Nov 26, 2014

Thailand drafted MOU with China on high-speed train routes

Thai cabinet approved a MOU draft for development of trains between Thailand and China, using the 1.435 meter standard gauge track.  This will be submitted to the National Legislature to approve it before signing. The content deals with G-to-G cooperations in the construction of parallel tracks in the 731 km route (from Nong Khai - Nakhon Ratchasima - Kang Khoi - Mab Ta Phut port) and a 133 km route (Bangkok - Kang Khoi).

Ref Thai Publica

Thailand to attract multinationals to set up headquarters

Thai Cabinet approved measures to attract international companies to set up their headquarters in Thailand. There will be reduced tax and exemptions, and other non-tax incentives, equivalent to those of Singapore, effective January 2015. Many government agencies will improve regulations on visa, and work-permits. BOI would also set up a one-stop service on this matter.

Ref : Thai Publica

Nov 10, 2014

Villagers protect their last forest plot with cement fence

Villagers in Sisaket province, northeastern Thailand, donated their labors and money around 6 million Bahts to built 2 meter tall cement fence surrounding the last forest land they have, 600 Rai or around 1 sq km, from illegal logging activities.

Ref: Nation TV

Sep 23, 2014

Thailand clears bad credit records older than 8 year of 600,000 people.

Thailand's Credit Information Protection Commission annouced in the Royal Gazette clearing bad credit records older than 8 year for 600,000 persons from database so that they would be eligible for financial credit applications to commercial bankings.

In addition, another annoucement stated that, from now, savings cooperatives would be classified as legal financial institutions, thus allow credit information from the coops to be included in the credit rating database so that more people would have access to financial sources.

Ref : Post Today.

Aug 14, 2014

Yingluck's First Car tax refund project proved disaster

TDRI concluded that the tax refund for 'first personal car' policy of previous Yingluck government was a complete financial disater for government as well as private sectors alike.

  • Taxpayers lost tax revenue of around 82 billion Bahts.
  • Car dealers suffered from false high demands, later had to give heavy discounts for their over stocks of cancelled reservations.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers / Assemblers suffered because of a drastic purchase slow down in following year.
  • Second-hand car dealters lost a lot of money since most people went to purchase brand new cars instead.
  • Car rental services suffered because people bought their own cars instead.
  • Financial firms suffered because of bad car loans, and extended payments.
  • The state lost excision tax as well as value added tax (VAT) in part.

Ref: from facebook source

Jul 30, 2014

NCPO approved 8-year transportation improvement strategies

NCPO approved a 8-year transportation improvement strategies (BE 2558-2565 or CE 2015-2022).

NCPO also approved next year 108 billion Baht budgets for transportation improvements (BE 2558 or CE 2015).

First priorities are dual track projects for 6 routes, for 1 Meter Gauge for 887 km, to be complted in 2563 (2020).

NCPO also approved the future development of dual tracks with Standard Gauge, for electrical trains for a speed of 160 km/hr. Two routes, northeastern-eastern (Nongkhai - Korat - Saraburi - Laem Chabang, Mabtaphut,737 km for 392.57 billion Baht) and northern-central (Chiang Khong - Denchai - Ban Phachi, 655 km, 348.89 billion Baht) will be quickly implemented, to service passengers and freight trains.

Ref: Manager

Jul 18, 2014

Thailand CCC indicted former Prime Minister

Today, the Counter Corruption Commission unanimously (7:0) agreed to file criminal charge against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawater for her faults while in the position on the controversial rice pledging program which caused severe financial losses to the country, destroying rice market and rice exports, and neglected widespread corruptions at numerous steps of the process. The CCC would file the charge to criminal court.

Ref: Isra News

Jul 17, 2014

Thailand 's new purchase tax rate

Today, NPOMC (National Peace and Order Maintaining Council) declared a VAT (value added tax) reduction for 1 year, from October 1, 2014 - September 30, 2015, to 6.3% (from 7%). Then, the VAT would be increased to 9% from October 1, 2015.

Ref: Manager

Jun 1, 2014

AUA members replied to US's interference on Thailand

Committee and members of American University Alumni Association (AUA) made statements to the US government concerning its interference in Thailand's affairs.
They said, the Kingdom of Thailand has a long history, never was a colony of any western country. With the US's criticizing the political roadmap of Thailand, it is losing a lot of friends quickly. It 's time now that it respect its ally on equal term, not as its colony. Thailand will maintain its sovereign and freedom, and remain an honorable Kingdom.

