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February 2018 : NLA Rejected 7 EC nominations

  • NLA rejected all 7 Election Commission nominations
  • PM confirmed national election by February 2018
  • Appeal Court acquitted Suthep of defaming Red Shirt leaders
  • Political parties registration starts on March 2nd
  • Thailand CPI 96th among 180 nations
  • Cabinet approved Equitable Education Fund bill
  • A promotion to build 3,280 new gens of agriculturers
  • NLA passed EEC law to promote special economic zone
  • Yinglucks Baht 176.25 million seized
  • Thai export soared 17.6% highest in 62 months
  • Central budget Baht 19,924 reallocated to strengthen economy

    NLA rejected all 7 Election Commission nominations

    The NLA on 22nd February voted down all the seven election commissioners nominated by the selection committee. None of the seven nominated election commissioners received half of the votes of the 248 assemblymen presented or a minimum 124 vote required to be approved as members of the Election Commission making the selection process of EC members will be back to square one.

    PM reassured national election by Feb 2019

    PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said on February 27th after the cabinet meeting that the national election could be held by February 2019. Political party registration starts on 1st March and new political parties will be allowed to hold meetings to prepare for the election but need to seek permissions from NCPO from time-to-time. However, old parties cannot do yet as they have to wait for a clarification in June.

    Suthep acquitted of defaming Red Shirt leaders

    On 27th February, the Appeal Court upheld the Lower Courts judgement that acquitted former deputy prime minister and former Peoples Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban of defaming three key red-shirt leaders during the 2011 election.

    A lawsuit filed by prosecutors claimed that in a May 22, 2011 press interview at a hotel in Laksi area, Mr. Suthep implied that three core leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD); Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikuar and Weng Tojirakarn, were accountable for widespread torching in Bangkok and other provinces during the red-shirts protests against the Abhisit Vejjajiva government.

    Mr. Suthep also alleged that the three UDD leaders had political links with the Pheu Thai Party in remarks he made during the lead-up to the 2011 election.

    His remark was defamatory to the three UDD leaders and the Pheu Thai Part, said the public prosecutors.

    The lower court dismissed the case, deciding that his capacity as deputy prime minister responsible for security at the time, Mr. Suthep had made an honest comment about the incident based on a report by the Department of Special Investigation. The prosecution then appealed against the ruling.

    The Appeal Court upheld the lower courts ruling to acquit Mr. Suthep of the defamation charges.

    New political party registration starts on March 2nd

    Registration for new political parties will be started on March 2, 2018 at 07:30 am. Documents needed are:
    1. Application.
    2. List of 15 founding members.
    3. Letter of intent signed by the founding members.
    4. Copies of the founding members ID cards.
    5. The partys name in Thai and English.
    6. A 4x4 inches color partys logo.
    7. A CD contains details of house registrations of the founding members.

    Political parties must gather at least 500 members and raise a minimum of Baht 1 million as capital within 180 days of receiving the acceptance letters.

    New political parties must be registered before holding meetings and other activities must receive permission from the NCPO. These apply to both old and new political parties.

    Applications must be sent by hand to the Election Commission Office to be forwarded to NCPO. Details on type of activity, rational, time, venue, including names of responsible persons are needed.

    Thailand CPI ranks 96th with 37 score

    Thailand ranks 96th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International (TI)

    Equitable Education fund bill

    On 20th February the cabinet approved the Equitable Education Fund bill revised by the Council of State on the allocation of an additional subsidy every year at the amount of no less than 5 percent of the state budget allocated to education. The cabinet resolved the fund should be a revolving and additional subsidy should be considered year by year.

    The Bill principle is to set up an education fund to provide financial help for people who lack resources. Goals are to reduce education inequality and to improve teacher quality and reduce the countrys education inequality. The government will provide a Baht 1 billion start-up fund.

    New generation of agriculturers

    The government is promoting Young Smart Farmer project with objective to equip young farmers with innovation and new technology so they will be able to become self-reliance entrepreneur and community leaders. Participants should be 17-45 year old and registered to the Department of Agricultural Promotion since 2014.

    1,731, 2,182, 1,879 and 1,836 people had registered and trained in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively and 3,280 is expected for this year.

    Young Smart farmers will be trained to become self-center and self-taught through these programs:
    1. Exchanging of knowledge.
    2. Internet of things management and innovation.
    3. Startup development, business development, intelligent farming and digital marketing.
    4. ISO certified products.


