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Delegation pitches Phuket ICEC review to PM Yingluck in Samui

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Delegation pitches Phuket ICEC review to PM Yingluck in Samui | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A delegation from Phuket yesterday lobbied Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to review the decision by Cabinet to shelve the 2.6-billion-baht project to build an international convention and exhibition center (ICEC) in Phuket.

As PM Yingluck arrived to attend the mobile Cabinet meeting on Koh Samui this morning, Boonsupaa Tanthai, president of the Rak Phuket Club (“We Love Phuket Club”), presented the prime minister with a letter requesting that she review the decision.

The letter cited the October 2 Cabinet resolution to cancel the budget to build the Phuket ICEC without any public explanation. The only explanation given by Cabinet was that the budget funds would be spent on “other projects”, the letter explained.

Mr Boonsupaa told PM Yingluck that the cancellation of the project would do great harm to Phuket as well as other provinces in the Andaman region.

“An ICEC would generate much more income for Phuket since it would be good for the tourism industry. It could attract people to come to Phuket all year round,” he said.

“People who travel to Phuket for seminars have three to four times more purchasing power than regular tourists and they travel to Phuket at any time of the year. The project would not only benefit people in Phuket, but also people in Phang Nga and Krabi,” he added.

Mr Boonsupaa explained that the cancellation of the project would also affect Phuket’s preparations for Thailand’s entry into Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

“We are now expanding the Phuket International Airport with a budget of 5.7 billion baht and other provinces in the Andaman region have already prepared [for the previously impending Phuket ICEC] by adding more hotel rooms.

“It would be a genuine pity if the project is canceled, since we will lose a great opportunity to make more money for Thailand,” he added.

The prime minster, who also heads the ruling Pheu Thai Party, responded to Mr Boonsupaa’s request with a simple “Ka” – the Thai equivalent to a polite “thanks” – before heading into the Cabinet meeting.

After PM Yingluck entered the Samui campus of the Surat Thani Rajabhat University’s International School of Tourism, the venue for the Cabinet meeting today, Mr Boonsupaa told the press, “As the representative of Rak Phuket Club, I would like to oppose the cancellation of the budget for the ICEC. I see that we will lose a lot of benefit for the whole region.

“If the project really is canceled, and after Prime Minister Yingluck and her Cabinet approved the project at the Cabinet meeting in Phuket earlier this year, I would say that the current government lied to all of us.

“Therefore, I would like to request PM Yingluck to reconsider the project for the benefit of everyone in Thailand,” he said.

It was not reported whether or not Mr Boonsupaa’s leadership of a large-scale protest against the establishment of red shirt villages in Phuket earlier this year had influenced the prime minister’s response.

See also: Pressure mounts on PM Yingluck to review Phuket ICEC cancellation

— Krista Mueanhawong

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Koh Samui

Raja salvage operation resumes, garbage truck, pick-up raised from seabed

Maya Taylor

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Raja salvage operation resumes, garbage truck, pick-up raised from seabed | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

An operation to raise the sunken Raja 4 ferry and its cargo of vehicles from the seabed off Koh Samui has resumed, after being delayed due to bad weather. The ferry sank on the night of August 1 as it was transporting several garbage trucks from Samui to the mainland. The ferry had set sail in bad weather and capsized when its cargo of trucks shifted during the crossing. 5 of the 16 people on board died in the accident.

Having first been suspended briefly due to bad weather a couple of weeks ago, and more recently due to storm Noul, the salvage operation is once more underway, with workers removing an 18-wheel truck and a pick-up from the seabed.

Nation Thailand reports that operators MS Service have been using 2 cranes, installed on 2 boats, to carry out the salvage operation. Prior to being lifted, the garbage truck was covered in netting, to prevent any further refuse from entering the water. Small boats were also used to pick up any rubbish that managed to escape the netting.

