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Thai industry captains praise NCPO moves, reforms

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thai industry captains praise NCPO moves, reforms | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Thai industry captains praise NCPO moves, reforms
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thailand is back to work and business after months of political impasse, but there are challenges to be addressed to ensure sustainable growth, an international business conference heard yesterday.

Inclusive political reform will be of utmost importance in sustaining the country’s long-term development, Surakiart Sathirathai, former deputy prime minister and ex-minister of foreign affairs, told the conference.

Surakiart said in his keynote address that it had to be recognised that the actions of the military administration over the past two months had brought a respite and had received broad popular support throughout the country. “The nation has pulled itself back from the brink.”

He was speaking at an international conference on “Thailand Is back”, co-hosted by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and The Nation at Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok. Surakiart was speaking on the subject of “Thailand’s Reforms”.

He said that in principle, he was not an advocate of military intervention. But it had to be conceded that the actions taken by the military two months ago most likely avoided hundreds of deaths that could have resulted from impending violent clashes among opposing groups of demonstrators.

He said the increasingly strident confrontations between the two unyielding forces of the political divide had threatened to tear the nation apart.

Surakiart, who is also chairman of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council, said that after the protracted political conflicts of the eight months before May 22, “Thailand is now back to business with public and private sectors joining hands to move the country forward through economic restructuring and a major process of national reform, in order to return the country back to a state of well-being.”

Already, without the burden of limited authority of the previous caretaker government, and the legal entanglements created by parties to the conflict in the past year, the interim administration has been able to tackle pressing issues.

Surakiart cited the payment of debts amounting to more than Bt90 billion owed to farmers for more than eight months under the rice-pledging scheme, and approval for long-awaited projects under promotional privileges of the Board of Investment worth Bt200 billion, with a further approximately Bt400 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.

Many challenges ahead

There are still a number of tasks that have to be performed to ensure sustainability, he added. Among these, the public and private sectors need to devise strategies and action plans to handle the decline in tourists and the sluggish export growth. Relatively weak small and medium-sized enterprises need capital facilities and other assistance to enable them to benefit fully from the upcoming Asean Economic Community.

He noted that while the economic road map has been spelled out and is in the process of implementation, the political road map was equally important, as political stability is a necessary condition for economic growth and prosperity. The foreign business community should view the reform agenda as a great opportunity to engage with Thailand even more than before in order to bring about a strong country with more economic opportunities for everyone, he added.

FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree told the conference that during the past two months after the May 22 coup, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) had been able to maintain peace and order while initiating a comprehensive reform plan to move the country towards a fully functioning and sustainable democracy.

“I believe that with peace and order on hand, we can regain our way of doing business as usual,” he said.

He added that the FTI and relevant organisations had jointly worked to restore investors’ confidence in Thailand and were seeking ways to work with the junta to amend regulations and laws that have hampered the process of doing business in Thailand.

Speaking on the topic of Thailand taking the lead as the AEC’s investment hub, panellist Frank Krings, chief country officer and general manager of Deutsche Bank, Bangkok, said the country was back to work after a long political impasse, which had brought important parts of the economy to a grinding halt.

The country should focus on six areas – building competency, embracing competition, creating inclusive frameworks for society and business, fostering innovation, driving technologies, and on the back of that, fostering transparency, all for the betterment of the country.

‘Hub of Asean investment

Kan Trakulhoon, president and chief executive of Siam Cement Group, said the current military government with absolute power should take the opportunity to amend laws and regulations that are obstacles to doing business in Thailand.

He added that Thailand should be the hub of regional operating headquarters of Asean and to achieve the goal the country must revise existing incentives to be much more attractive than those offered by other regional countries.

Another panellist, Boonchai Chokwatana, chairman of Saha Pathanapibul, said that after the military took over the administration of the country, “peace and happiness” has returned to most Thais, ending months of uncertainty. Confidence has also returned to the public and the business community.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Politics

Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care

The Thaiger

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Survey – Thais not taking sides and 66% prioritise health care | The Thaiger

The majority of respondents to a Super Poll survey, say that they are still waiting to see where they will put their future support. For now they’re saying they neither support the Government or Opposition, preferring to wait to assess their performance.

Super Poll conducted the survey on 1,069 people from a wide range of occupations nationwide between October 1519.

The director of Super Poll, Noppadol Kannikar, says that one interesting finding was that 67.2% of respondents admitted that they prefer not to take sides, with the Government or Opposition, because both are currently under-performing and they want to wait to assess their performance.

But 16.9% of the respondents are supportive of the coalition Government, compared to 15.9% who oppose it.

On the question of Government spending, the survey showed 65.9% want quality health care as their top priority, 59.8% want good and secure jobs, 54.3% want security for their lives and property, 50.8% want increased road safety, 48.2% want government help for small and medium-size enterprises and 37.0% want government to provide them with housing.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thai Life

Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019)

The Thaiger

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Top 10 English news sources in Thailand (2019) | The Thaiger

…in English, in no particular order.

This post is mainly for newbies, tourists and people-interested-in-Thailand. Locals already have their home favorite news sources. But all these Top 10 do it well, in their own way. All are trying to navigate their way through the labyrinth of modern media, some better than others, whilst punching out daily news. We think they’re all stars because doing media in Thailand, in English, is a tough gig.

These are all news and information sources and the list doesn’t include the myriad of excellent blogs around – a topic for another Top 10.