    NLA passed Eastern Economic Corridor Bill

    On 8th February, NLA voted on the third reading to pass the Eastern Economic Corridor bill with 170 to 10 abstained and 1 no vote. The Bill has 71 sections with principles to set up administrative criteria and measures to govern development in three provinces, Chonburi, Rayong and Chachaungsao.

    Foreign companies are encouraged to participate in public-private partnerships with the Thai government and benefit from highly attractive investment and tax incentives. A comprehensive one-stop service to cover all legal, tax and business aspects is available through the Consulting house in Bangkok.

    The EEC consists of the three Eastern provinces Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao with a combined area of 13,285 square kilometers. Expect investment is USD 50 billion during the first five years, mostly through foreign direct investments. Three pillars; infrastructure developments, super-generous incentives, and investment facilitation will be provided by the government.

    The corridor is primarily intended to accommodate investments in ten targeted S-curve industries: next generation cars, smart electronics, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics for industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemical, digital and medical services.

    Seven advantages are:
    1. Corporate income taxation: The exemption for corporate income taxation (CIT) will be granted up to 15 years instead of the current maximal tax holidays of eight years.
    2. Personal income taxation: A fixed personal income tax (PIT) rate of 17% for management, investor, experts, (i) with world class skills, (ii) never worked before in Thailand and (iii) worked in BOI promoted company in ten S-curve industries.
    3. Business visa: A five-year business visa.
    4. Leasehold investment: A land lease for 50+49 years,
    5. Trade: Trade using foreign currencies directly without having to exchange it into Thai baht,
    6. PPP: Under the new PPP EEC TRACK structure, public-private partnerships are streamlined and fast tracked,
    7. EIA: A fast-tracked environment impact assessment.


    Yinglucks Bt.176million asset seized

    Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatras Bt 110-million mansion in Bangkok is among more than 30 of her assets that have been confiscated to pay the compensation demanded from her for damages stemming from her governments rice pledging scheme.

    The Legal Execution Department, which is under the Justice Ministry, started freezing the ex-premiers bank accounts and claiming liens over several of her properties including 10 land plots in Bangkok and the provinces, a condominium suite, and 13 bank accounts with total deposits of Bt. 1.96 million. The accounts are Bt22.93 million less than a total Bt. 24.90 declared after one year left the office as required by law.

    In October 2016, the Finance Ministry issued an administrative order for Yingluck to pay Bt35 billion in compensation for damages allegedly stemming from her governments corruption-plagued rice-pledging scheme.

    Yingluck was held responsible for the damages in her capacity as government head and chair of the National Rice Policy Committee.

    The Administrative Court rejected Yinglucks request for an injunction against the administrative order, which in effect allows the authorities to resume the seizure of her assets.

    Yingluck fled the country a few days before the Supreme Courts Criminal Division for Political Office Holders was scheduled to deliver a verdict in a case against her in the rice-pledging case. A month later, the court sentenced her to five years in jail for negligence. She was later spotted in London around the New Year holidays.

    Export soared 17.6% highest in 62 months

    The Fiscal Policy Office of the Finance Ministry disclosed the Thai economy in January 2018 was picking up steadily due to increasing of export in the past eleven months.

    Export growth is currently 17.6 percent per annual, the highest in the past 62 months.

    Private consumption also grows steadily at 6.9 percent per annual while confidential index in the industrial sector constantly grows for three months and reached 91, highest in 36 months.

    Inbound tourists increased 10.9 percent.

    Overall economy in 2018 estimates growth is 4.2 percent due to anticipation of export growth in the third quarter 6.6 percent.

    Central budget Baht 19,924 allocated to strengthen economy

    On 20th February the cabinet resolved to amend the central budget 2017 fiscal year plan, to allow the balance budget, Bt.13,572 million, out of a total Bt19,924 million, to be used to strengthen the economy in:
    1. Ministry for Digital Economy and Societys Big Rock project, Bt. 5,547 million for extension of high speed internet fiber optic WIFI to 3,198 schools and 812 health care centers in remote area.
    2. Science Ministrys Smart City in the Eastern Economic Corridor, Digital Start Up and Coding Nation public-private partnerships projects, Bt. 3,292 million.
    3. Setting up IOT Institute for development of Digital and Robotics Industries.
    4. Development of OTOP goods through cooperation of education institutes and private sector.

    The Smart City scheme aims to integrate digital technology, energy and transport to improve quality of life for residents.

    The Digital Start Up is the Digital Economy Promotion Agencys project searches for competent persons who have smart, interesting ideas that can be further developed into a commercial business.
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