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October 2016 : Thailand Morns as King Bhumibol Passed Away

  • Thailand morns as His Majesty King Bhumibol passed away
  • The Constitution Final Draft unveiled
  • Political party Draft Bill
  • 74,455 villages countrywide to get 200,000 baht each
  • Officials Development Plan Approved
  • A Ministerial Regulation to govern petroleum pipeline transportation
  • Officials Involved in Rice Pledge Cases investigated
  • Revenue code on land sales revised
  • Supreme Court dismissed Krung Thai Bank Case
  • Assistants to Ministers increases to 40
  • Cabinet resolved 6 Anti-Corruption Strategies
  • Education Loans Repayment extended to 31/12/16
  • Measures to help farmers approved
  • Poll revealed 74% trusted PM Prayuth
  • NLA to read Narcotic Amendment draft Bill
  • NLA to read NACC organic draft Bill
  • Supreme Court upheld former BOT governor acquittal

    Thais mourn as King Bhumibol passed away

    On 13th October at 18:45 hrs., the Royal Household officially announced His Majesty King Bhumibol has passed away at 15:52 hr. at Siriraj Hospital.

    On 14th October, his body was carried by a motorcade from Siriraj Hospital to the Grand Palace. Along the way crowds of Thais gathered to pay homage to their beloved King.

    The funeral ceremony was conducted in the Grand Palace since 14th October whereas not only the Royal family and officials attended, but the commoners were also allowed to preside in the ceremonial rituals while tens of thousands gathered in front of the Grand Palace every day.

    From 14 to 28 October, a total of 4,357,122 people had come to express their condolences in the books provided by the Royal Household. 6,669,798 had attended in the funeral ritual and the morning Buddhist ceremonies were daily held in front of the Grand Palace where a total of 2,371,465 people came to offering food to the monks.

    King Bhumibol Adulyadej was borne on 5th December 1927 at Mt. Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. He was the third child of the Prince of Songkla and the Princess Mother Srinagarindra. The King accessed to the throne on 9th July 1946 after the death of his elder brother King Ananda Mahidol. His coronation was held on 5 May 1950 during when he pledged that he would reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people. During his 70 years reign, he devoted his life to raising standard of living of his subjects in particularly the underprivileged in the rural remote areas. One may say that there is no remote areas in Thailand the King never been visited. He has started thousands of Royal projects mostly on the development of soil, water, forest and engineering to promote self- sufficiency for the Thai people.

    The King has been awarded with several medals not only in the country but also from international community due to his work. Some of them are the Gold medal of Outstanding Leadership in Rural Development from the Asian Institute of Technology on 21 July 1987. On 4 November 1992, the United Nations Environmental Program presented him the UNEP Gold Medal of Distinction and in the same year on 24 November, the World Health Organization presented him the Health-for-All Gold Medal. On 26 January 1993, the International Society of Chemical Ecology presented the Natural Pro Futura Medal for the conservation of biodiversity. The International bank for Reconstruction and Development (IRBD) honorary award on Soil and Water Conservationist in 1993. The UNDP Human Development Lifetime Achievement award in 26 May 2006. The World Intellectual Property Organization presented the WIPO Global Leaders Award in 2009 on his innovation of biodiesel, the New Theory and artificial rain projects.

    Recently on 16 April 2012, the International Union of Soil Sciences awarded the IUSS Humanitarian Soil Scientist Medal and proposed the 5th of December, the Kings birthday should be cerebrated as the World Soil Day. This was unanimously endorsed by the FAO Conference in June 2013 and declared in December 2013 in the 68th UN General Assembly.

    After the King death, on 28th October 2016 at 10:00 local time, the United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to the memory of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Statements were delivered by President of the 71st Session Mr. Peter Thomson and a few international representatives including US permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Samantha Power and Thai Ambassador to the UN Mr. Virachai Plasai.

    The Constitution final draft unveiled

    The Constitution draft has been publicized on the website cdc.parliament.go.th/draftconstitution2/ewt_dl_link.php?nid=803&filename=index . This final draft was revised to be compatible to the 7th August 2016 referendum result. In regards to Section 272, at least one-half of the Parliament members; the House and the Senate, are to submit a motion to the President of the Parliament to call a meeting to pass a resolution exempting the nomination of the Prime Minister from the lists submitted by political parties under Section 88, for only for the first 5 years period after the tenure of the first Parliament.

    Political Party draft Bill

    The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) speaker disclosed the CDC has approved the Political Party draft Bill on its principles on the registration of the political party. The establishment must have at least 15 founding members and after being registering to the Election Commission, the establishment must be endorsed by at least 500 members. They should come from all 4 regions; north, northeast, central and south.

    74,655 villages to get 250,000 baht each

    On 25th October, the Cabinet resolved 18,760 million baht budget for economic alleviation. A total of 74,655 villages countrywide shall be allocated with 250,000 baht each, making a total of 18,663.75 million baht and the rest, 96.25 million baht shall be set for administration cost. The transaction should be completed by January 2017.

    State officials Development Plan Approved

    The National Reform Steering Assembly approved the National Administration Development Plan, with 151 to 1 and 8 abstained and 2 no votes. Principles are to make an officials strategic plan and ethical guidelines. There will be law enforcement on state officials ethics and regulations, therefore, all state agents shall be governed by one standard. The ethical rules shall be applied on the selection, promotion and recruitment of state officers. Upon improvement, the Plan will be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration.

    Petroleum pipeline transportation to be regulated

    On 25th October, the Cabinet resolved on the Energy Ministrys regulation on petroleum pipeline transportation. Principles are to provide standards for the design, construction, testing and checking of the operations, materials use and fire protection and prevention. The operators must also submit an outline planning of the pipelines.

