ԴЪҸԻ (English)
March 2019 : Unofficial Constituency Poll Results Released

  • EC released unofficial constituency polling results
  • Abisit resigns from party leader
  • Constituency Court unanimously dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party
  • Land and Building Tax Act enforced
  • Clarification on the Cyber Security Act
  • Smart visa criteria revises to attract experts
  • Provincial Administration Organizations VAT revenue increased
  • Cabinet approved on palm project and juvenile delinquent handcuffs
  • Less rainfall drought and longer dry season anticipated
  • 21 Yellow Shirt leaders acquitted in parliament blockage charges
  • Supreme Admin Court upheld Apirak from liability

    EC released unofficial constituency polling results

           On March 24 the general election was held countrywide and after the balloting ended, on March 28 the Election Commission (EC) revealed unofficial voting results from all 350 constituencies that a total of 35,532,610 ballots, the most top five votes went to 1) Palang Pracharat Party 8,433,060, 2) Pheu Thai Party 7,920,561, 3) Future Forward Party ( Anakot Mai) 6,256,918, 4) Democrat 3,947,706 and 5) Phumjai Thai 3,732,940.

          There are 51,229,638 eligible voters all over the country and 38,268,366 people, 74.69% came to cast their ballots while the rest 12,971,263 were absent. Out of the 38,268,366 ballots cast, 35,532,645 or 92.85% are good/valid, 2,130,327 or 5.57% are bad and 605,392 or 1.58% voted no.

          Previously, on 26 March at 16:00 hours, when 95% of the constituency ballots were counted the EC disclosed that Pheu Thai candidates won in 137 constituencies. Following were Palang Pracharat 97, Phumjai Thai 39, Democrat 33, Future Forward 30, Chart Thai Pattana 6, Chart Pattana 1, and Ruam Palang Prachachart Tha 1. However, these have to be endorsed by the EC. According to the Constitution and EC regulation, official polling results must be announced within 60 days after polling date which is not later than May 9.

          Concerning the 150 seats party list MPs, nationwide ballots of each party will be summed and calculated in regards to the organic Election Act B.E. 2561 within 15 days after the announcement of the official constituency polling results. The parliamentary meeting comprises of 500 representative members and 250 senators shall convene 15 days afterwards to vote for the prime minister. Prime minister candidate must be endorsed by more than more than half of the parliamentary members, more than 376 votes,

          A total of 101,004 eligible voters registered for exercising their rights outside the country but only 84% presented.

          The result of 74.69% actual balloting is slightly lower than the EC anticipation, 80% anticipation but not much different from the 2011 polling , 75.01%.

          The pre-election was held on 17 March countrywide and out of 2.6 million registered, 86.98% were presented. However there were some few places that more than 90% came.

          The EC advised during the polling results are not officially announced, cautions should be made in sharing information particularly in the social media. Commenting and sharing information that defame any person is wrongdoing and liable to criminal charge and Computer Crime Act (Second Amendment ) B.E. 2560.

    Abhisit resigns from party leader

           Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva resigns from the party leader on late night of March 24 after unofficially results of the election spread out fastly that democrat lost in all Bangkok constituencies and some southern provinces. He made a statement earlier that he will resign if the party won less than 100 House seats.
    CC unanimously dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party

           On 7 March, the Constitution Court unanimously ordered the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart party for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate. The court also decided 6-3 to ban TRCs 14 executives as of Feb 8 from running in election for 10 years and from setting up parties or becoming executives of other parties for 10 years.

          The EC decided the party had violated the election law by committing an act which may be deemed hostile to the monarchy when it nominated Princess Ubolratana, the eldest sister of His Majesty the King as its prime ministerial candidate.

          The court said almost all constitution stipulated the king and the royal family of the ranks of mom chao or higher must be politically neutral.

          The EC submitted the case to dissolve TRC to the court on Feb 13 after TRC nominated the princess on Feb 8.

          Following the courts ruling, the candidacy of all its 282 candidates would be automatically invalidated in the March 24 election. Any votes they may get on that day will be treated ad bad ballots.
    Land and Building Tax Act B.E. 2562

           On March 12 the Land and Building Tax Act B.E. 2562 was published in the Royal Gazette making it effective and tax collection since Jan 1, 2020 will be in complacency with the new law.

          The act is an attempt to decrease tax burden on property owners, encourage land utilization, and improve the effectiveness of tax collection with an aim to increase public revenue.

          The Act replaces the outdated Local Land Development Tax Acts and the Land Appraisal Act with major changes to the tax base and the tax rate. However, local authorities are still authorized as tax collectors.

          Land is divided in four categories due to their purposes; 1) Agriculture 2) residential 3) Other purposes (e.g. commercial, industrial) and 4) Unused.

          Tax rates are progressive and vary according to land category and appraisal values. The Act also provides tax exemptions for certain owners. For example, an individual who owns residential property will receive an exemption on the main house with an appraisal value that does not exceed Baht 50 million (or Baht 10 million if the owner does not also own the underlying land). Owners of land use for agriculture purposes will be entitled to a tree-year tax exemption from 2020 to 2022.

          Reduced taxes may also apply for property used for certain purposes, including hospitals, golf courses, sports stadiums, private educational institutions.

