ԴЪҸԻ (English)
July 2018 : NLA Selected Five EC Members

  • NLA selected 5 EC members
  • NLA passed Bt. 12 billion budget transfer bill
  • Cabinet approved mineral administration strategy
  • Bt. 468 million for water resource development
  • Thailand News LINE to counter fake news
  • Displaced persons to return home
  • Cabinet approved a research and higher education ministry
  • Court issued another warrant for Thaksin
  • NLA unanimously passed Sangha Council bill
  • Bt. 99 billion to support rice farmers
  • 2018 revenue 3.5 % surplus target
  • 7% VAT stands another year

    NLA selected 5 EC members

    On 13th July, the National Legislation Assembly (NLA) voted behind the closed doors to endorse five of the seven candidates proposed to become new members of the Election Commission (EC). The seven candidates were scrutinized by the ordinary committee on their curriculum vitae, behaviors and ethics. They will take charge of the upcoming election planning on next February, and will be in office for five years.

    The five new EC members, and their votes, are:
    1. Suntud Sirianuntapiboon; 178, environmental technology professor from King Mongkuts University of Technology.
    2. Ittiporn Boonprakong; 186, former ambassador to Hague, Netherland.
    3. Tawatchai Lertpaothai; 184, former member of the former governor of Saraburi province.
    4. Chatchai Chanpraisri; 184, Supreme Court judge
    5. Pakorn Mahannop; 185, Supreme Court judge

    As the organic law required seven EC members, two vacancies needs to be filled, therefore, the selection committee would have to find new candidates for the NLA to endorse to fully constitute the EC.

    This is the second time the NLA had voted on a shortlist of candidates. The first attempt last February saw all candidates being turned down by the legislators.

    On 31st July, the five EC members unanimously chose Ittiporn Boonprakong to become the EC president. The EC will submit the decision to the Office of Senate Secretary to be forwarded to the NLA president to present for royal endorsement.

    NLA approved Bt12 billion budget transfer bill

    On 13th July, the NLA unanimously voted 183 to pass the 2018 fiscal budget transfer bill of 12,730,497,700 baht, transfer from some state agents and enterprises to the central budget for contingency, emergency or necessary expenditure, fund and revolving money.

    Baht 10,000,000,000 will be allocated for the implementation of the 20 years strategic plan and national reform and Baht 2,730,497,700 will be allocated to support and assist the low income and agriculturers, registered in the state welfare program.

    Cabinet approved minerals administration strategy

    On 31st July, the cabinet approved the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry proposals on the strategic plan and master plan on the administration of mineral resources. The two plans shall cover a period of 20 years. There are four principle policies;
    1. To securitize the country with mineral resources and raw materials for industrial development and increase competitiveness in the global market.
    2. To balance between economic, social, environment and public health.
    3. To develop the permission/licensing process to meet efficiency and fair.
    4. To promote participation among all parties involved.

    However, only the master plan will be effective from 2017 to 2021.

    Bt. 468 million for water resource development

    On 31st July, the cabinet resolved to allocate Baht 468.91 million to improvement of 47 water resources in 9 provinces; Prae, Payao, Pichit, Sukhothai, Petchabun, Nakorn Sawan, Buriram and Pattalung. The projects will be co-managed between the army and Utokapat Foundation Under Royal Patronage of H.M. The King. Budget will be transferred from the mid-year 2017 expenditure.

    Thailand News Line to counter fake news

    On 31st July, the cabinet assigned the Public Relation Department to launch a Thailand News LINE to provide news actually happening in the country. Not only news will be presented but also general information on health and food, that are hot issues among the public will be included.

    Recently, there were many faked or distorted news in social media , therefore, this source of news will counter those forged information .

    Displaced persons to return home

    On 17th July, the cabinet resolved on the draft agreement on the returning of refugees proposed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Due to fighting in their own country, a total of 99,700 people have fled their country and encamped in nine camps along in Thai-Myanmar border; four in Mae Hong Sorn, three in Tak, one in Kanchanaburi and one Ratchburi. Two relocations had been done since 2015 and 71 and 93 displaced persons had been voluntarily returned to their home respectively.

    The Minister shall be allocated with a 3.5 million baht budget to facilitate the returning movements.

