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Transparent Government. Where does Thailand rank?

Tanutam Thawan

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Transparent Government. Where does Thailand rank? | The Thaiger

Japan has the most open government system in Asia, according to the recently released World Justice Project. Thailand leads countries like China and Malaysia when it comes to transparent government. Globally, Thailand ranks 68th in the ranking.

The report measures whether country’s basic laws and information on legal rights are publicly available, presented in simple language and if there is civic participation and complaint mechanisms. It also measures if the processes by which the laws are enacted and administered are accessible, fair and efficient.

According to the World Justice Project none of the Asian countries figure in the list of top ten countries in the world with open and transparent governments.

In Asia Japanese citizens feel they have the most open system of government which is accessible with government officials providing relevant assistance readily. Japan is ranked 20th globally followed by South Korea which is ranked 22.

Singapore ranked 28 globally is perceived by its multi ethic citizen community to have a fair government that functions on a robust complaint redressal system granting citizens right to information on the functioning of the government despite decades of ‘dynastic’ Prime Ministers and the suppression of opposition political parties.

India ranked globally 32nd and fourth in Asia to have a transparent system. It is followed by Indonesia and Nepal ranked 47 and 51 respectively.

Philippines has seen a decline in government accountability with President Duterte in power and is ranked 54 followed by Mongolia which is ranked 61.

In Sri Lanka, people perceive a decline in the citizens’ participation in government functioning and is ranked 62 followed by Thailand which is ranked 68.

Bangladesh and Pakistan ranked 80 and 83 respectively are perceived to have closed system with minimum public participation and oversight. China is ranked 83 followed by Veitnam ranked 85.

Malaysia is amongst the lowest ranked countries along with Myanmar and Cambodia.

Transparent Government. Where does Thailand rank? | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Asia News Network, New Delhi



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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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Business

Thailand Post’s no-go list

Tanutam Thawan

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Thailand Post’s no-go list | The Thaiger

Twenty years ago postal services were thought to he going out of fashion as email and social media began to replace people sending letters in the post. But that’s all changed now as online retail services are making the world’s postal services busier than ever. Including Thailand Post.

If you’re wishing to avoid problems with Thailand Post and would like to know what you should’t be putting in the mail, this story is for you. At the top of Thailand Post’s warnings, senders are advised not to lend their ID cards (or passports) to strangers to mail their packages.

Thailand Post have issued the guidelines after police found that drug traffickers are increasingly resorting to postal services to send narcotics to their customers, after several major drug shipments, being transported in vehicles, were intercepted by police.

The managing director of state-run Thailand Post, Samorn Therdthampiboon, says the company’s post offices have intensified the screening of parcels to prevent unscrupulous senders from mailing prohibited items.

Senders are required to show their ID cards (or passports), and CCTV systems have been installed in all post offices. There are also X-ray scanners to look for explosives and flammable materials as part of the increased security measures.

There are seven types of items prohibited from being sent by mail…

  • Live animals
  • Narcotics (illegal drugs)
  • Pornographic material
  • Explosives or flammable substances
  • Unsheathed knives or other sharp objects
  • Banknotes
  • Fake products which infringe intellectual property rights

(We would add Durian but that’s still legal!)

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Business

Unregistered hotels and lodgings told to get their paperwork in order, or close down

Tanutam Thawan

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Unregistered hotels and lodgings told to get their paperwork in order, or close down | The Thaiger

At least 5,000 of the country’s estimated 23,000 unregistered small hotels are expected to get their paperwork in order. The rush to action follows the announcement by the current government to register and comply with the Hotel Act, or be closed down.

Most of Thailand’s busy tourist spots are rampant with small and illegal lodgings for tourists. Whilst the growth of registered hotels has rushed to keep pace with the rising tourist numbers, so too has been the rise of unlicensed properties in Thailand’s hot tourist spots.

The order was made through the controversial Article 44 powers which doesn’t provide for debate or parliamentary endorsement. When announced last week the Thai PM said the order was aimed at bringing illegal hotels and accommodation service providers under better control and boost safety and reliability for guests.

The order will require smaller, unregistered accommodations to comply with the same regulations as properly registered hotels – building regulations, room sizes, the amount of fire extinguishers required, fire escapes, standards of accommodation, accounting standards, etc. The government says there will be a period given – up to 90 days – for properties to operate whilst they get their compliance and standards up to date.

Authorities are also reportedly planning amendments of the Hotel Act to bring room-sharing platforms like Airbnb under a legislative framework. Currently the act allows accommodation offerings with less than four rooms to operate without a hotel licence.

A law-firm has, in English, gone through the steps needed for unregistered accommodation to comply with the Hotel Act….

How to obtain a hotel license in due course

A hotel is defined under the Hotel Act 2004 as any business providing paid accommodation for less than a month, irrespectively of the number or capacity of the rooms. Even the smallest villa and a one-bedroom condominium unit can qualify as a hotel under the law. However, the Hotel Act legitimises ministerial regulations to regulate this otherwise.

To successfully apply for a hotel business application, in general, these seven steps are required:

Step 1: Is the business exempted under the 4-20 privilege? An application is only needed if (i) the business qualifies as a hotel and (ii) such hotel is not license-free. Under the Ministerial Regulation 2008, a hotel license is not required if the business

  • has not more than four rooms on all floors in all buildings,
  • has a total service capacity of no more than twenty guests,
  • qualifies as a small business which provides an additional source of income for the owner, and
  • reports its daily rental business to the government (hotel registrar).

If the business is in-line with these requirements, it is unclear whether it does not qualify as a hotel (“no hotel”) or whether it is a license-free hotel business (“type-zero hotel”). The latest court decisions seem to favor the latter interpretation.

  • Type 0: hotels which are exempted from certain requirements including the need to obtain a hotel business license,
  • Type 1: hotels providing accommodation only, the number of rooms does not exceed fifty, the size of each room is not less than eight square meters,
  • Type 2: hotels providing accommodation and catering or restaurant services, the size of each room is not less than eight square meters,
  • Type 3: hotels giving accommodation, catering or restaurant services, the size of each room is not less than 14 square meters, and which has either conference rooms or entertainment venues which under the Place of Service Act could be a place for dancing, bars, and nightclubs or spa,
  • Type 4: hotels providing accommodation, catering or restaurant services, conference rooms, and entertainment venues, the size of each room is not less than 14 square meters.

For Type 3 and 4 hotels, no entertainment venues will be allowed unless these hotels have more than 80 rooms, are located in entertainment areas, or serve food, alcohol or entertainment only, and have opening hours after midnight.

You can read a full explanation about compliance with the Thai Hotel Act HERE.

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Business

Thailand’s exports plunge 5.8% in May

Tanutam Thawan

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Thailand’s exports plunge 5.8% in May | The Thaiger

Thai exports have declined 5.8% for the month of May 2019. The value of May’s exports is 648 billion baht.

The Commerce Ministry says in their report today that the contraction is mostly influenced by global factors including ongoing trade tensions between US and China and tighter global financial conditions, and specific factors of each country and region, political uncertainty in the EU and the unresolved Brexit in the UK.

“However, the effects on Thai exports are relatively less than those on other Asian countries” say the Commerce Ministry.

Thai exports still performed sturdily in main markets namely US and India and expanded in rising markets such as Canada, Russia and CIS (the post Soviet states).

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