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July 2020 : Covid-19 Situation Better-Politics at Risk

  • Covid-19 situation is getting better
  • State of Emergency extended to 31 August
  • Cabinet nodded special allowance to health volunteers
  • Report on anti-human trafficking disclosed
  • Thaksin gets jail term on Shin Corp. concession revised
  • Students mobs launched anti- Prayut movement
  • Campaign launched to support Students mob
  • NIDA Poll: 42% shunned conflict - unrest
  • SUPER Poll : people feared students protest accelerates to unrest
  • SUPER Poll : students mobs should respect monarchy institution
  • SUPER Poll: 100% Thais no-confidence political parties
  • 280 public agencies ready for e-Service
  • Social security insurers to get state remediation
  • State welfare card-holders to get baht 3,000 remediation
  • Cabinet approved baht 100 billion for economic-social revitalization projects
  • House of Reps passed 2021 fiscal budget bill on 1st reading
  • National Saving Fund easier to access
  • Chula Pharmaceutical dean: joining CPTTP makes drug costlier
  • Myanmar media: weapons found in Mae Sot belongs to Karen activists
  • The 4-Kuman (BOYS) Group submitted resignations
  • Administrative Court jurisdiction viewing via VDO conference
  • Cabinet approved a bill on same-sex marriage

    Covid-19 situation is getting better

    On 31July, the Covid-19 Center reported 6 new confirmed cases were found in State Quarantines, making a total of 3,310 cases since the outbreak. 3,125 patients had been treated and 127 are currently hospitalized. Deceased stable at 58 cases as the previous month.

    There were 17,474,020 confirmed cases globally, 10,937,750 had been cured. Totaled deaths were 676,755. Since new cases went as high as more than 200,000 daily, Covid-19 is still a globally threat.

    Referring to the permission of 4 foreigner groups already allowed to enter the country, the Covid-19 Center said officials are ready to supervise as soon as private quarantines are ready to operate.

    State of Emergency extends to 31 August

    On 29 August, the cabinet approved the State of Emergency to be extended until 31 August 2020. However, measures on practices would be revised to suit the situations. More activities will be allowed including public gathering in accordance with the law.

    Baht 3,622 million allowance for public health volunteers

    The cabinet approved an allocation of baht 3,622 million to be the first allowance, starting from March September 2020, for approximately 1,054,000 public health volunteers countrywide. This is a first batch of a total baht 45,000 million budget allocation to the Public Health Ministry.


    Human trafficking situation improves

    On 29 July, the Labor Ministry reported its achievement on the exercising in line with the Protection of Fishing Industry Workers B.E. 2562, conducted from 18 November 2019 to 31 May 2020, as violations had decreased within the practices:

          1. Set up a working group to supervise, monitor, protect and revise to rid illegal actions.

          2. Law enforcement: Monitored 37,054 fishing trips passing shoreline check points, only 9 or 0.024% violated the law. In-sea checking, 508 vessels, only 2 or 0.39%, outlaw.

          3. Prevention: 160,950 workers registered and 92,233 were foreign-workers, passed medical check-up. A total of 10,202 fishing permits were granted for the 2020-2021 fishing season and only 6 are permitted as international fishing.

          4. Protection and assistant: saved 3 workers from abroad.

          5. Cooperation: agreements are being made with the EU and ILO.

    The Government made the suppression of human trafficking a national agenda since 2015 and strictly abided making Thailand delisted from the US and EU human trafficking report in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

    Thaksin gets 5 year jail on Shin Corp concession amended

    On 30 July, the Supreme Courts Criminal Section for Political Position Holders convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to a 5-year jail term on his violation of Section 100 of the Organic Act on Anti-Corruption B.E. 2542. The case was filed to the court by the Attorney-General on 11 July 2008.

    The defendant, during he was in office between 9 February 2001 to 19 September 2006, used his authority for the benefit of Shin Corp Plc., which was a conflict of interest to the public, by amended the concession contract between the Excise Department and Shin Corp, a business he holds shares, in nominees names, resulted in the state loss of revenue baht 66 billion.

    The case was temporary terminated when the defendant fled the country but resumed after the law amended, in 2017, to allow prosecution to continue in absent of the defendant. The Anti-Corruption Act prohibits political position holders to hold shares of corporations doing businesses with the state.

    Due to his absent, the court has issued Thaksin Shinawatra an arrest warrant.

    Students mob launched anti-government protest

    On 18 July at 17:00 hr. two groups of students under the name Free YOUTH and Students Association of Thailand, gathered at the Democracy Monument on Ratchdamnern Avenue to protest the government. The protesting was observed by policemen from local police stations.