          Penalty for late payment, and enforcement thereof, are potentially severe. Tax must be paid by May of every year, and late payments will be subjected to penalties of 40% of the tax payable along with a monthly surcharge of 1%. Penalties and surcharges must be paid within 90 days after the property owner receives an assessment letter. Local authorities are empowered under the Act to seize, levy and sell by auction the underlying property in order to recoup any unpaid tax, penalty and surcharge without having to first obtain a court order.
    Clarification of the Cyber Security Act

          Regarding to the enactment of the Cyber Security Act, there are concerns on it abuse of internet personal privacy and surveillance, Mr. Paiboon Amornpinyokiai law advisor to online press association and honorable advisor to the House extraordinary committee said the law aims to protect networks from cyber-attacks and would not enable state surveillance or violate rights. It will not be used to regulate social media, or computers or devices belonging to the common people. In case of violation, officials must seek the courts order before doing an action.

          However, upon a critical threat that affect or may affect public order, the National Security Council can intervene.

          Penalties upon violation apply to both state officials and private persons but jail terms only apply to officials on disclosing of information.
    Smart VISA revises to be more attractive

           On March 5, the cabinet resolved to revise qualifications, criteria and privileges on Smart VISA granting for foreigners temporary residing in Thailand. The eligible persons should be experts, senior managers, and investors to work or invest in technology companies to help develop the 10 targeted industries which will, in turn, drive technology and innovation in Thailand.

          The targeted industries are: Next-generation automotive, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, food for the future, agriculture and biotechnology, automation and robotics, aviation and logistics, biochemical and eco-friendly petrochemicals, digital businesses, and medical hubs.

          Rights and benefits are: a 4-year visa, but not exceeding the contract term, no work permit required for working in the endorsed company, 90-day immigration reporting extending to one-year, no re-entry permit required and similar benefits extended to spouse and children.
    PAO share from VAT increased to Baht 8.8 billion

           On March 5, the Interior Ministry disclosed the Revenue Department has transferred a total of 8,840,747,766.33 baht from VAT revenue collected in 2018 to Provincial Administration Organizations (PAO) accounts. 6,673,331,766.33 baht will be used in regards to the fiscal expenditures and 2,167,414,000 baht to be reserved for the 2019 fiscal budget.

          The PAOs revenue from VAT had increased from 7,883,515,187.71 baht in 2017 to 8,840,747,766.33.
    Cabinet approved on palm project and juvenile delinquent handcuffs

           On 26 March, the cabinet resolved to increase a number of palm farmers to the palm project aims to strengthen household income. 99,918 qualified households will be added, making a total of 249,918.

          The project budget is 1,348.87 million baht and each household will receive financial aids at 1,500 baht per ria, but not exceeding than 15 rai per household.

          On the same day, the cabinet also approved on the handcuffs to be used with juvenile delinquents during transferring or captivity. Three kinds of handcuffs, made from plastic or metal, will be used for preventing escape and for their own and other peoples safety in case of unrest.
    El Nino lessen rainfall but more and longer drought

           On March 21, five organizations led by the Thai Army, PTT Public, Ground Water Resources Department, Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) launched a joint project to deal with with drought situation in 2019 particularly in the remote area. Anticipation of the El Nino coming shortly and decreasing rainfall could bring dry season earlier and cause longer drought to the country.

          Raw water is being assessed by PWA on it adequacy to sustain the upcoming dry season. The agency has checked and made operation plans on manpower, vehicles, logistics and equipment. Their 234 distribution stations countrywide will provide free clean water to any state agent tank truck.

          The Army ad hoc team is mobile units to provide water to shortage spots; temples, schools, health centers etc. Straw and water will be also providing to animals in the drought affected area.

          The Utokapat Foundation has dredged up waterways in many remote areas. Water shortage can be informed to any of these five agents for immediate response.
    21 Yellow Shirt leaders acquitted on 2008 parliament blockage

           On March 4, the Crimnal Court acquitted 21 Yellow Shirt leaders on charges over the 2008 parliament blockage , prevented the then prime minister Somchai Wongsawat from entering the premise to deliver the policy statement. Court found they were demonstrating peacefully in compliance with the constitutional rights.

          Some of those 21 leaders are Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, Mr. Pipob Thongchai, Mr. Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Mrs. Maleerat Kaewka, Mr. Prapan Koonmee etc.
    Supreme Admin Court upheld Apirak from liability

           On March 28, the Supreme Administration Court upheld the lower courts ruling to revoke an order forcing former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin to pay 1,296,794,910 baht in compensation in connection with the fire truck and boat procurement in 2008.

          Court found Mr. Apirak handled the task with sufficient care in line with his duty to protect the national interest. He was not negligent as claimed, which would have cause damage to the BMA, therefore, he was not deemed liable for damages.

          The case involves a deal in which the BMA procured 315 fire-fighting trucks and 30 boats from the Austrian firm Steyr-Daimler-Ouch Spezialfahrzeug (Steyr).

          The contract was signed in August 2004 by former Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej.

          Under the contract, the Austrian firm would supply the trucks and boats and buy boiled chicken from Thailand under a barter deal.

          Mr. Apirak later became governor and reportedly voiced concern about the deal However, the purchases was officially approved.

          Claims were that the trucks were overprices as they were produced in Thailand and exported to Britain for the installation of fire-fighting equipment and then shipped back to Thailand. The boats were also built by a Thai firm on hire, while the boiled chicken never reach Austria.

          The City Hall ordered Mr. Apirak to pay compensation.

          Previously, on June 2018, the Supreme Administrative Court has upheld the central court ruling to revoke former interior minister Pokin Polakul from paying compensation of 1,296,794,910 million baht.

          The National Anti-Corruption Commission implicated Mr. Pokin for malfeasance in connection with the government scandal, the Court ruled Mr. Pokin did not intend to cause financial damage to the BMA. Neither was it his negligence that led to loses occurring under the procurement scheme.
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