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  • New ministers take oath of office


    New cabinet ministers took the oath of office before His Majesty the King on Wednesday, completing the process of their appointment.

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha led the six new ministers, and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwai, to recite the oath at the Ambara Villa in Dusit Palace.

    The ceremony is the last step in the newbies officially joining the cabinet.

    Mr Don took part because he now has the added portfolio of deputy prime minister.

    Deputy Labour Minister Narumon Pinyosinwat said afterwards that His Majesty offered the new ministers his moral support to work for the happiness of the people, according to Thai media.

    The other new ministers are Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who doubles as energy minister and deputy prime minister, Finance Minister Predee Daochai, PM's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai, Labour Minister Suchat Chomklin and Anek Laothamatas, who oversees the Higher Education, Science and Innovations Ministry.

    All new ministers will attend a cabinet meeting on Thursday.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...oath-of-office

    In other news………

    Mother’s Day merit-making ceremony


    Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and his wife Naraporn presided over a merit-making ceremony on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother’s birthday today (August 12).

    The ceremony, which comprised the chanting of holy stanzas and giving alms to Buddhist monks, was held at Sanam Luang in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district.: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/...ernal_referral

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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    • PM Prayut may have his way in Cabinet reshuffle, but bigger challenge lies ahead



      Despite being coerced into reshuffling his Cabinet by factions in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has at least succeeded in resisting pressure from political veterans and stamping his authority on the ministerial selection.

      Observers, however, see his first Cabinet shake-up as only a temporary end to the tug-of-war within the core party of the coalition, but are divided as to when the government’s stability will be shaken again.

      Most of them agree that Prayut has an advantage, since the current junta-sponsored charter was designed to allow the post-coup regime to retain power after the March 2019 general elections. Without charter amendment, Prayut is unlikely to be easily ousted from office.

      “So far, the premier has been successful in halting the power struggle within the ruling party, but his government’s stability will be rocked again when the charter amendment process begins,” said Wanwichit Boonprong, a political scientist at Rangsit University.

      The reshuffle was seen as a bid to end disharmony in the ruling party triggered by the powerful Sam Mitr (Three Friends) faction, which had pressed Prayut for more than two months to hand it party executive seats and juicy Cabinet portfolios.

      The faction wanted its leader, incumbent Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, to take over former party secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong’s energy portfolio and have the industry portfolio handed to Anucha Nakasai, the party’s new secretary-general.

      In the end, Anucha only became PM’s Office minister, while Suriya stayed put as industry minister.

      In contrast, secretaries-general of other coalition parties, such as Bhumjaithai’s Saksayam Chidchob and the Democrats’ Chalermchai Sri-on, are able to keep their “A” grade portfolios – the ministries of Transport and of Agriculture and Cooperatives, respectively.

      “The faction is certainly unhappy with the Cabinet shake-up, but they may have to be patient and wait for a while,” Wanwichit said.

      Regarding the warning from core Sam Mitr members of a reshuffle “aftershock”, Wanwichit said that as soon as the door for charter amendment opens, politicians will likely run wild again – even those who supported the junta’s extended stay in power.

      Calls for the drafting of a new charter are growing louder after anti-establishment protesters, mostly led by university students, returned to the streets last month.

      Observers said provisions in the charter – such as the one enabling the 250 junta-appointed senators to vote for a new PM along with the 500-member lower House, and a mixed-member proportional electoral system that makes every vote count for both candidate and party – helped the pro-junta Palang Pracharath Party form a coalition government despite coming second in the election. The party’s sole prime ministerial candidate, General Prayut, became premier again – with unanimous backing from the Senate.

      “Once charter amendment is unlocked, the power of senators will be reduced and the preferential electoral system will be changed, thus freeing the politicians [from the powers that be],” Wanwichit said.

      Yuthaporn Issarachai, a political scientist from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, agreed that as long as Prayut has senators supporting him, he still has an advantage. Meanwhile charter change is a long, drawn out process and will not take place any time soon, he added.

      Prayut’s government may enjoy political stability for another three months but would then face an acid test from three key events, Yuthaporn said.

      First, three months from now, the public will be able to evaluate the abilities of the new ministers. Second, the final quarter will arrive and unemployment figures and company performances will be revealed to show exactly how bad the economy is doing. And third, the anti-government protests may grow much bigger.