    The police said the demonstration was not consented according to the Demonstration Act but the police tried to keep the students within a confined area. The students broke out the retainers and walked on the street caused traffic jam. However, no one was injured.

    The students demanded:

          1. House dissolution due to the government failure to solve economic problems. Covid-19 led to unemployment and shortage of income.

          2. Stop using laws and security reason as excuses to threaten and silencing the citizens.

          3. Rewrite a new constitution.

    The demonstration, the first ever organized after Covid-19 outbreak, was dissolved at midnight due to the leaders concern on safety.

    Free-People group launched anti-government campaign

    On 1 August, a group of people calling themselves Free People launched a campaign via Facebook stated it is the right time for movement.

          Their campaign collaborated with the Free YOUTH movement redefining themselves the People.

          This is coincidentally with former leader of the dissolved Future Forward Party Mr. Thanatorn Jungroungruengkit, commented on the House sub-committee on the reform. The csub-committee was appointed to re-examine and revise the laws by inviting core leaders of the Red Shirts and their associations to write reconciliation measures. He said main principle of reconciliation is to return justice to all. Without justice, there will be no peace. It is time for the army, independent organs, media and politicians to accept their mistakes and learn the lessons.

          On 23 July, students network in many provinces; Songkla, Pathumthani, Khon Kaen, Ayudhya, organized activities with the same tree demands. They targeted Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha to resign and stated their stance not to attend the hearing organizes by House sub-committee saying the government should come to meet them.

    NIDA Poll : 42% shunned conflict unrest

    On 3 August, NIDA Poll revealed its study on Attitudes Towards the Free Students Movement, done on 1,250 samplings countrywide, conducted from 29-31 July as follow:
    • The majority 26.56% think the students had a right to protest as far as it is non-violent.
    • 26.16% think it is a right to protest as far as the protestors abide the law.
    • 34.72% think the movement was an expression that the protestors wanted the country to change in a better way.
    • 19.28% think it is the youths right to demand for righteousness.
    • 18.08 was un-favor with the protest on fear that it would accelerate to unrest and the second round Covod-19 outbreak.
    • The study revealed concerns on the re-emerge of past political conflict.
    • 11.20% feared the new conflict will be worse.
    • 16.72% believed the new conflict will be same as previous one.
    • 29.76% think the new conflict will be controlled and less severe.


    Towards PM Prayut reaction:
    • The majority 42.72% think he should meet the students in person.
    • 20.40% suggested he should immediately dissolve the House
    • 13.868% suggested on constitution amendment-House dissolution-re-election.


    SUPER POLL: people feared students protest accelerates to unrest

    On 26 July, SUPER Poll revealed its field study on To Whom Shall I Elect if the Election is Tomorrow?, conducted by using Mixed Method; tele-call, field survey, and Quantitative Research-Qualitative Research, from 1,319 samplings countrywide, between 20-25 July 2020, as follow:
    • The majority 67.9% wanted a change.
    • 52.4% felt depressed.
    • 57.7% saw the current situation disgraceful.
    • 63.6% saw a possibility that the students movement will bring another political crisis.
    • 36.4% think impossible for new election soon.


    On whom shall they elect?
    • 32.8% new political party with no bad performances.
    • 23.8% will elect the opposition parties.
    • 16.7% will elect the ruling parties.
    • 26.7% undecided and elect no party.


    SUPER Poll: students mobs should respect monarchy institution

    On 24 July, the SUPER Poll revealed another study towards the students mob movement on their campaign against the monarchy. The study used the Mixed Method; field survey, tele-calling, and Quantitative and Qualitative Researches, from 1,308 samplings countrywide, between20-23 July 2020, as follow:
    • The majority 77.0% believed the mob was on their own whim.
    • 23.0% believed they were supported by foreign funds, politicians and activists.


    It must be noted that there is a concern on the students actions towards the monarchy and:
    • 98.1% think the monarchy institution should be respected as one of the national pillars.
    • 1.9% thinks the student should have their own justification.


    Towards who are liable to protect and uphold the monarchy institution?
    • 85.7% , every Thai should.
    • 84.3%, all societal sector.
    • 82.5% , the samplings.
    • 82.1%, the army.
    • 81.2%, state officials, civil servants


    However, more than half of the samplings agreed with the students on their harsh comments towards the government performances; fighting for ministerial positions while economic problems is critical, pressing some cabinet members to resign, economic failure, and state of emergency extension.