The USA has had difficulties in the past history, for example its civil war took longer than 25 years.

The US's demand that Thailand spend time less than a year to reform indicated that it did not study fractures within our society. It is lucky for Thailand for we have not lost millions of people like the US did in its civil war.

Ref: My excerption and translation from Maticon

May 30, 2014

Thailand government budget proposed to be 2.6 trillion Baht

Thailand's MoF, Budget Bureau, NESDB, and BoT had a meeting to establish a budget framework for next fiscal year (BE) 2558, to start from October 1, 2014. The meeting agreed upon a 2.6 trillion Baht budget, with a 200 billion Baht budget deficit. Around 17% will be investment budgets.  The draft budget bill will be submitted to higher authority, and the next parliament.


May 26, 2014

Likely over 500 billion Baht lost for Rice Pledging

Report from the subcommittee for account closing for the Yingluck government 's rice pledging project revealed that Thailand likely has lost over 500 billion Baht, plus around 2.8 million tonnes of grains missing, and a portion of damaged grains yet to be determined.

Ref: Manager.

May 23, 2014

Another manifest of Thailand in the social network era

Thailand's Coup in this social network era even has its own Facebook (in Thai) to release official news.

Now the formerly helpless political situation in Thailand has been unlocked by the removal of acting Prime Minister who received order from overseas to hang-on with remnant of previous corrupted government, political reform can start soon. All free organizations under the previous constitutions are still functioning, although the constitution has been revoked.

May 7, 2014

Earthquakes in Chiang Rai

Recent 6.3 scale earthquake in Chiang Rai on the evening of Monday, May 5 2014 (B.E. 2557) was followed by over 200 aftershocks for the past 72 hours. Thousands of homes, buildings, Buddhist temples, were damaged. One person was killed when a wall collapsed.  Some road sections were cracked and subsided, esp. highway 118 linking Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Now a small dam in Mae Sruay district is threaten, while villagers reported leaking of muddy water from nearby water wells.

A tourist's favorite Wat Rongkhun, created by the famous Thai artist, Chalermchai Kositphipat, was also damaged and has been closed for the public. The artist said the temple was only 20 km from epicenter and it could take over 2 years to repair the mural painting and delicate decors, if the structures are found to be sound by engineers. Otherwise it has to be closed indefinitely.

Libraries of Chiang Mai University in the nearby province had their bookshelves toppled. Some people in high-rise building of Bangkok, some 700 km away, could notice the shaking.

The acting cabinet approved preliminary budget of 500 million Baht for disaster reliefs.

Ref: Multiple sources, including Nation Multimedia

Constitution Court ruled on PM Yingluck

Today, Thailand's Constitution Court read its decision that there were unlawful irregularities on PM Yingluck and her cabinet for transferring the former National Security Secretary to an inactive post, to pave way for transferring a former police chief into his position and thus pave way for a relative of her and Mr. Thaksin to take to the Chief Police post.
Thus the court ruled today that her current position as acting Prime Minister, including the acting ministers who voted with her on that case, are terminated.

Ref: Manager

May 3, 2014

Nonthaburi Durian at 10,000 Baht a fruit

With the recent infusion of sea water from the gulf of Thailand flowing upstream into Nonthaburi privince, well-known for its numerous varieties of Durians, a lot of Durian plants died due to 'salty' water. Now, a fruit of "Long Stem" variety of Durian from the province hit a record high market price of about 10,000 Baht per fruit.

Ref: Matichon

May 1, 2014

A grand worship

A business woman in Chiang Mai donated 99,999 jasmine garlands to worship a Buddha image, the 'Instant Buddha', for having recovered her recently lost money of 40 million Bahts within a week after she had vowed to do so in front of the Buddha image had she got her money returned.

Ref: Manager
My comment: I suppose the cost of the jasmine garlands must be at least a million Baht, based on the market price of at least 10 Baht per garland. Note that number '9' in Thai is an auspicious number, rhyming with a word which means 'stepping forward'.
This news reflect a Thai cultural beliefs and normal practice in the society by many Buddhists so I think it fits in this blog as well.

Apr 16, 2014

Economy slowdown for rural Thailand

Many signs showed slow down of economy, such as reduced incomes for small countryside shops, reduced productions of small factories as reflected by reduced over-time works, even reduced welfare and delayed payments, said head of Thai wholesales and retailing association. Meanwhile, there are lots of competing sale campaigns, sort of cut prices, coupons, free samples, extra gifts.