The Ministry of National Resources and the Environment has previously threatened to sue the ferry company over the environmental fallout from the ferry’s capsize. The ferry itself is yet to be lifted from the seabed.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Weather

Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts

The Thaiger

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Heavy rain across the country this weekend – local forecasts | The Thaiger

Heavy rain is expected across much of Thailand over the next few days, mostly as a result of the intensity of a tropical storm crossing into Vietnam today, ‘Noul’, from the South China Sea. The low pressure cell will help intensify the effects of the south west monsoon too. But the remnants of the storm won’t “slam” into Northern Thailand as one news site claimed – rather it will be a lot of rain and increased winds. The storm is expected to cross into Thailand around the Mukdahan province some time early tomorrow,

Around the country, Saturday will be the worst with rains easing during Sunday. Thailand north east ‘Isaan’ provinces will be the worst affected as they are in the direct track of the storm as it crosses Vietnam, into Laos, and then crossing Thailand’s borders in the upper north east in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Whilst tropical storm ‘Noul’ has been packing winds from 80 – 120 kilometres per hour as it reaches the central Vietnam coast areas, including popular tourist locations like Da Nang and Hoi An, the storm will continue to dissipate as it moves inland. The storm has been tracking across the South China Sea this week, gathering strength, in a west northwesterly direction.

Residents in the coastal town of Hoi An report that it rained continuously last night, with strong winds, and that they expect widespread flooding to be reported during the day.

The forecast for heavy rain in Bangkok will probably dampen some of the enthusiasm for tomorrow’s anti-government rally to be held in and around the Thammasat University Tha Prachan campus.

Here are the forecasts for Saturday and Sunday around the country…

Bangkok

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Phuket

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Pattaya

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Khon Kaen

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Koh Samui

Heavy rain across the country this weekend - local forecasts | News by The Thaiger

Read more about Thailand’s annual monsoons HERE.

SOURCE: weather.com

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Expats

Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents

The Thaiger

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Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Sisters on Samui

by Ann Carter

As around 2,000 Thai workers have reportedly left the island of Koh Samui due to the Covid-19 economic fallout, ‘Sisters on Samui’, the island’s largest charity is changing up the way in which to help feed those remaining residents. Keyt Topcu, co-president of SOS, says the effort involves cutting out bags as the organisation realised that they could save over 500 USD by having those receiving aid bring their own bags.

“We hand out rice and other goods two times per week, but the bags alone cost 4,000 baht per week. If we cut out bags, we can put that money towards more food for the island’s residents in need.”

The first three months of feeding islanders since Covid hit included many Burmese people that were out of work. Now, those receiving handouts is mostly comprised of Thais as a lot of Burmese left the island after being put out of work.

“Those that are left are the ones that maybe had savings and could survive without work, and they are now our main clients that we serve.”

Wai, a Thai mother of 4 on Samui, says she has been unemployed for 5 months and struggles to feed her children on a daily basis. Recently, she started working again but says the money isn’t enough.

“I only get 300 baht per day and my mother is 65 years old. It is not easy now.”

As Covid hit, many people on Samui have lost their jobs and have resorted to finding new ways to make ends meet. Mr. O, a taxi driver, now sells oysters and seaweed in a roadside stall after receiving only a few clients per day in his taxi.

“Now, many people have left the island after living here for 15 to 20 years. It is hard for me now to make a living only selling street food.”

“Sometimes, I get money and other times I get nothing.”

Sisters on Samui is continuing their fight to help those on the island who are still here but struggling. This Thursday, they will start the bag-free handouts in order to save plastic and money with the hopes of putting the money saved back into the community’s mouths.

“We have a handout at Chaweng Lake this Thursday, September 17, in which we ask everyone to bring their own plastic bags. Also, if you want to help the cause, we are accepting monetary and food donations. A 1,000 baht donation will get us a 40 kilogram bag of rice to give out.”

Apart from rice, the organisation says they need other items like eggs, noodles, milk, formula, vegetables, and tin fish to help stock their emergency stash. Yvonne Roberts, co-president of the charity says the effort to reduce plastic waste and spend the money elsewhere came about after receiving more and more volunteers to help the cause.

“As the operation slowed down a bit, we were able to logistically cut down on handing out bags as we had more volunteers to help distribute the food. In the beginning, we were trying to just get the food out as quickly as possible as it was a dire need.”

As tourists make up over 90 percent of Samui’s economy, the situation is grave. Sisters On Samui remains the largest charity on the island and has largely helped keep the residents afloat. To donate to SOS, you can visit their GoGetFunding page or visit the SOS website.

Links to GoGetFunding

Links to Sisters On Samui

Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents | News by The Thaiger

Samui charity battles to feed island’s remaining residents | News by The Thaiger

Special guest writer, Ann Carter

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