    SUPER Poll: 100% Thais no-confidence on political parties

    On 11 July, the SUPER Poll revealed its study on The Resignation of 4 Cabinet Members done by Mixed Method; field survey, tele-calling, and Quantitative and Qualitative Researches, from 1,586 samplings countrywide, between 9-10 July 2020, as follow:

    Towards confidentiality on political parties:
    • 88.9% decreasing, no-confidence due to tarnished reputation of politicians, fighting for power-positions-money, buying positions, traitors, betray, not protecting good people, not support good people to governing, bad examples for youth, no discipline, no sincere, etc.
    • 11.1% increasing, can solve problems, having ideology, public concerns, etc. When asking for opinions on the resignation of 4 Palang Pracharat members, former finance ministry Uttama Sawananond, energy minister Sondhirat Sondhijirawong, higher education minister Suwit Maesinsee and deputy secretariat to the prime minister Korbsak Pootrakoon, aka the 4 Super Boys Gang, the results were:
      • 86.3% agree on their resignation.
      • 13.7% disagreed with these following reasons:
        • 76.1% they should accomplish their missions.
        • 71.7% their resignation reduces political chaotic.
        • 71.4% they should form new party and work in cooperation with PM Prayut.
        • 70.0% the resignation reduced pressure in the Palang Pracharat party.
        • 66.3% they should detach from old fraction in Palang Pracharat.


    280 state agencies ready for e-Service

    On 2 August, the cabinet acknowledged the progress on Digital Governments e-Service scheme that 280 public agents are ready to provide the electronic services making them accessible from homes at any time from any place.

    They are divided in 3 major groups:
    1. Organizations servicing in improving life quality or supporting and aiding business sector and societal sectors affecting from Covid-19 outbreak to a quick and sustainable recovery, or services in speeding of national reform such as tourism data, agricultural products quality, labor market, SMEs, e-VISA, e-medical service, elderly facilitation, land tax.
    2. Organization already providing with incomplete online services will be fully e-Service such as paying fees, issuing permits etc.
    3. Organization previously non-eService will be developed into the partially e-Service agency so people can apply online.

    These 280 e-Service public agencies could be accessible via their webpages.

    Social security insurers to get baht 1,500 remediation allowance

    On 21 July, the cabinet endorsed to allocate baht 896.94 million as remediation allowance to social security insurers affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. They are 59,776 workers in compliance with Section 33 of the act, payment of less than 6 months within 15 months period. Under the remediation scheme, they would receive a total of baht 15,000, baht , 5,000 for three consecutive months, June-August 2020, at one installation.

    State welfare card-holders to get baht 3,000 remediation

    On 4 July, the Finance Ministry disclosed the progress on remediation allowance to 1.14 million holders of state security cards that they would receive a total of baht 3,000 allowance. However, they must not belong to any other social security scheme and did not receive any remediation allowance from the state. Cash would be transferred into their accounts during 4-9 July.

    Cabinet approved budget Bt.100 billion for economic-social revitalization projects

    On 8July, the cabinet, in regarding to the Finance Ministry loans Bt. 400 billion, approved in principle to allocate the first Bt. 100 billion, for financing the 186 projects already approved, at Bt. 92,400 million.

    The first 5 projects, totaled Bt. 15,520.096 million, focusing on employment, careers and providing knowledge are:
    1. The Agriculture and Cooperative Ministrys New Theory Agriculture One Tambon-One Group, Bt. 9,805.707 million, commences from July 2020 to September 2021.
    2. The Interior Ministrys Living Quality Development Accordingly to the New Theory- Adaptation for Kok Nong Na Model, Bt. 4,787.916 million, commences from July 2020 to September 2021.
    3. The Agriculture and Cooperative Ministrys Business Development for Servicing Soil and Fertilizer for Community Project (One Stop Service), Bt. 169.885 million, commencing from August 2020 to September 2021.
    4. The Tourism and Sports Ministrys Safety Zone, Bt. 15 million, commences from July 2020 to August 2021.
    5. The Natural Resources and Environment Ministrys Potentiality Development for Wild Lives Eco-tourism, Bt. 741.588 million, commences from July 2020 to August 2021.


    The rest, 181 projects, would be succeddingly submitted to the cabinets approval.

    2021 Fiscal Budget Bill passed first reading

    On 1 July, the House of Reps convened to read the 2021 Fiscal Budget Bill for the first time and passed it on 3 July with 273 to 200 votes and 3 abstentions. A 72-member reading committee was appointed to read the draft bill.

    Move Forward Party nominated Mr. Thanatotn Joogruengruaengkit to the committee.

    National Saving Fund easier to access

    On 18 July, the deputy spokesperson Ms. Ratchada Thanadirek, announced members of the National Saving Fund for Freelancers can now apply and pay in at 13,000 counter service nationwide. This is a progress from previously they have to do transaction at state banks, only.