Ref: Matichon

Apr 14, 2014

Geen Esan Project turned NE into brown deserts

Forests of Northeastern Thailand and former way of villagers' life were destroyed by Green Esan Project, with forest destruction and planting of Eucalyptus plants into vast  decades ago, which turned the lands into barren desert areas.
Internal Security Command is collaborations with villagers and several agencies, and reforestations have started.

Ref: Manager

Apr 13, 2014

Inequalities in Thailand

Thai Future Foundation released a report (in Thai language) describing inequalities in Thailand, as reported by Thaipublica. A news highlight includes the fact that, combined wealth of 500 families of MPs elected into the Thailand House of Representatives at 40 billion Baht, was roughly equivalent to a combined wealth of 2.2 million families of Thai villagers.

Ref: Thaipublica

Thai Parliamentary Budget Organization under plan

TDRI and KPI are tinkering with the idea of setting up a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), or สำนักงบประมาณประจำรัฐสภา or thaipbo

Ref: Isranews

Apr 12, 2014

Media to protest Computer-Crime Act by not bailing themselves out during trial

Alan Morrison, an Australian who is the editor of website gave an interviewed (in Thai), after being sued by the Royal Thai Navy for defamation based on a news report of abuses against Burmese Rohingya by Navy servicemen, using a new Computer-Crime Act, said that he and the news reporter would not personally pay for their own bailing out, although permissible by court during trial, to symbolically protest against an attempt to shut up the media. If that is the case they would possibly go to jail after April 17's arraignment.

Ref: iLaw

Truth about history of Petroleum Industry in Thailand

Mr. Sophon Supapong, former CEO of Thailand's Bangchak Petroleum, revealed history of petroleum industry in Thailand, and how it became corrupted in the past decade in his public speech.  (Talk in Thai)
คุณ ‪โสภณ สุภาพงษ์ พูดเรื่องพลังงาน

Apr 2, 2014

70 years old bomb discovered and still deadly

An aerial type, 500 lb WWII bomb exploded at a recycle-materials storage in the suburb of Bangkok as unawared workers try to cut it open, killing 7 people and destroyed the workshop and damaged 10 nearby houses.
Another similar one was recently discovered at Bangsue, at the location of a red-line subway construction, but was safely removed by EOD unit.

Ref: Asian Correspondent, Manager

Police found body parts of a girl, around 3 years old, so there are 8 deaths, many of which are alien workers.
Workers found the bomb from the soil reportedly dug from Bangsue area and filled in a nearby area.

So far, 3 old bombs have been found.

Pictures of damages are in the Thai news. Ref: Manager

Mar 21, 2014

Recent general election annulled

Thailand's Constitution Court ruled by a 6:3 majority that the general election held on February 2, 2014, in which 28 districts could not be organized on the same day, made it violated article 108 of the Constitution.

Ref: Manager

Mar 3, 2014

Army filed charge against northern 'separatist' with police

Regional Army 33's representatives filed charge to Chiang Mai police against a leader of a red-shirt group, 'Love Chiang Mai 51', for rallying to separate northern provinces into a so called "PDR Lanna". They said the activities were in violation of criminal act, articles 113, 114.

Ref: Manager

Feb 18, 2014

Thai Prime Minister to be formally charged of unlawful misconducts

Thailand's Counter-Corruption Commission has issued a summon to the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to meet the commissioners on February 27, 2014, so that she can be notified of their charge for a gross neglicence on wide-spread corruptions in the rice pledging process which led to financial losses around 200 Billion Baht.

An excerpt from a statement from the CCC said, when she was notified of the irregularities and negative impacts of the project by a letter from the office of government financial inspection, she still insisted on going ahead with the project.  In addition, a large number of farmers have not received money and are in serious plights. So she has demonstrated an intentional avoidance to take action which has caused damage to the royal government, according to the Criminal Act's article 157, and intentional violation of Thailand's Constitution article 178, which can be used as a cause for impeachment by article 270.
So the commissiioners unanimously called for Ms. Yingluch to be present in person to hear the charge.

Ref: Manager

Feb 17, 2014

Thailand's GSB faced a net withdrawal of 20 billion Baht in a single day

A large number of Thai people who opposed to the government's attempt to find money to pay farmers in the controversial rice pledging program flocked to GSB branches nation-wide and caused a net withdrawal of 20 billion Bahts in a single day. GSB Director admitted that the bank had given a 5 billion Baht interbank loan to BAAC, however the remaining 15 billion Baht loan will not be given while the majority of GSB customers are still suspicious of the deal.