      Unimpressive new faces

      In the long-waited announcement of the new Cabinet line-up last week, the post of finance minister went to Predee Daochai, former co-president of Kasikornbank (KBank) and chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association; Anucha, secretary-general of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, became PM’s Office minister; the new Higher Education, Science and Innovations minister is Anek Laothamatas, an executive of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party (ACT); Supattanapong Punmeechaow, the former director of PTT Global Chemical, is deputy PM and Energy chief; Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai now doubles as deputy premier; and Palang Pracharath’s deputy leader, Suchart Chomklin, is the new labour minister with former government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat as his deputy.

      Prayut managed to retain the economics-related portfolios of Finance and Energy under his prime minister’s quota, to the bitter disappointment of Sam Mitr faction which had targeted both posts. However, experts believe the new line-up is designed more to stabilise the ruling party than to benefit the national interest.

      Titipol Phakdeewanich, political science dean at Ubon Ratchathani University, said the reshuffle showed no attempt at political reform but was in fact a reward for those who supported the coup.

      He cited the appointment of Anek from ACT, a party that was founded by Suthep Thaugsuban, a former leader of the yellow-shirt People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). Protests by the PDRC played a vital role in toppling Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, after her Pheu Thai Party proposed a blanket amnesty bill that would have exonerated her brother and former PM Thaksin, among others.

      “Choosing a person with conservative views to oversee higher education may impede progress in both education and democracy. This [Anek’s appointment] may be seen as a mechanism created by the government to control universities and student activism,” Titipol said.

      The Prayut government is facing student-led protests demanding Constitutional amendments and the dissolution of Parliament.

      Wanwichit said he had expected bigger changes to the Cabinet. He gave Prayut only six out of 10 for reshuffle, citing two reasons.

      First, he said, Prayut failed to demonstrate how new Finance Minister Predee and Energy Minister Supattanapong were an upgrade on their predecessors.

      “Both may be ‘somebody’ in their professional fields, but they are ‘nobody’ in the eyes of the public. So, if their expertise is not promoted [to the public], both could end up with zero political charisma [in the eyes of voters],” Wanwichit said.

      The reshuffle was sparked by last month’s mass resignation of the Cabinet economics team, a quartet of technocrats known as the “Four Boys” and their mentor. Finance minister Uttama Savanayana, energy minister Sontirat, minister of higher education, science, research and innovation Suvit Maesincee and Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the PM for political affairs, led by then-deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak, quit their posts after weeks of pressure from Palang Pracharath Party factions. The ministers had earlier been ousted from the party’s executive board.

      The reshuffle’s second major shortcoming, said Wanwichit, was the appointment of former government spokesperson Narumon as deputy labour minister “at the request of” Palang Pracharath Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan.

      Narumon, known to be a member of Prawit’s inner circle, had been criticised for her lacklustre performance as spokesperson.

      “This [Narumon’s appointment] risks stirring bad feeling within the party among those who think they are more capable than her,” Wanwichit said.: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/pm-pray...ge-lies-ahead/

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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        • Prayut divvies up responsibilities among his six deputies

        Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday (August 13) signed an order assigning responsibilities for all six deputy prime ministers, the government’s deputy spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul said.

        According to Prayut’s orders, newly appointed Deputy PM and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow will also look after the Finance Ministry, while incumbent Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, who has just been named deputy PM, will also oversee the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.

        Incumbent Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan will be in charge of four ministries, namely Digital Economy and Society, Natural Resources and Environment, Interior and Labour, and will also oversee the National Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council.

        Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam will also oversee four ministries, namely Justice, Culture, Education and Industry, as well as the government’s Public Relations Department.

        Current Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, will be in charge of two additional ministries in his capacity as deputy premier, namely Tourism and Sports and Transport.

        Incumbent Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit will as deputy PM also oversee the Social Development and Human Security Ministry and the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry.

        Meanwhile, new Higher Education Science, Research and Innovation Minister Anek Laothamatas said after taking his oath of office on Thursday that his first job will be to create employment opportunities for new graduates. He added that his ministry will have to adjust its policies to serve the demand of students instead of setting its own policies for them to follow.

        He said he will also focus on upskilling and reskilling of workers, with the aim of turning his ministry into the country’s brain. He also said that larger sums will be allocated for research and development.

