in and out of Thailand totalling to $9,558,752 USD received in Thailand and $31,750,000 USD sent out.

Files were allegedly leaked from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.The FinCEN Files report“reveals the role of global banks in industrial scale money laundering,” citing a total of $2 trillion USD in suspicious global transactions from 1997 to 2017.

The Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office plans to investigate Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank and the Export Import Bank of Thailand. But he says the information from the international report needs to be verified first.

Thai sex workers push for prostitution decriminalisation

Prostitution could become further decriminalised in Thailand. A petition is being passed around calling on the government to stop arresting and fining sex workers.

The Empower Foundation, which supports sex worker, is trying to collect 10,000 signatures before they send it to parliament. Also known as the Centre for Sex Workers’ Protection, Empower is a non-profit organisation in Thailand that supports sex workers by offering free classes in language, health, law and pre-college education, as well as individual counselling.

“Prostitution is not illegal in Thailand, although many activities associated with it are… like brothels, soliciting, pimping and causing a public nuisance etc. Still the underground industry is estimated to be worth US$6.4 billion a year.

Activists say prostitution laws do little to protect sex workers. Fines and arrests for soliciting sex, have pushed some sex workers into poverty, most of them being women. Thailand is estimated to have up to 200,000 sex workers, many of them now unemployed with no recourse to unemployment benefits or official help during the pandemic.

Thai cabinet adds 2 more 4-day long weekends

A holiday-led economic recovery. That appears to be a part of the government’s agenda following yesterday’s meeting of the Thai cabinet. 2 new holiday weekends have been created, one in November, one in December.

In both cases the extended weekends will be 4 days each, adding the Thursdays and Fridays before the weekend. Given the exodus of foreigner this week, there will be fewer of the ‘stranded’ expats and foreign visitors to add to the economic tally of the additional holidays.

So, put it in your diaries…

• November 19-22

• December 10-13

Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine

A man working as a food delivery driver in the southern province of Songkhla, has been filmed riding his motorbike totally naked. The 24 year old later handed himself in to police, explaining that he’d taken his clothes off due to “a personal problem”.

The nature of the problem is not known, and police let the man go with a 500 baht fine.

A video was posted on social media, showing the naked young man hurtling along on his motorbike, which had a food delivery bag on the back. The video has now been deleted. According to a motorbike taxi driver witness, the man parked his bike in front of a local temple, removed his clothes, then got back on the bike and drove off.

Social media response was mixed with most just inquisitive about his motives to ride “commando” with little protection, actually no protection at all.

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