Ref: Manager

Feb 16, 2014

Thai people turned against GSB for 20 billion Baht interbank loan to BAAC

Thailand's Government Savings Bank admitted that it just gave a 20 billion Baht interbank loan to Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative (BAAC), currently under financial stress due to PM Yingluck government's policy. Many people believed that the money would be channeled to partially pay government promise to protesting farmers under the rice pledging project, widely regarded to be a corrupted policy initiated by former PM Thaksin and implemented by the Puea Thai government.

Many Thai customers have started their social media campaigns to boycott the GSB and withdrawing deposited cash. GSB Workers Union has also issued an open letter calling for cancellation of the Interbank loan and immediately get back the fund. GSB employees in the south planned to dress in black to protest.

Ref : Manager

Insufficient supply of 25 and 50 Satang coins

Thailand 's Treasury Department has recently revealed that supply of 25 and 50 Satang coins, i.e. the face values of 0.25 and 0.50 Baht, are inadequate.

Total number of coin in circulation is 25 billion coins, worth 50 billion Bahts at face values, constituting 5% of the entire cash supply. Numbers of 25 and 50 Satang coins in circulation are 3.269 and 2,234 billion coins.

To alleviate the deficiency, the department has started contacting various Buddhist monasteries where there are a lot of donated money in small denominated coins and asked them for those in exchange with larger bills. The department is also study long term ways to solve the problem.

Ref: Matichon

Water supply in Bangkok has 10x higher salt

Metropolitant Water Work Authority announced that, with a reduced fresh water coming to the lower Chao Phraya River basin in the dry season, sea water has pushed deeper into the river, reaching Pathum Thani and Bangsai in Ayutthaya. Now the raw water that they use to provide water supply to Bangkok from that area has a rather higher chloride level of 250-260 mg/liter, compare to the usual level of 20 mg/liter.

For normal people, water with higher salt content would not have an adversed health effect, although it might not quench the thirst well. However, people with kidney problem will be affected, and should use water which pass through reverse osmosis. The taste of the water for the next 2-3 months might be a bit different but quality would still be in line with WHO standard.

Area in Thonburi which receive water supply from Mahasawas canel would not be affected.

Ref: Daily News

Feb 15, 2014

Chairman of Anti-corruption NGO harassed

On February 15, 2014, at 3 a.m., someone shot 12 rounds of 0.45 bullets into home of chairman of Thailand's anti-corruption organization. Nobody was injured in the residence of Mr. Pramont Suteewong, also serves as chairman of Toyota Motor (Thailand), honorary chairman of Thai Chamber of Commerce, and Council of Commerce. Mr. Pramont said he believes it probably stemmed from his organization's aggressive anti-corruption public campaign on TV. He said, it would be continued.

Ref: Manager

Note / Comment: Recently, an episode of the anti-corruption TV advertisement profiled a corrupted female politician whose school-age son was ostracized.

Feb 14, 2014

Prawase Wasi: Thailand needs integrated systemic problem-solving for rice farmers

A second seminar 'to restart Thailand' was organized by 'Network of Servicing persons for a peaceful reform of Thailand' on February 14, 2014. Dr. Prawase Wasi proposed his ideas for integrated systemic solving of problems for rice farmers.

Ref: Isra News

Feb 13, 2014

Buddhist monk and 3 villagers killed and 7 injured by insurgents in Pattani

In Maelan district of Pattani today (16 Feb 2014), 4 muslim insurgents attacked Buddhist villagers who were giving foods to a monk during the early morning alms round, killing the monk and 3 villagers (one is a young boy), and injured 7 others, including school children. Escoring policemen shot back and injured some of the attackers. Police found spent cartridges of AK47 and M16.

Ref: Manager

Feb 11, 2014

Thailand government struggled to find money to pay rice farmers

For several months, the Yingluck Shinawatra government has not been able to obtain 130 billion Baht to pay farmers in the rice pledging project, even before the dissolution of the House of Representatives.  Many banks have declined to give loan to the government, considering it as too risky. Meanwhile, the caretaking government can not commit any financial obligation that might be a burden to the next government, and the election process has not been completed due to boycotting by a number people. Many rice farmers now are highly indebted and unable to solve their proplems. While some of them are organizing protests in several provinces, a few have committed suicide.