        Meanwhile, new Higher Education Science, Research and Innovation Minister Anek Laothamatas said after taking his oath of office on Thursday that his first job will be to create employment opportunities for new graduates. He added that his ministry will have to adjust its policies to serve the demand of students instead of setting its own policies for them to follow.

        He said he will also focus on upskilling and reskilling of workers, with the aim of turning his ministry into the country’s brain. He also said that larger sums will be allocated for research and development.: https://www.nationthailand.com/busin...ernal_referral

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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        • PM: Who is financing student rallies?



          Officials are looking into the financing behind recent student demonstrations, as their activities would seem to cost a lot, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday.

          Speaking after the cabinet meeting on Thursday, Gen Prayut said there were a lot of activities, and they would cost money.

          Officials were looking into just who was paying the bills.

          "These activities cost a lot. Where does the money come from? This must be checked out thoroughly. This is normal procedure. I do not have to order it done," the prime minister said.

          "Please try not to exploit the situation and cause national disorder... Facts must be determined. Is there anyone behind it? Were the demonstrators acting within their rights? Did they violate laws?"

          Most people did not condone the government sparing people whose activities break the law from legal action, the prime minister said.

          The demands made by the demonstrators did not address all the problems of the people, he said.

          "There are many economic, Covid and health problems, as well as income inequality. Are these more important? Over 60 million people in the country are suffering because of these problems," Gen Prayut said.

          The prime minister urged young demonstrators to voice constructive opinions. That, he said, would lead to solutions in the future.

          He shrugged off the opinions of the 105 academics who supported the students' anti-government rallies, saying they were not the majority of local and capable academics.

          The 105 academics' action did not surprise him, because it was consistent with their past stance.

          "It is important to refrain from offences. That is not Thailand... At this time it is too dangerous, and unacceptable to most people," Gen Prayut said.

          However, he promised to solve problems peacefully.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...udent-rallies-

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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          • PM – No heavy-handed response to student protests if there is no unrest

            Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that the Government will not take a heavy-handed approach dealing with student activists, following the controversial rally at Thammasat University on Monday night, but warned them not to cause unrest in the country.

            The Prime Minister claimed, however, that the majority of the people disagreed with the Government‘s lenient approach over comments made about the Thai Monarchy during the protest.

            He also dismissed claims by some student leaders that they are being followed by officials, apparently, with an intention to arrest them.

            Asked by reporters, about the statement issued by 105 university lecturers, in defence of the Monday night protest and their ten-point demands related to the Monarchy, the Prime Minister said that there are tens of thousands university lecturers in Thailand and most of them had not signed the statement.

            Meanwhile, Thammasat University Council on Thursday reaffirmed the university’s position as an educational institute which supports a democratic system with the King as the head of state and which recognizes the students’ right to free expression within the scope of the Constitutions and the law.

            This stance was adopted by the university council, chaired by former Rector, Professor Noraniti Setthabutr, during an urgent briefing by university administrators about the controversial protest held on the university’s Rangsit campus.

            At the same meeting, the administrators pledged to carry out an investigation and to report the findings to the public, adding that they will do their best to prevent violence on campus through peaceful dialogue.

            Meanwhile, five student activists, associated with the Free Youth movement and Student Union of Thailand, were summoned to Nang Loeng police station to acknowledge charges of violation of the state of emergency decree by allegedly staging a protest in front of the Army headquarters on July 20th.

            The five student activists include Prit “Penquin” [sic] Chivarak, a Thammasat University student.: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/pm-no-h...-is-no-unrest/

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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            • Prayut’s new economic panel targets 1m jobs, tourism boost

              The new committee tasked with steering the economy through the virus crisis got off to a fast start on Wednesday, announcing measures to boost tourism and create 1 million jobs.

              Set up following the Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, the panel’s first meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and attended by economics ministers and experts.

              They agreed to increase subsidies for local tourists and make jobs available for 400,000 new graduates, said Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, after Wednesday’s meeting.

              The government plans to boost local tourism by expanding its 40 per cent subsidy for accommodation costs from five to 10 nights. The government launched the tourism subsidies in mid-July, but so far only 660,000 of the available 5 million subsidised nights have been booked. Travellers will also see their Bt1,000 discount on air tickets boosted to Bt2,000, he said. Meanwhile large corporates will be invited to make use of the subsidies by organising seminar or training in other parts of the country. The measures will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval on August 25.

