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September 2015 : Draft Charter rejected by NRC

  • NRC voted 135:105 to reject the draft Charter
  • New 13,280 officials recruitment approved
  • NACC commissioners term extended until replacement
  • Court acquitted Noppadon Pathama on joint-communique signed
  • Economic shrinkage continued
  • Incentives to boost GDP
  • 7% VAT to continue for 1 year
  • Quan Ngon tropical cyclone hit Thailand
  • A proposal to totally ban off-season rice planting in 2016

    Draft Charter rejected

    On 6th September, the National Reform Council (NRC) voted 135-105 with 7 abstentions to reject the draft constitution. In regards to the rejection, a public referendum was annulled and a 21-member constitution drafting panel would be appointed to write a new constitution, to be completed within 180 days.

    Cabinet approved new 13,280 state officials

    On 30th September, the cabinet approved a plan to recruit new state officials, totaled 13,280, to 7 ministries. Among those, the Public Health Ministry will get the most. It was estimated that a recruit of 1 new official would cost approximately 25 million baht from his/her start until retire.

    5 NACC commissioners term extended

    On 16th September, the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered the National Anti-corruption Commission chairman Mr. Panthep Klanarongran should carry on his duty until there is a replacement. The order was exercised in aligned with Section 44 of the interim constitution. The 4 NACC commissioners; Mr Prasart Pongsiwapai, Mr Pakdee Pothisiri, Mr Vicha Mahakhun and Mr Wichai Wiwitsevi should continue their duties until an appointment of new commissioners, too. Their terms were scheduled to be ended on 21st September.

    Court acquitted former minister Noppadon Patthama

    On 4th September, the Supreme Courts Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions voted 6-3 to acquit former Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Noppadon Patthama reasoning the joint communique was not a contract; therefore, it did not need approval from the parliament.

    Mr. Noppadon, was file suit in 2013, by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, of malfeasance for having signed a joint communique, on 18 July 2008, with Cambodia to support Preah Vihear Temple in becoming a World Heritage site, without consideration of the Thai parliament. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs during the administration of the late Mr. Samak Sundaravej.

    Economic declines due to poor export and tourism

    On 30th September, the Bank of Thailand unveiled that regardless to the overbalance current account continued, economic in August was still fragile. Though import was low, export declined further due to demand sides from China and ASEAN countries decreased. Domestic consumption was slightly improved but household income dropped. Unemployment rate was stabled as some workforce went back to agricultural sector after the rain season started. Inflation rate increased due to decreasing fuel prices in the global market. The Ratchprasong bomb blasted and political unrest in Malaysia affected tourism industry.

    Economic incentives might boost GDP growth

    On 29th September, the Fiscal Policy Office was confident economic incentives applied would boost export growth in the last three months of 2015 to a minimum of USD 18.9 billion monthly and 2015 GDP would grow to more than 3% as target though the 6-month average growth was only 2.9%. Economic incentives were divided into short, medium and long terms. The short term incentives focus on SMEs and low income group and the long and medium would be applied to public infrastructure investment projects.

    7% VAT to continue for another one year

    On 14th September, the 7% VAT was extended for another year, starting from 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016.

    Quan Gnon tropical cyclone hit Thailand

    On 14-15 September, Quan Ngon tropical cyclone hit the northeast and east regions of Thailand brought heavy rainfalls and flashflood particularly in many areas in Chonburi and Rayong provinces. The flood could not recede due to sewers were blocked by high sea water tide.

    Pattaya city was affected by flood and in some areas the water was around 1.2 meters deep. The strong wind kept the fishing boats ashore and more than 500 tourists trapped in Lan Island were transported back by rescue teams.
    The Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute said the Pattaya flooding was caused by 3 reasons; roads elevated, waterways fill-up and a storm surge along the coastline from Rayong to Pattaya.

    In the south, households along the rivers in Chumporn, Ranong, Krabi and Satun also flooded. Rural highways and village roads were impassable and electricity went out after many posts fell. Local fishing boats were ashore along the coastline. .
    For a few days, the Quan Ngon cyclone brought abundant rainwater to dams and reservoirs in the northeast but raining subsided after 19 September.

    Off-season rice planting to be totally banned

    On 1st September, the Agriculture and Cooperative minister disclosed a plan to ban off-season rice planting in a total of 15 million rai countrywide. The plan would be proposed to the cabinet for approval.
    Dams and reservoirs provided water for off-season rice plant in the central region through irrigation network. According to the drought, water reserve went lowest and a total supply now is insufficient for agricultural sector. In 2015, the ministry made an officially pled that off-season farmers should refrain from cultivation. Some of them ignored and a total of 6 million rai was cultivated.

    It was anticipated that drought would be more severe in the upcoming dry season while water reserve declining. To prevent shortages of water, off-season planting must be totally banned and substituted by alternatives living; livestock, dry-crops, supplementary jobs etc. These solutions need an integration of ministerial functions that must be implemented by cabinet resolution.

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