    The regulation will be submitted to the State Council and the National Economic and Social Development Board.

    State official involved in Rice Pledge cases investigated

    The Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) disclosed the examination on state officials involved in the Rice Pledging program, a total of 986 cases were sent from the police and 125 have been primarily investigated. Resolutions are to set up sub-committees to follow up each case and it is anticipated the investigation would complete within 6 months. The sub-committees resolution would be finalize by the PACC Board. Upon the Boards resolutions, the cases shall be sent for lawsuit charges or disciplinary offence and compensation.

    Revenue Code on land sales revised

    On 18th October, the Cabinet resolved to approve the revision of Section 49 (2) of the Revenue Code to use the actual sales or current appraisal land cost as taxable capital gain for the calculation of personal income tax. The new code is in line with real estate sales and increase efficiency to the tax collections.

    Supreme Court upheld Appeal Courts decision on Krung Thai case

    On 17th October the Supreme Court judges panel upheld the Appeal Courts decision on the demission of an appeal of the Krung Thai case. The Court reasoned the verdict was finalized in regards to the Supreme Courts Criminal Division of Political Holders rulings and the defendants are currently serving their jail terms.

    Assistants to the ministers increases to 40

    On 11th October, the Cabinet resolved to increase the number of Ministers Assistants from 30 to 40 on reason they are dutiful to oversee and expedite the implementation of public policies. In regards to the 2003 regulation, an assistant to the minister shall have office term of one year and a monthly payment of 50,000 baht. They are in line with the political position staffs and accountable to submit their asset list to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

    Cabinet resolved on 6 anti-corruption strategies

    On 11th October, the Cabinet resolved to approve the Anti-Corruption Commissions Strategic Plan Phase 3 (B.E. 2560-2564) with 6 principles as follow:
    1. To establish a no-corruption society.
    2. To promote anti-corruption political will.
    3. To bar any form of policy corruption.
    4. To develop progressive anti-corruption system.
    5. To reform mechanisms and means to subdue corruption.
    6. To lift transparency in the CPI (Corruption Perceptions Index) index.

    The Cabinet also approved on the implementation plan stating all public agencies must make their 4-year plan starting from 2017. The plans must be complacency to the 20-year national roadmap. Comments can be sent to the Office of National Anti-Corruption Commission.

    Education loans repayment extended to 31/12/16

    The Education Loan Board has resolved to extend the repayment period from 30 September 2016 to 31 December 2016. Moreover, those who repay their loans shall get a 100% interest exemption and a 3% cash back.

    Measures to help farmers approved

    On 11st October, the Cabinet resolved to increase the budget to help farmers from 940 to 1,306.50 million baht. The money, to be allocated from the central reserve for emergency situation, shall be used to help farmers and stabilize the 2016/2017 crop yields by:
    1. Giving credit to prolong the selling of 2016/2017 year crop.
    2. Giving compensation to interest occurred from stocking of 2016/2017 crop.

    The Cabinet also resolved on the compensation of agricultural households affected from flooding to 3,000 baht each.

    Poll revealed 74% trusted PM Prayuth

    Suan Dusit Poll disclosed a nationwide study on the peoples trust/un-trust on Prayuth administration as follow:

    The most TRUSTED are:
    • The Prime Minister 74.36%
    • Solving corruption and upholding society order 72.57%
    • The militants no-politicians government 61.85%
    • Confidentiality on the promise to hold an election 60.06%
    • Development on transportation and infrastructure system 56.49%

    However, there was some UN-TRUST as follow:
    • Capability to solve economic problems 78.09%
    • To instill reconciliation 67.60%
    • Honesty 65.73%
    • Utilizing an extraordinary authority 55.94%
    • The administration 50.35%

    NLA to read the Narcotics Amendment draft Bill

    The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted 175 to 4 abstains on the first round to accept to read the Narcotics Amendment draft Bill. Principles are to revise the definition of the holders, exceed the minimum limits, of 1,2,4,5 categories drugs, for trading, from an Offender to Defendant so they can clear their accusations. Penalties, on producing, importing-exporting, of the category 1 drug are also revised from live-jail and 1-5 million baht fine or death sentence to Appropriateness.

    The Assembly appointed an extraordinary Committee to consider the draft Bill.

    NLA to read NACC organic draft Bill

    The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted on the first round with 187 to 1 abstain and 2 no votes to read the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) organic Bill. The Bill contains different content on one of the Boards authority; to appoint investigation teams and heads, to summon evidences, persons or documents, prior to the investigation starts. This amendment could speed up the NACC functions, promote efficiency and reduce the accumulating cases.

    Supreme Court upheld former BOT governors acquittal

    On 5th October, the Supreme Civil Court upheld the Appeal Courts acquittal on former Bank of Thailand Governor Mr. Ruangchai Makaranond. The Court ruled he did not abuse his power and not liable to pay 180 billion baht compensation.

    When the global economic crisis occurred in 1997, Mr. Ruangchai exercised his authority as BOT governor to SWOP the national reserve fund to protect the falling Baht which resulted in a loss of 186,015,830,720 baht. Later, the BOT and the Exchange Equalization Fund petitioned the Civil Court for his compensation. On 31 May 2005, the First Court ruled him guilty and demanded the 185,953,740,000 baht compensation with 7.5% interest per annual starting from 24 June 1998.

    On 2 November 2010, the Appeal Court overturned the verdict and ruled him not guilty. The acquittal was upheld by the Supreme Court.

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