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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Senators walk on Charter change; Korn calls B2tn bluff; Baht dips; Yingluck wants quality

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Senators walk on Charter change; Korn calls B2tn bluff; Baht dips; Yingluck wants quality | The Thaiger

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

Six senators withdraw support for charter amendment bills
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Six senators have withdrawn their names supporting three bills for Constitution amendment submitted to Parliament on Wednesday.

Some said the content of the amendment in the submitted bills had been changed after Pheu Thai MPs discussed the bill with the senators, asking for their support.

Their decision, however, will not affect the move to push for charter amendment. The three amendment bills have been co-sponsored by coalition MPs and many senators, including some appointed senators. Among 248 signatures supporting three separate bills submitted on Wednesday, 50-60 signatures came from senators.

The law requires one-fifth of the total MPs (100) or total parliamentarians (130 MPs and senators) to propose charter change.

Senator Nirand Praditkul said yesterday that he and five other senators had withdrawn their names from backing the amendment bills.

The five other senators are Mahannop Dejwithak, Jarupong Jinaphan, Jongrak Chuthanon, Wirat Phanitpong and Khachorn Saiwat.

Nirand said when he and other senators signed their names in support of the amendments, they were told that only three Articles would be amended without mentioning Article 68. Nirand said he and the other senators disagreed with the amendment of Article 68 because it would restrict the people’s right to seek rulings from the Constitution Court.

Meanwhile, Senate Speaker Nikom Waiyaratphanich yesterday expressed support for Pheu Thai’s three bills seeking to amend four provisions of the charter, expecting them to sail through Parliament.

Nikom said the proposed amendments would be useful for the country and would not be done to benefit a particular group of people as alleged by the so-called clique of 40 senators. He added that the proposed amendment to Article 190 would make Thailand more competitive in the world market, while the proposed amendment to Article 237 to abolish party dissolution penalty would promote the development of political parties.

The proposed amendment to Article 237 seeks to grant exemption from parliamentary vetting for international agreements deemed to impact economic, social and security affairs. Nikom said the proposed amendment to require all senators to come through the election process would allow the people to elect their senators.

He said he backed charter amendments not because he wanted to help particular political parties or because he had received an order from former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

He said he supported the four provision amendments because Nonthaburi Senator Direk Thuengfung, who chaired a reconciliation panel, had proposed similar amendments.

The speaker admitted that amendment of the party dissolution provision would benefit the former 109 executives of three disbanded political parties if the amendments are done fast. But Nikom said the amendments would not be done before December, after which the 109 executives would come out of their five-year political ban.

“So, the amendments will not benefit any particular group,” he said. He added that he also supported the amendment to Article 68 that seeks to ban individuals from having direct access to the Constitution Court to initiate litigation for disbanding a party.

Nikom said the amendment would not limit the rights of individuals but would simply set guidelines on how to seek rulings of the Constitution Court. He said he did not think the Office of the Attorney-General would be dominated by politicians in power.

Nikom also reprimanded the group-of-40, who had come out to oppose the three amendment bills. He said they used to be members of the post-coup National Legislative Assembly before they were appointed senators. All in all, the 40 senators would have been in office for 11 years. “Now, when the people will have the right to elect senators, they are afraid of their future,” he said.

Nikom said yesterday that senators were senior people who should not have been fooled. Those who gave their names in support of charter amendments only to withdraw their names later, then “should go to hell”.

Opposition and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Democrats would check the three bills thoroughly before the party makes its stand.

He added that he had preliminarily seen that the amendments would limit the people’s rights and these amendments might be unconstitutional.

Korn questions Bt2-tn loan bill
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Democrat Party deputy leader Korn Chatikavanij yesterday expressed serious concerns about the Bt2-trillion infrastructure borrowing bill proposed by the Yingluck Shinawatra government as it might violate the Constitution, which stipulates that any government expenditure should be allocated only through the fiscal expenditure budget bill.

Speaking on the Business Talk programme on Krungthep Turakij TV, he said if the borrowing were more transparent, Parliament would be able to systematically evaluate the details of the infrastructure projects proposed by the government. The government also needed to declare to Parliament what they would do about the projects. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry could study the sources of the finances to invest in the projects.

“As the opposition, we will seek the Constitution Court’s interpretation of the Bt2-trillion bill – whether it violates the law,” said Korn, a former finance minister.

Korn said he agreed and supported the Yingluck government’s investment in the country’s infrastructure and communications system, which would account for about 80 per cent of the Bt2-trillion budget. The government, however, had not revealed any details of the infrastructure investment projects or even conducted a feasibility study if the projects are worth developing.

“My only concern is the source of the investment and the way they got the money,” he noted.

The Bt2-trillion infrastructure borrowing bill, which will allow the government to raise the entire amount by end-2020 and require it to clear the debt in 50 years, got the Cabinet’s approval on Tuesday. Including accumulated interest, the total loan burden for the Bt2-trillion budget will be about Bt5.1 trillion.

Korn said that the B2-trillion bill gave no information about the infrastructure projects. The bill only gave legal authority to the government to provide a huge amount of loans. They provide no guarantee on returning by those borrowing the money, whether it will be worth it or not.

“I believe in the government’s ability to facilitate nominal GDP growth at 7 per cent annually as the actual GDP growth will be about 4 per cent plus another 3 per cent inflation. However, the government’s rice-pledging scheme will create a big loan burden of Bt410 billion by the end of this year, and the burden will be increased by between Bt200 billion and Bt300 billion every year as long as the government continued its rice-pledging scheme. This means that the public debt level will be increased by 2 per cent and 3 per cent of GDP every year,” Korn said.

He add that if the government continued to push policies that damaged the country, Thailand’s economy had a high possibility of a crisis as the level of public debt would surge to between 50 per cent and 60 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Korn gave the example

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Bangkok

Summer storms leave 6,900 homes damaged this month

The Thaiger

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Summer storms leave 6,900 homes damaged this month | The Thaiger

More than 6,900 houses, mostly in a patch through the central-north regions of Thailand, have been hit by summer storms since the beginning of April, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Chayapol Thitisak, the director-general, says the department has received reports that 6,940 houses in 1,010 villages in 307 tambon of 115 districts had been damaged by storms since April 5. Twenty-nine provinces have been affected.

He said nine villagers were reported injured during the period as a result of storm damage.

Chayapol said his department has coordinated with Army bases and government agencies concerned to provide help to the affected villagers.

The summer storms, quickly developing tropical storm-cells, are prevalent this time of the year, usually when cooler air from China starts to interact with the rising south-western monsoon. They can be quite violent, sudden and bring strong winds, torrential rain and even hail.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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Thailand

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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