Connect with us

Thailand

Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Suu Kyi takes center stage; Rice loss touches 400bn; Beams tumble; Tax losses hit 20bn; Elephant poachers arrested

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Suu Kyi takes center stage; Rice loss touches 400bn; Beams tumble; Tax losses hit 20bn; Elephant poachers arrested | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

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

Suu Kyi steals the limelight
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: As in Bangkok last year, Myanmar’s democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi was in the spotlight when over 900 participants gathered for the biggest international event the country has hosted in decades.

Participants at the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2013 formed long queues to enter the Shan Room at the Myanmar International Convention Centre, where the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner appeared along with a minister and an activist to express their views on the future of Myanmar.

The participants were lined-up for about 20 minutes before the session began. Minutes after the doors were opened, the hall was packed with over 400 attendees, some of them standing throughout the one-hour session on “Myanmar: What Future?” An executive from a major oil company was among the participants in line, though another session on energy was being held in another room at the same time. Even WEF founder Karl Schwab had to squeeze in.

“Myanmar’s politics is as important as economics. I want to know what will happen in 2015,” said the executive, referring to the presidential election.

Appearing in a purple dress, Aung San Suu Kyi touched on key issues of concern to the international community. There, as head of the National League for Democracy (NLD), she stated her desire to run for president in 2015. Yet, she pressed for constitutional reforms before that to ensure a free and independent government, greater press freedom, improved human rights protection and greater inclusiveness in the ongoing reforms.

One proposed amendment targets the requirement that for anything to be enacted, it must win votes from 75 per cent of MPs. According to her, only national referendums can beat that.

She said the constitutional amendments are necessary to “establish the rule of law, which is necessary for the reform process”.

“I’d like to be the president. If I say I don’t want to be, I’d not be honest. But not in this situation,” she said. “I believe in the rule of law. It’s the first necessity. The government must ensure the security of the people of Myanmar, regardless of their race.”

Her party plans to unveil its proposal soon to revise the constitution.

Domestic peace and respect for the rule of law have not improved as much as they should have, she indicated.

At the session, President’s Office Minister U Soe Thane stressed that the situation has advanced tremendously.

“In the past two years, we had ideas to change everything, but we needed time to untie the rope that has been tied for 60 years,” the minister said.

Suu Kyi believes that the rule of law would lift the country’s standards for human rights. This includes the granting of citizenship to minorities in the country and the upgrading of human-rights laws to international standards.

The international community should understand that Myanmar has not actually been reformed, she said. This is why she still uses “Burma” as the name for her country, rather than “Myanmar”. The country can’t change simply through a name change and Myanmar still shows intrinsic insincerity, she said.

“Myanmar is literally the form of Burma,” she said, apparently remaining cautious on the reforms. “If many people feel excluded from the transition, there could be reversible situations.”

At the opening session with Suu Kyi in the audience, Myanmar President Thein Sein reaffirmed his will to proceed with the transformation towards democracy.

“We promise that with international participation, this will help Myanmar achieve full success.”

No matter how concerned Suu Kyi sounded, only five hands were raised when the audience was asked who remained pessimistic about Myanmar’s future. The optimism was rooted as firmly as global attention to the democracy advocate. Photographers waited outside the room along with a crowd, waiting to catch a glimpse of her.

Keep checking the Phuket Gazette’s Thailand News section, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter at @PhuketGazette for the latest national news updates.

Price-pledging fiasco
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Governments linked to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra have inflicted cumulative losses of almost 400 billion baht on the country through the pledging schemes for rice and other farm crops, and the current government is responsible for a loss of up to 260bn as at the end of May.

The Finance Ministry’s Post-Audit Committee on the Rice Pledging Scheme revealed yesterday that the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had overspent the budget for the rice-pledging project – 661.22 billion, well in excess of the 500 billion earmarked for the project.

The panel urged the government to release its rice stockpiles soon to bring revenue into the project.

Meanwhile, the Public Warehouses Organisation (PWO) said yesterday that it would ask the government for an additional 2bn to stock more than 15 million tonnes of rice left in the government’s stockpiles from the pledging during the past two years. The PWO stores more than 70 per cent of the government’s rice, while the rest is being held by the Marketing Organisation for Farmers.

The Democrat coalition led by Abhisit Vejjajiva came to power in late 2008. During its time in power, the government abandoned the pledging scheme and adopted a crop-price-insurance policy, which freed the government from the responsibility of stocking the crops.

The Finance Ministry committee reported that as of January 31 this year, the government faced a loss of 220.96bn. The government is estimated to be accumulating a loss of 10 billion a month under the pledging scheme – a cumulative loss of 260 billion by the end of May.

Of the total losses, 42.96 billion is for the main crop in 2011-12, 93.93 billion from the second crop in 2012, and 84.07 billion from the main crop in 2012-13.

The losses do not take into account depreciation of rice quality in the government stockpiles, which if included, could take the total loss to more than 400 billion, the report said.

If the budgets for the pledging schemes for rice and other crops under all the Thaksin-related governments are tallied, the country’s losses from the subsidy projects would amount to 393.9 billion. These amounts include rice-pledging losses during 2008-09.

The committee said the huge losses from the pledging had resulted from the Commerce Ministry’s failure to achieve its target of releasing rice from the stockpiles and the low selling price.

“The government needs to solve the problem urgently, as its rice-selling plan has not been successful because of the low price. The government has overspent the budget and it will affect the next pledging round,” the committee suggested.

