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Politicians raise doubt over February 24 election date

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Politicians raise doubt over February 24 election date | The Thaiger
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The Election Commission secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma is refusing to confirm that the next election will be held on February 24, fuelling speculation of a possible delay.

He said February 24 was the earliest date the agency would be ready to hold the general election, citing a conclusion of an Commission meeting held many months ago in Pattaya.

“The election commissioners, however, have not scheduled February 24 as the election date,” he said.

Jarungvith added that according to its order, the ruling NCPO is also empowered to “work with” the EC in scheduling the election date.

The official noted that after the law on the election of members of Parliament takes effect on December 11, the national vote will be held within the next 150 days but not later than May 9 in accordance with the legislation.

Jarungvith’s remark caused politicians to conclude yesterday that the election will not be held on February 24.

Paiboon Nititawan, leader of the pro-junta People Reform Party, said he was convinced the next election would not be held on February 24, as many political parties would not be ready by then. He added, however, that he saw no problem with that.

He noted that the law requires election candidates to be members of a party for at least 90 days to be eligible to run under its banner.

Varawut Silapa-archa, who heads the Chartthaipattana Party’s policy and strategy committee, said he was not surprised by Jarungvith’s remark.

“Many people in the political circles who I talked to agreed that there would be no election on February 24. There are many factors that would cause the postponement,” Varawut said. However, he added that he believed the next election would be held within the legal limit of 150 days after the new law on MP elections takes effect.

“I can wait if the election will be postponed for a month or two. But it must be not later than 150 days. We have been waiting for four years already,” he said.

The young politician blamed the EC’s failure to designate constituencies early for the lack of preparedness of political parties. He said parties need to know which districts and areas are in which constituency so that they can field suitable candidates. Also, parties are required by law to select their candidates based on the results of primary voting among party members, he added.

Meanwhile, provincial officials of the EC have become worried that a delay in designating constituencies might cause the election to be postponed beyond February 24, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Pheu Thai politicians yesterday also called on the EC to complete the designation as soon as possible in order to prevent further delays in the election timing.

Meanwhile, Suthin Klangpha, a politician from the anti-junta Pheu Thai Party, said yesterday that he suspected the junta government was plotting to further delay the next election. He claimed that pro-junta political parties would seek postponement by arguing that they were not prepared for the election on February 24.

Politicians raise doubt over February 24 election date | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Election Commission secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma – The Nation

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thailand

Health officials call for smoking to be banned in residential buildings in Thailand

Maya Taylor

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Health officials call for smoking to be banned in residential buildings in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Irina Iriser on Unsplash

Thai health officials are calling for a ban on smoking in residential buildings, such as condominiums, hotels, and dormitories. Those campaigning for a change in the law say it’s needed to protect the health of residents, and children in particular. Paisan Limsathit, from the Health Laws and Ethics Centre at Thamassat University, says residential buildings should be smoke-free in order to protect residents from second-hand smoke. He was speaking at a seminar on the protection of non-smoking condo residents.

The seminar was organised by the National Health Foundation and examined the results of a September – October study from Thammasat University that looked at smoking in condominium buildings.

According to the findings, out of over 1,200 people surveyed, 15% say they are smokers. Nearly half of those say they usually smoke on the balcony of their condo. 89% of respondents are in support of a total ban on smoking in condo buildings.

Meanwhile, Nipapan Kangsakulniti from the Faculty of Public Health at Mahidol University, says non-smokers are susceptible to second-hand smoke in shared buildings, adding that, according to a US study, banning smoking in residential buildings could cut maintenance costs by nearly 5 billion baht, as well as protecting the health of residents and reducing the risk of fires.

While the law in Thailand outlaws smoking in government and office buildings, as well as shopping malls and other public spaces like lobbies and corridors, there is no outright ban on smoking in residential buildings. Charan Kesorn from the Property Management Association of Thailand and the Thai Real Estate Association, says a compromise would be to reserve dedicated smoking areas away from non-smoking residents.

The fine for breaching Thailand’s ban on smoking in public places starts at 2,000 baht, rising to a potential 100,000 baht and/or a year in prison for smokers caught puffing on the beach.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Protests

12 anti-government protesters summonsed to hear lèse majesté charges

Maya Taylor

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12 anti-government protesters summonsed to hear lèse majesté charges | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sakchai Lalit / AP

With almost impeccable timing, 12 pro-democracy protesters have been issued with police summons to hear charges under section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code. Section 112 relates to the offence of lèse majesté, or insulting, defaming or threatening the Monarchy. Anyone convicted on lèse majesté charges faces imprisonment of between 3 and 15 years.

In June this year the Thai PM announced that HM the King had asked the government not to impose the country’s lèse majesté laws.

Protest leader Parit Chiwarak, aka, “Penguin” is facing a total of 8 charges. According to a Nation Thailand report, 6 have been filed by police stations in the north-eastern provinces of Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, and Roi Et, in the central provinces of Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi, and the Chana Songkram district of Bangkok. 2 additional charges are being brought by the Technology Crime Suppression Division.

Meanwhile, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, who has been named by the BBC as one of 2020’s 100 most inspiring and influential women, faces 6 charges. Both Panupong Jadnok (Mike) and human rights lawyer Anon Nampa face 4 charges each.

The other activists facing charges are Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, aka “Mind”, (3 charges), Chanin Wongsri (2 charges), and Juthathip Sirikhan, Piyarat Jongthep, Thatthep Ruangprapaikijseree, Atthaphol Buaphat, Chukiat Saengwong and Sombat Thongyoi, all facing 1 charge each.

A spokesperson for the Royal Thai Police says officers are working on additional summons for a further 3 – 5 protesters, who will also face lèse majesté charges. It’s understood officers had a request for arrest warrants turned down on the basis that the suspects are public figures who have permanent residences in the Kingdom.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Crime

Department of Land Transport threatens hefty fines for customised vehicle headlights, taillights

Maya Taylor

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Department of Land Transport threatens hefty fines for customised vehicle headlights, taillights | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Department of Land Transport is warning motorists that they may face significant fines if they modify their vehicle’s headlights or taillights. Jantira Buruspat from the DLT says that customising a vehicle’s lights in a manner that contravenes either the Vehicle Act or the Land Transport Act can incur a fine of up to 50,000 baht. He says the reminder is being issued after a number of complaints from members of the public who say their visibility is affected by issues such as vehicles that have blue lights.

“The customisation of vehicle headlights or taillights in private cars and taxi-meters is against the Vehicle Act, facing a maximum penalty of 2,000 baht. Light modification in public buses and large trucks also violates the Land Transport Act for adding objects to vehicles that can harm other people’s physical or mental health, which stipulates a maximum penalty of 50,000 baht.”

Jantira adds that vehicle owners should ensure they’re familiar with road safety rules and that their vehicles adhere to the manufacturer’s standards. Failure to do so means they will need to undo any customisation work detected during a vehicle inspection and before they can renew their driving licence.

“We are also cooperating with police nationwide to randomly inspect vehicles at selected checkpoints. Officials can immediately take charges against the drivers if their vehicles are found with modified headlights or taillights.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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