1. Bangkok Post

Traditional news, still delivered as a daily newspaper, but with an expansive and thorough website. It’s been going since 1946 and reported on a coup or two, or three. As far as making the move into digital media is concerned, Bangkok Post is doing it better than most. Editorially it has has taken a, mostly, neutral political stance with a few exceptions. But, as newspapers go, it walks down the middle fairly reliably. It is currently the leading English language news portal in Thailand and deserves its position on top.

2. The Thaiger

Please indulge us as we put our own website and news in the Top 10. The Thaiger, only running as a national website since April 2018, remains the fastest growing English-speaking online-only news and information site in the Kingdom (according to the ‘stats’).

The Thaiger curates the news and chooses topics it believes will be interesting, important or newsworthy, in English, Thai and now Vietnamese too. The Thaiger bought out the Phuket Gazette’s digital assets in August 2017 but now has a national and regional focus, whilst continuing to pay homage to its home turf in Phuket. Currently has the second highest readership of any English-speaking news website in Thailand.

3. The Nation

The Nation was the other major daily coming out of Bangkok, well for 48 years anyway, was a lot newer than Bangkok Post when it started up in 1971. The Nation took a more partisan line, famously turning its editorial voice against PM Thaksin Shinawatra. In latter years the paper struggled with circulation and was taken over by Sontiyan Chuenruetainaidhama, founder of conservative outlets T News and INN News. Falling circulation and advertising revenues eventual killed off the printed daily version. Final issue June 28, 2019. The Nation changed their domain name (suicidal) and continues as an online-only news source with an excellent coverage of local Thai politics.

4. ThaiVisa

Used to be the biggest and most popular news website in Thailand (in English). If it moves or breathes, you’d find the story on ThaiVisa. It’s full of news copied and pasted from partners who agree to share their news on the site. It’s also famous, or infamous, for its hugely popular forums where keyboard warriors dispense their opinions and wisdom on everything, usually tearing just about everything in Thailand to shreds. Whilst it was once the biggest English-speaking news website in Thailand for a decade it is now being challenged by new sources moving into the same web space. Plenty of info, a lot out of date, about visas and other snippets about living in Thailand.

5. Khaosod English

Fresh, selective, well-written and a rising star in real Thai english-language journalism. An offshoot of it’s much bigger Thai-language sister. To the point, original stories with a modern journalistic spark. They tend to choose their stories and provide excellent insight when they do. Original and deserving of your daily read.

6. Coconuts

Most would agree that when Coconuts started it was the best and cheekiest news blog for its time. Actually covering all of South East Asia, it’s Bangkok blog was a daily log-on for most hip expats. Now they’ve taken the brave ‘paywall’ option (because people want to pay for good journalism they say) which seems to have killed off some of their web traffic but the company says they will persist with the subscription model. In our opinion it’s lost a bit of its verve but it’s still a healthy and reliable daily read for Thailand and the region. Singapore it its most popular location, Thailand is third.

7. Thailand News

A shameless aggregator, they copy and paste headlines and a few paragraphs with a link to the original story. Designed to rank in Google, the site is still in its early days. To avoid any copyright issues, the stories usually include a photo library ‘look-a-like’, instead of the real photo from the story. For all we know the entire site could be run by cleverly-coded robots.

There is no sign of a human touch anywhere. Rather than a contributor to the world of Thai journalism, the site is just a parasite using everyone else’s news. Bottomline, it’s nicely set up and has, well, most of the stories around Thailand, all in one neat package.

8. Chiang Rai Times

Chiang Rai Time is a local website that is regularly updated, nicely laid out, aggregates most of the main international stories and has plenty of local news relevant to the residents of northern cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. You may notice a similarity with The Thaiger as they used the same WordPress theme – we’ll take it as a compliment. There’s also Chiang Mai City Life which is a bit less ‘newsie’ and has plenty of northern lifestyle info in addition to the local news.

9. The Pattaya News

Whilst the rest of Thailand does things one way, Pattaya does things differently, in every aspect, including its media. But The Pattaya News does a better job than most with daily content, some original, and translating stories from Thai media. Easy to navigate, clear and readable, unlike a lot of others!

10. Thai PBS World

A government news agency but has demonstrated its independence over the years. As a website it’s had more face-lifts than Joan Rivers but remains solid, reliable and surprisingly (especially as it’s run by a quasi-military government) unbiased. Also tends to cover stories the other news sources don’t.

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Expats

Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple

May Taylor

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Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple | The Thaiger

The “OSS Foreigner” app is coming, and you will be able to use it for 90 day reporting, according to the Secretary-General at the office of the PM.

Dr Kobsak Pootrakool says the planned app can be used for all immigration reporting, including 90 day reports, adding that typing in the required data and uploading a selfie will accomplish the same result as filling out paperwork at the local immigration office but without having to make the trip there.

Dr Kobsak has been given responsibility for sorting out the TM30 debate and says the immigration app, called OSS Foreigner, is nearly complete and should make all those who live and work in Thailand feel more welcome and make compliance easier and more convenient.

The TM30 form, and its companion, the TM28, have been a source of expat displeasure over the past five months since the immigration department decided to enforce a little-used 1979 law that required foreigners to report their whereabouts if they had stayed overnight at an address different from their registered address.

This latest move comes as part of a wider program to make Thai public services more efficient, with Dr Kobsak making the announcement while outlining plans for all Thai government departments to embrace digital technology by as early as 2022. Meanwhile, the Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is championing a programme to improve Thai public services for both Thai citizens and foreigners.

“The government’s new approach to IT and digital technology is designed to deliver a smarter, easier service as part of the Thailand 4.0 economic model.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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