              The Labour Ministry will also propose measures aimed at creating 1 million jobs in the near future to combat growing unemployment. The government has prioritised finding another 400,000 jobs for graduates by funding companies to hire and retain workers, he said. The jobs will be available at private companies and government agencies, he said.

              The government will also launch other job creating projects funded by the Bt400-billion economic stimulus package.

              The unemployment rate in the second quarter rose 1.95 per cent to 745,000 people, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC). The NESDC is also worried about significant further job losses as 1.7 million workers are currently furloughed. The state think-tank forecast the economy will shrink 7.5 per cent this year following a plunge of 12.2 per cent in the second quarter

              Supattanapong said the government aims to shore up the economy and keep the contraction lower than projected.

              Meanwhile, Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said more small and medium-sized enterprises will apply for loans under the Bt500-billion soft loans scheme. Launched by the central bank in April, the scheme has attracted fewer than expected borrowers due to strict loan conditions. The government on Tuesday relaxed the conditions by tasking the state run-Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation to guarantee loans, which will encourage commercial banks to lend more. .: https://www.nationthailand.com/busin...ernal_referral

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                • PM readies for rally showdown/Military and security prepare for protests

                Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday instructed military and security agencies to prepare for student demonstrations which are expected to escalate next month when the incumbent military leaders retire.

                Gen Prayut on Wednesday chaired a special meeting of security agencies at the National Security Council (NSC) to assess potential threats to national security.

                Among those present were Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, NSC secretary-general Somsak Roongsita and Defence Forces chief Gen Pornpipat Benyasri.

                All eyes were on the meeting as Gen Prayut invited senior military officers -- who are tipped to become the new leaders of the armed forces, replacing the incumbents who will retire at the end of next month -- to the meeting.

                They include army chief of staff Gen Chalermpol Srisawasdi, expected to become the new Defence Forces chief; assistant army chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae, tipped to replace Gen Apirat Kongsompong as army chief; assistant navy chief Chartchai Sriworakhan, tipped to be named the navy chief succeeding Adm Luechai Ruddit and deputy police chief Pol Gen Suwat Chaengyodsuk, expected to succeed Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda as the national police chief.

                Gen Somsak said Gen Prayut called the meeting to discuss the ongoing political situation.

                Next month, two groups of student protesters and activists -- the Free People group and a group of Thammasat University students -- plan to escalate anti-government demonstrations.

                The Thammasat group said it will organise a massive rally at the university's Tha Prachan campus on Sept 19 while the Free People group has yet to announce a date but says it plans to camp out overnight, differing from its usual flash-mob form of protest.

                Free People has made demands for House dissolution, constitutional amendments and the end of government threats against its critics, while the Thammasat group demands reforms to the monarchy.

                A source said Gen Prayut is concerned that someone may exploit the situation to instigate unrest by using young protesters as a tool to use against authorities so that when the situation gets out of hand, the military might step in to maintain order.

                "Gen Prayut also wants to test the waters to see if the new military leaders, particularly Gen Narongphan, will still support his government, and gauge their stance if the demonstrations escalate,'' the source said.

                Gen Narongphan, the source said, does not have close ties with Gen Prayut. Previously, the prime minister had tried to push his close associate – deputy army chief Gen Natthapol Nakpanich -- to become army chief, but to no avail.

                Gen Prayut said on Wednesday he did not oppose the protests but many demands of the protesters were not possible to implement.

                He called on protesters to respect the royal institution.

                Asked about foreign organisations' criticisms about his administration's handling of the protest, the prime minister said he had never interfered in other countries' affairs and said the government would use appropriate methods to prevent the protests from turning violent.

                If the protests get out of control and the government is forced to invoke national security laws, the country might risk reverting back to the "old situation", he said.

                Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said foreign organisations should keep silent on Thailand's internal affairs, after some warned the government against using force against student protesters.

                The minister said the government had never used force against anyone.

                Mr Don voiced his opinion that comments made by foreign organisations were based on the past.

                He added it would be best for them not to say anything about the country's political problems as Thailand has its own way of handling situations.

                A sub-committee of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has proposed the state of emergency be extended until the end of September to allow continued compulsory quarantining of people returning from abroad.

                Human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa was arrested on Wednesday at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road.

                The arrest was made following his participation in a peaceful gathering on Aug 3 at Democracy Monument. He was arrested on charges of sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...rally-showdown
                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                  • PM likely to pick Airbull as new air force chief

                  Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has approved the nomination of a "dark horse" to be the new air force chief over a number of other high-calibre candidates, according to a ministry source.

                  ACM Airbull Suttiwan has won air force commander ACM Maanat Wongwat's nomination as his successor, contradicting earlier speculation that the air force's assistant commander-in-chief, ACM Tharin Punnasri, was being groomed for the post.

                  The source said ACM Airbull's appointment as the new air force chief was approved by Gen Prayut at a recent high-level defence meeting he chaired.

                  Other top brass at the meeting included Deputy Defence Minister Chaichan Changmongkol, defence permanent secretary Gen Nat Intaracharoen and defence forces chief Gen Pornpipat Benyasri, as well as chiefs of the armed forces.

                  The source added Gen Prayut gave the top brass names nominated by their respective forces chiefs as their successors the green light.

                  The annual reshuffle, which takes effect at the start of the next fiscal year on Oct 1, is being watched closely by observers as it involves the replacements of the army, air force and navy commanders-in-chief and of the defence forces chief.

                  No other changes are being made to the armed forces' nominations.

                  It was earlier reported the ACM Tharin Poonsri, assistant air force chief, was in the running.

                  However, ACM Maanat has opted to propose ACM Airbull to take his place instead.

                  On Aug 20, ACM Maanat said his successor does not necessarily have to be someone from among his deputies or assistants as long as they were intelligent, ethical, dedicated and loyal to the monarchy.

                  Air force chiefs were customarily picked from among the "tigers" made up of deputy and assistant chiefs. It was not until 1999 that ACM Sanan Thuatip broke with the tradition when he was promoted despite his prior position as a specialist.

                  ACM Airbull previously worked as a C-130 transport aircraft pilot and directed the Don Muang air force base. He was also appointed air force attache to Singapore at about the time as ACM Maanat served as attache to Germany.

                  ACM Airbull comes from a family of air force officers. His father was part of a training programme in the US code-named 'Air Bull' which led to the choice of name for his son.

                  Meanwhile, Gen Prayut has agreed to the candidates put forth by other forces.

                  Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong has proposed his assistant Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae as his successor, according to a military source.

                  Retiring navy chief Adm Luechai Ruddit has nominated assistant navy chief Chartchai Sriworakhan to succeed him, and deputy army chief Gen Natthapon Nakpanich is expected to be the new secretary-general of the National Security Council, replacing Gen Somsak Roongsita who retires next month.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...ir-force-chief
                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                  • PM: We need foreign tourists for sake of local economy/Welcoming mat will include strict disease controls


                    Thailand needs to attract foreign tourists back and have a welcoming system of disease control in place, so local people can start earning money again, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday.

                    The return of foreign visitors would begin with only a limited number of arrivals, to test the country's disease control measures, which would be comprehensive, he said.

                    He sought to allay concerns that tourists coud bring with them a new wave of coronavirus disease. Gen Prayut said the government would not let visitors arrive as they pleased.

                    "There will be forms to fill in. Flights must be traceable. When they reach their destinations their whereabouts will have to be confirmed and they will be isolated from others," the prime minister said.

                    Gen Prayut said the return of tourists was essential for the country.

                    "If nothing is done, things will get worse. Premises will be shut down. Employees will be laid off. How can the government afford to help them all?" he said.

                    He gave an assurance that visitors would be monitored, and said he hoped that local people would welcome them back.

                    "Local people must take care (of the visitors) because the benefits will go to them, not the government," Gen Prayut said.

                    "Please rest assured that if (the disease) is detected, we will be able to contain it," he said.

                    The prime minister said officials were drafting procedures for handling arriving tourists and considering which would be the first destination to receive them.

                    The biggest economic impact has been on the provinces that used to get a large number of foreign tourists, he said.

                    The prime minister did not say how tourists would be persuaded to come here.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...-local-economy

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                    • Kanchanaburi borders with Myanmar closed due to Covid-19 threat

                      Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered closure of all access routes to Myanmar from Kanchanaburi province to prevent the spread of Covid-19 after a suspected second wave of infections in the neighbouring country.