    The Fund currently has 2.357 million members, exceeding the target 1 million. Thais between 15-60 years of age, excludes state officials and social security insurers, can apply for membership.

    Minimum monthly saving is Bt. 50 and maximum is Bt. 13,200 per annual. The state will add 50% of the saving, but not exceed than Bt. 600 per annual, to the account. This additional will increase accordingly to conditions. Savers will get their monthly pensions when reaching 60 years old.

    Chulas Pharmaceutical Dean: joining CPTPP will increase drugs cost

    On 17 July, Chulalongkorn University Pharmaceutical Faculty dean Dr. Rungpetch Sakulbamrungsilp, disclosed a primary research on CPTPP Impact on Access to Medicines, submitted to the sub-committee, on 14 July 2020, on studying the impact of CPTPP on medical and healthcare system on Patent Linkage and Government Procurement on how the joining will affect medicines cost, market shares between domestic pharmaceutical industry and importers, and market growth rates in 30 years.

    In principle, joining CPTPP will make expenditures on medicines costlier, more dependent on import drugs, and decreases of domestic market value. Concerning the Patent Linkage, pharmaceutical industry on general medicines will be retarded and any non-patent medicine will be unable to produce.

    The patent Linkage will make it more difficult for pharmaceutical business to pre-apply for patent. In case of law-suiting, the production would be prolonged than normally 2 years after patent applied. In the case of settlement completed. There will be high competition in the market, making medicine cost lessen, but this will take a long time more than presently.

    On the Government Procurement, it will affect the Public Pharmaceutical Organization (PPO), currently having privileges in selling to public hospitals. In 2019, Thailand spent a total of Bt. 196,899 million on medicine and 71% was imported. Domestic share value was only Bt. 69,326 million and Bt. 6,904 million went to PPO. If the Business as usual for another 30 years, expense on medicine will be Bt. 980,637 million, import medicines share is 76%, domestic producers share will be Bt. 285,454 million, and Bt. 24,089 million goes to PPO.

    Myanmar media: Arms found Thai border belongs to Karen

    On 16 July, Myanmars The Irrawaddy presented a special report Weapons Seized in Mae Sot Destined for Myanmars Rakhine State: Intelligence Sources

    Cited the seizure of weapons in Mae Sot District, Tak Province on 23 June 2020 in which Thai police chief Pol. Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda said it could relate to political movement in Thailand, the intelligence sources both Myanmar and Thai has agreed the weapons belonged to Karen group BKDN, destined to the terrorist groups, Arakan Army and Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, locating in Rakai State on the Bangladesh border.

    There were clashes between Myanmar militants and Arakan Army and it was speculated Arakan had successfully sent weapons from Mae Sot to Rakai State many times.

    Two men were captured, one is former militant and another half Thai-Karen.

    Uttamas 4-Kuman (Boys) Gang resigned

    On 16 July, former Palang Pracharat party leader Uttama Saowanayon Finance Minister, Sondhirat Sondhijirawong Energy Minister, Suwit Maesinsee Higher Education Minister and Korbsak Putrakoon deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political issue, aka 4 Kuman (Boys) group, submitted their resignation to the Secretariat to the Prime Minister, Disthat Hotrakit.

    Administrative Court prosecution views via VDO conference

    On 9 July, the Supreme Administrative Court launched an activity The Administrative Courts learning program for citizens to promote understanding on administrative laws and the courts prosecution through electronic system. Attendants can use QR Code to view 12 processes, from filing complaints, to the court prosecution, submitting e-complaint, to mediate disputes.

    The Administrative Court is ready to become an e-Court accessible to everyone.

    Cabinet endorsed same-sex marriage bill

    On 8 July, the cabinet endorsed a draft bill on same sex marriage with principles of permitting partnership registration of same-sex unions, along with legal amendments to ensure they have most, if not all, the same rights as married couples. The bill was proposed by Justice Ministry with principles:
    1. Define Civil partners as couples born with the same sex and married by registration according to the law.
    2. The court are entitled to rule upon their requests on theses following matters; registration and termination of partnerships, right and obligations of a couple, property management, adoption and inheritance. But it does not grant all the rights and benefits applicable to male-female couples, such as entitlement to spouse benefits, some forms of state welfare and tax exemptions.
    3. Partnership registration will be available to consenting same-sex couples who are at least 17 years old. One or both of the couple must be of Thai nationality.
    4. Minor who seek such partnership must have the consent of their parents, guardians or a court. After same sex partnership registration, minors will be considered mature.

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