A senate's finance committee advisor said that there is no way that the acting government can help farmers now while maintaining financial discipline, because it has been destroyed since the government decided to pledge to rice grain at 15,000 Baht / tonne.

A former Finance Minister from Phuea Thai Party said that no fanancial trick can be done that will not violate the constitution so the government should try to get the rice grain out of storage and sell to raise cash and try to negotiate with the protesters so the election process can be completed as quickly as possible. Some people blamed the problem on a corrupted policy.

Additional info: The project, a brainchild of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, has costed estimated loss to the government from 200-400 billion Baht.

Ref: Thai PBS

Feb 7, 2014

Poll statistics suggested anti-government supporters won the general election

A Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) researcher announced his discovery, based statistics of the recent February 2, 2014, general election as released by the Election Commission, that supporters of the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai party has reduced to only 10 million votes, down from 15 million votes 3 years ago. Only 46.7 % of 43 million eligible voters went to nation-wide polling stations.

Meanwhile, over 3.33 million people who ticked 'vote no' in the ballots, together with invalid and damaged ballots (2.42 millions), and unusually large number of 22.89 million absentees above a base line, predicted a support base of the demonstrators opposing the pro-Thaksin government at 16.3 million votes.

Ref: Manager

Feb 4, 2014

Chinese supplier canceled 800,000 tablet contract

A Chinese manufacturer which won e-auction biddings worth over 1.628 billion Bahts to supply over 800,000 tablets to Thai grade 1 school children has cancelled the signed contract with a Thai government agency, citing political uncertainty in Thailand and misunderstanding of TOR and contract.

Ref: Manager

Southern Thailand insurgents attacked a family in Narathiwas, killing 3 boys

A group of southern insurgents fired automatic weapons to kill a family in Narathiwas on the evening of February 3, 2014, resulting in deaths of 3 boys (aged 6, 9, 11 years old) while their parents were seriously injured, spokesman of the internal security directorate region 4 announced in Yala. He also urged the society and NGO groups to join hands in rebuking the inhuman action of the separatists.

Ref: Manager

Jan 24, 2014

Buddhist monk and ranger killed by insurgents in southern Thailand

In Pattani province, 6 muslim insurgents on motorcycles attacked and kill a Buddhist monk on his way to morning alms. The monk and 1 accompanying paramilitary soldier were killed in a car, while another soilder and a villager were seriously wounded. Around 20 used M16 cartridges were found.

Ref: Manager

Jan 23, 2014

Retired supreme court judge: Thai PM has no power to declare emergency

A retired supreme court judge pointed out that, according to the constitution of Thailand, the acting Prime Minister does not have the legal power to declare emergency situaion in Bangkok now that the parliament has been dissolved and the cabinet does not exist any more. In addition, the situation in Bangkok is not in line with the situation specified by the emergency situation law. In addition, the consitution court recently judged that the peaceful demonstration is rightful in the permission of the constitution.

Therefore, any executive orders referencing the declared emergency situation would be legally invalid.

Ref: Manager

Jan 18, 2014

Southern route train track was sabotaged but quickly repaired

Southern railway near Cha-am station was broken by a bomb blast around 3 a.m. on Jan 18, 2014.  Some southern-route traines were delayed for several hours at nearby stations while the tacks were replaced but no one was injured.  It was believed that the sabotage was an attempt to impede southern people from joining the anti-government protests in Bangkok.

Ref: Manager

Jan 16, 2014

2 Thailand ministers will be charged

National Counter Corruption Commision will file charge against 2 ministers in Yingluck 's cabinet over irregularities in rice pledging process and lack of G2G export to foreign countries as they said earlier. The PM will also be investigated over her negligence over the massive losses.

Ref: Manager

Jan 12, 2014

Thailand Election Commission proposed postponement of general election

Thailand Election Commission said it had sent a letter to PM Yingluck giving an opinion to postpone the up-coming general election originally scheduled for February 2, 2014 to avoid several problems and make the election just, fair and clean. Meanwhile it said, unless the caretaking government revised the current election bill, the EC needed to follow the law and go ahead with the original schedule.

Ref: Manager

Who lied ?

Latest news: Former Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva said he sent a letter to UN Secretary, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, informing him that the current Thai PM, Ms. Yingluch, had lied to Mr. Mun on several points, and stated the facts.

Ref: Manager