    Cabinet approves a Research and Higher Education Ministry

    On 3rd July, the cabinet resolved the principle to found a Research and Higher Education Ministry to achieve the objectives of Thailand 4.0 strategy. The current Science and Technology Ministry will be merged with the Office of Higher Education Commission for better management of human resource. The new ministry would be responsible for the consolidation of all research universities and related institutes in order to better prepare human resources for the countrys future development programs, while helping start-ups and small and medium enterprises to leverage the use of technologies.

    The new ministry would also be responsible for helping Thai farmers use new technologies so that they become smart farmers as well as promoting the new growth or S-Curve industries so manpower and technology were crucial factors of success.

    The restructuring of these agencies is part of the governments bureaucratic reform agenda covering the next 20 years and its Thailand 4.0 initiative.

    Court issues another warrant for Thaksin

    On 4th July, the Supreme Courts Criminal Division for Political Office Holders resumed the trial in a criminal case, in which Thaksin Shinawatra is charged with malfeasance in connection with his governments approval for the state-owned Export-Import Bank to lend the Myanmar government Bt. 4 billion at a low interest rate for its telecom project. The borrowed money was used to buy equipment from Shin Satellite, a company within the Shin Corp group, which was owned by Thaksins family.

    Neither Thaksin nor his lawyer showed up for the resumed trial while the accuser National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) sent its representatives to attend.

    The court ordered a warrant to be issued for the defendants arrest and scheduled October 31 for both the defendant and the prosecution to submit the lists of their witnesses and plans for their hearing.

    This warrant is the fifth Thaksin received since he fled the country in 2008. The first four are in connection with cases stemming from his government policies- the Ratchadaphisek land scandal, the conversion of telecoms concessions into excise tax, a Bt9.9 billion Krungthai Bank loan to a property company and a Finance Ministrys takeover of Thai Petrochemical; Industry Plc.

    Under the amended law, the trial of corruption cases that were suspended because the defendants were absent shall resume three months following the issuance of an arrest warrant if the fugitives cannot apprehend.

    Thaksin is also a co-defendant in another case, in which the NACC in 2008 accused him and his fellow Cabinet members of malfeasance in connection with a special lottery project. The Supreme Courts Criminal Division on Political Office Holders is scheduled to begin the resumed trial of the case on July 25.

    NLA unanimously passes Sangha Council bill

    The National Legislative Assembly (NLA), on July 4, passed the amended Sangha Supreme Council Bill in its third voting with 217 votes after three straight reading. The amendment is to empower His Majesty the King to handpick, as well as remove, members of the Sangha Supreme Council, the supreme governing body, of 20 members, of Buddhist monks in Thailand.

    The bill will become effective after its publication in the Royal Gazette.

    The term of the current members of the council will end in two months after which the King will appoint new members with the prime minister countersigning the appointments.

    The shakeup of the Sangha Supreme Council follows corruption scandals implicating three council members and several other senior monks. The three council members have been removed by the Supreme Patriarch and their titles stripped by HM the King.

    Investigations into the temple fund embezzlement scandal are still ongoing.

    Bt. 97 billion to support rice farmers

    On 24th July, the cabinet approved a measure to help rice farmers by allocating Bt. 97,050.48 million for loans funding, Bt. 35,060 million, and cash handouts Bt. 62,890.48 million. It is anticipated the money will slow down the selling of approximately 9 million tons of rice and stabilize rice prices.

    2018 revenue 3.5% surplus target

    On 23rd July, the Finance Ministry disclosed state revenue in the first nine months of 2018 has reached Bt. 1,832,121 million which is Bt. 62,408 million, or 3.5 percent, higher than anticipation. The revenue is 5.4 percent higher than the same period of last year.

    The surplus accounted from increases of taxes and state enterprises income, Bt. 27,522 million and Bt. 25,171 million, or 22.9 percent and 23.9 percent, higher. The top three taxes came from petroleum, vehicles and tobacco.

    7% VAT stands another one year

    On 3rd July, the cabinet resolved the extension of the existing value-added tax rate of 7 percent for another year until the end of the next fiscal year in September 2019 to maintain the countrys economic stability.

    The VAT was first introduced in 1992 at a rate of 10 percent, but was slashed to 7 percent in late 1997 at the private sectors request. The rate has been kept at 7 percent ever since.

    The Thai economy is forecast to grow by 4.2 percent this year, up from 3.9 percent in 2017, driven by strong exports and tourism.

    From : http://www.fpps.or.th