PWO vice president Somsak Vongvattanasan said the organisation was currently holding in its stockpiles about 17 million to 18 million tonnes of rice from the pledging scheme. Of this, o

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Thailand

Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range | The Thaiger
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

An endangered clouded leopard was spotted at a mountain range in the Isaan province Si Sa Ket. The rare sighting, captured using a camera trap, was the first time in about 20 years the wildcat has been seen in the Phnom Dongrak mountain range which borders Cambodia.

Since the park rangers stepped up patrol against poaching and made efforts to increase food and water sources, more small predators like foxes, dholes and leopard cats have been returning to the area, according to director of a local conservation office Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.

“Today in the Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary there is a clouded leopard, which is a medium sized predator.”

Camera traps were set up by local conservation officials from November 1 to 24, capturing footage of the rare clouded leopard. The cameras also filmed hog deer, Asiatic wild dogs, a Malaysian night heron and a leopard.

The clouded leopard is classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organisation says the leopard is hunted for the illegal wildlife, adding that the leopard skins have been seen in market surveys along with bones used for medicines and meat for exotic dishes.

Clouded Leopard exploitation for pelts are well documented in several countries, including the infamous Tachilek market along the Thai–Myanmar border. The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting…However, the trade of cat parts from Myanmar into Thailand has diminished and reaffirms the role of China in the trade of cats out of Myanmar.

Sightings of the clouded leopard have also been reported at the Kaeng Krachan National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Sok National Park and Khao Yai National Park.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | IUCN| Thai PBS

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Tourism

International travel in 2021 is unpredictable – Tourism Authority of Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

International travel in 2021 is unpredictable – Tourism Authority of Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Aleksei Zaitcev

The future of Thailand’s travel industry is “opaque”, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn. For once the usually over-optimistic TAT has made a completely honest assessment of the current situation.

“There are unpredictable factors that come into play when trying to determine how 2021 will pan out, like the availability of a Covid-19 vaccine, the number of coronavirus infections and travel restrictions. The tourism sector might not have what’s considered a normal revenue, at least 80% of the pre-pandemic level, until 2022.”

“We set 2021 as a year of adjustment before seeing a leap in 2022. We forecast Thailand will achieve 2.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2022, or 80-90% of 2019, which recorded 3 trillion baht.”

In reality, any large tourism recovery to pre-Covid numbers could take a lot longer.

Yuthasak says he met with an official from the Chinese Embassy and says that large groups of Chinese tourists, who made up around 10 million, or 25%, of foreign arrivals in 2019, will probably not travel to Thailand until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. It’s unclear how long it will take to commercially produce a vaccine and distribute it across the world.

A rebound in international tourism is expected around the third quarter of 2021 or in 2022, according to the World Tourism Organisation, based on the current situation but, learning from this year’s events, recoveries in any industry are highly speculative.

For Thailand, Yuthasak says the country might see a moderate number of international guests around the second and third quarter of 2021 with more tourists visiting during the summer when the spread of the virus is considered to slow down due to the hot weather.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Protests

Deputy PM refutes claim that using lèse majesté law damages Monarchy

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Deputy PM refutes claim that using lèse majesté law damages Monarchy | The Thaiger
PHOTO: VOA News

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam has dismissed claims that invoking Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law is damaging to the Monarchy. He insists the law has been in use for years and can be applied in the case of current protesters who violate it through their public speeches.

Wissanu was responding to a claim from renowned academic Sulak Sivaraksa, who has slammed the government for resorting to Section 112 of the Criminal Code. Section 112 forbids insulting, defaming, or threatening the Monarchy, and a violation carries a punishment of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Earlier this week, police confirmed that 12 protesters have been summonsed to face lèse majesté charges, a move which some say is designed to leave protest movements leaderless. Sulak addressed a large rally in front of the Siam Commercial Bank’s headquarters in Bangkok on Wednesday, to accuse the government of harming the Monarchy by its use of the law. He has pointed out that the late King Bhumibol described the law as an assault on him and that the current Monarch, His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn, has also asked for it not to be used.

Sulak says the government must stop invoking the law in order to allow for a peaceful debate to take place on the role of the Monarchy. The current anti-government protests, which have been running since mid-July, are calling for reforms that will make Thailand’s highest institution more accountable to the people. The demand is highly controversial, broaching as it does, a topic that has until now been completely taboo. Protesters are also calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and a re-write of the Constitution, followed by the dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26 | The Thaiger
Thailand19 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26

Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25

Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24

Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23 | The Thaiger
Thailand4 days ago

Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23

Thailand News Today | Bangkok exodus, Pattaya air pollution, Vaccine next month? | November 20 | The Thaiger
Thailand7 days ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok exodus, Pattaya air pollution, Vaccine next month? | November 20

Thailand News Today | Protests to escalate, Domestic violence, Tourist visa exemptions? | Nov 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Protests to escalate, Domestic violence, Tourist visa exemptions? | Nov 19

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Protesters shot, Baht boost temporary | Nov 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Protesters shot, Baht boost temporary | Nov 18

Thailand News Today | Protesters v Police, Quarantine reduction, VietJet passenger arrest | Nov 17 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Protesters v Police, Quarantine reduction, VietJet passenger arrest | Nov 17

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16

Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13

Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12

Thailand News Today | PTT pays out, Revised visa requirements, Protester’s asylum | Nov 11 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | PTT pays out, Revised visa requirements, Protester’s asylum | Nov 11

Thailand News Today | Thai official positive, Head-butt latest, protest letters | November 10 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Thai official positive, Head-butt latest, protest letters | November 10

Thailand News Today | Golf STVs, Russian head-butted, protest latest | Nov 9 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Golf STVs, Russian head-butted, protest latest | Nov 9

Thailand News Today | Shorter quarantine, STV update, THAI jets for sale | November 6 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Shorter quarantine, STV update, THAI jets for sale | November 6

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending