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Political parties give the NCPO a cold shoulder

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Political parties give the NCPO a cold shoulder | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjaajiva – The Nation

Thank you… next.

Thai political parties are saying thanks, but no thanks, to an invitation to meet with the NCPO tomorrow for a ‘briefing’ about the forthcoming election.

The number of parties boycotting tomorrow’s meeting with the junta is growing with Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjaajiva announcing his party also will not be attending. The Democrats are the latest major political party to shun the meeting called by NCPO.

Earlier, Pheu Thai, Thai Raksa Chart and Future Forward parties had already announced that they won’t be attending any meeting called by the NCPO, stating that the ruling junta had nothing to do with the elections. They have insisted that the upcoming election only concerns the Election Commission and political parties.

Abhisit said yesterday that he “saw no benefit” in attending the meeting, as the NCPO invitation said the event was being held for political parties to hear from the authorities about the next election.

“The invitation said the meeting was for relevant authorities to explain details about the election, not for participants to discuss how the election will be held. So, I’m not sure if there will be any exchange of views,” Abhisit said.

Abhisit also said the Democrats would not join forces with the pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party to back General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return as PM.

He added that many of Palang Pracharat’s policy platforms were not compatible with those of the Democrats. For instance, Palang Pracharat focuses on centralisation of power, while the Democrats want power to be decentralised from Bangkok to the provinces.

Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, who is expected to be Pheu Thai’s chief prime ministerial candidate, maintained yesterday that the party would not attend tomorrow’s meeting if the NCPO and government representatives were present.

“Holding an election is the EC’s duty. We don’t think the government and the NCPO should get involved,” she said.

“I am against the NCPO or the government interfering” through use of absolute power allowed by Article 44 of the post-coup interim charter, some elements of which have been added to the current Constitution.

General Prayut, in his capacity as head of the NCPO, had earlier shrugged off growing opposition to the meeting, which was previously expected to serve as a forum for political parties to voice their requests related to the next election. The national ballot has been tentatively scheduled for February 24.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Nation



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Business

Finance Minister foreshadows slowing economy in 2019

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Finance Minister foreshadows slowing economy in 2019 | The Thaiger

“We expect the GDP growth for 2019 to be at least 4 per cent. However, the economic growth for 2019 is expected to be slower than 2018,”

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong predicts Thailand will encounter slower economic growth in 2019,. The Minister cites uncertainty from the trade war between China and the US, the upcoming Thai election and a slump in tourism as the key factors.

The Nation reports that Apisak made the comments at an event organised by the engineering faculty of Chulalongkorn University.

“The peak of the current economic cycle was during the first two quarters of last year, followed by an acute slump in the third quarter. Given that consumption and private investment are still continuously growing, we expect the economy to continue to grow in 2019, but at a slower pace.”

The first two quarters of this year saw growth of 4.8 per cent year on year. The economy managed growth of only 3.3 per cent in the third quarter and a recovery is expected in the fourth quarter, but not at the pace seen for the first two quarters, Apisak said at the Chulalongkorn event, the Engineering Dinner Talk.

Growth in exports is also expected to slow in 2019. This is due to the lagging negative impact of the trade war between the US and China, with some of the consequences to be felt next year.

“Many have suggested that Thailand can gain from the trade war through replacing Chinese goods in the US market and manufacturers moving their production base from China to Thailand. However, in the long-term, the trade war will only hurt the Thai economy,” the minister said. This is because Thailand is deeply entrenched in the supply chain, which is affected by the tariffs imposed by the two economic giants, he said.

At the event, Apisak addressed the relationship between the upcoming election and growth in foreign direct investment in the Kingdom.

“After talking to many foreign investors, they have said that they are holding off investing in Thailand until after the election. This is because they fear that political stability will be damaged as a result of the election,” said Apisak.

The final key factor likely to contribute to slower economic growth in 2019 is the decline in tourism. Visitor numbers have slumped significantly since a boat accident near Phuket in the middle of this year.

In August, 867,000 Chinese tourists visited the Kingdom, down 11.7 per cent month on month. In September, only 648,000 came, marking an even steeper 14.89 per cent fall month on month, according to the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB).

Apisak said the boat accident – which claimed the lives of dozens of mostly Chinese tourists – had led many Chinese to question Thailand’s safety standards, but it was not the only cause of the fall in tourism numbers.

“Tourism has also fallen as a result of external factors which we cannot control,” he said.

“The slowing global economy has led key tourist groups visiting Thailand to decrease.

“The slowing of the Chinese economy as a result of the trade war and the weakening of the yuan currency have led to falls in the number of Chinese tourists globally.”

With the declines in exports and tourism, Apisak said investment in the Industry 4.0 policies championed by the government, with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) as a major component, will be the key driver of growth in 2019.

“The EEC is expected to be a key focal point of investment in 2019,” Apisak said. “With strong private investment levels in 2018, we expect this trend to continue into next year. Public investment in infrastructure and transportation throughout the country will intensify in 2019.

“Meanwhile, foreign direct investment into the EEC is also expected to rise after the election in February next year.”

Finance Minister foreshadows slowing economy in 2019 | News by The Thaiger

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong speaking at Chulalongkorn University

ORIGINAL STORY: The Nation

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Thaiger Radio News – Thursday

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Listen to the daily news from The Thaiger, anytime, anywhere…

 

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Thai Life

New WHO world road death report – Thailand drops to number 8 but still high

The Thaiger

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New WHO world road death report – Thailand drops to number 8 but still high | The Thaiger

Thailand’s roads remain some of the deadliest in the world. But the Kingdom has dropped from its previous number two position to number eight, behind a collection of backwater African states and other undeveloped countries.

A new report by the World Health Organisation shows that the road safety situation in Thailand hasn’t improved. The shocking news is outlined in a the WHO report, Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018,

The report indicates the death rate per 100,000 population in Thailand was 32.7. This ranks Thai roads as at least the deadliest in ASEAN and amongst the deadliest in the world.

Only seven other nations fared worse than Thailand, while the countries with the highest road traffic death rate per 100,000 population were Liberia, Saint Lucia, Burundi and Chad.

The report, compiled using data from 2016 from 175 countries, shows that Europe has the safest roads with 9.3 deaths per 100,000 population. The African continent had the worst rates.

The report shows that there is an average of 22,491 people killed on Thai roads every year. South east Asia, where motorcycle-related deaths account for 43 percent of the total road toll, had an average of 20.7 deaths per 100,000 population.

Globally, the report found that the situation regarding road traffic deaths is worsening, with someone killed in a road accident every 24 seconds somewhere in the world.

The WHO road death Hall of Shame…

1. Liberia – 35.9 (per 100,000 people)

2. Saint Lucia – 35.4

Equal 3. Burundi and Zimbabwe – 34.7

Equal 4. Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) – 33.7

5. Central African Republic – 33.6

6. Thailand – 32.7

7. Burkina Faso – 30.5

8. Namibia – 30.4

9. Cameroon – 30.1

10. Mozambique – 30.1

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