                      Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered closure of all access routes to Myanmar from Kanchanaburi province to prevent the spread of Covid-19 after a suspected second wave of infections in the neighbouring country.

                      The routes that will be closed are: the Phu Nam Ron checkpoint, Muang district, Bongdi checkpoint, Thayok district, Ban E Tong natural channel, Thong Pha Phum district, and the Three Pagodas border checkpoint in Sangkhlaburi district.

                      It has not been confirmed if a Covid-19 case has been found in the Phaya Tongsu area, which is opposite the Three Pagodas checkpoint.

                      On Sunday, Surasi Army 104th commander, Maj-General Thakat Lordsiri, met with the heads of Muang, Sai Yok and Sangkhlaburi districts, including community leaders, to discuss measures for the prevention of Covid-19 in the vicinity of the Three Pagodas checkpoint.

                      After a fresh outbreak in the Sittwe area, in Rakhine state, Myanmar has now found patients and suspected cases in the city of Mawlamyine, just 270 kilometres from the Three Pagodas checkpoint.

                      The security department, military, police, immigration office, and village chiefs have tightened the monitoring of natural channels from the Ban Nam Koek checkpoint to the Three Pagodas area. There are more than 20 natural channels used by villagers in Thailand and Myanmar to cross the border. The military is playing a key role in patrolling to prevent illegal entry at night.

                      Businesses can import and export products as usual by specifying a delivery point at the border without allowing Myanmar operators to deliver goods in Thailand or Thai people delivering goods in Myanmar.

                      Thakat urged all agencies to strictly perform their duties and enforce the law if Myanmar people tried to smuggle into the area. Disciplinary and criminal sanctions will be undertaken, he warned, adding, a Covid-19 outbreak in the area would cause enormous damage to the local economy as Kanchanaburi province is a major tourist destination, attracting large numbers of Thai and foreign tourists.: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/...ernal_referral


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                      • Cabinet approves B23bn graduate job creation scheme/New graduates will receive 9,400 to 15,000 baht for 1 year

                        The cabinet on Tuesday approved measures to create jobs, the prime minister said, as the government tries to revive an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

                        But planned cash handouts had not been discussed yet, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha told a news briefing.

                        Last week, the government announced fiscal stimulus plans worth a combined 68.5 billion baht.

                        The prime minister said that the Labour Ministry planned to create 12-month-long jobs for 260,000 graduates from universities and vocational schools.

                        The positions would be among 1 million jobs that the ministry was preparing for people and it would present the job vacancies in an upcoming job expo, Gen Prayut said.

                        The government will pay 50% of salaries for new graduates during the one-year period starting next month.

                        Salaries will be set at 15,000 baht for university graduates, 11,500 baht for graduates with advanced vocational certificates and 9,400 baht for graduates with standard vocational certificates.

                        The subsidies will cost the state about 23.48 billion baht.

                        Employers participating in this project must be in the social security system and their lay-offs cannot exceed 15% of their workforce during the one-year period.

                        Graduates must not be older than 25 years, unless they graduated during the previous year or will graduate this year.

                        Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the subsidy was a part of the 1-trillion-baht that the Finance Ministry borrowed to shore up the economy affected by the coronavirus pandemic.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business...reation-scheme

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                        • PM dismisses coup talk/Army warns against 'information distortion'

                          Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday dismissed a rumour of an impending coup d'etat by the army as baseless while the army spokesman warned against "distortion of information".

                          The premier spoke at Government House about a coup rumour spurred by the recent movement of forces and army equipment in many areas. Gen Prayut said the speculation was groundless and abruptly ended his press briefing.

                          Special adviser to the army, Gen Nathaphon Srisawat, said the army would notify the public in advance of any movement of forces and armaments from an army unit and called on the public not to panic.

                          On the coup rumour, he said army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong had warned all units to exercise caution and suggested they communicate the right message to the public to end the speculation.

                          Army spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said the rumour that the army had been mobilising military equipment in preparation for a coup was a distortion of the truth.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...erbox#cxrecs_s

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                          • Cabinet reshuffle on the cards after sudden exit of newly appointed finance minister

                            Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to reshuffle the Cabinet of his coalition government soon after Finance Minister Predee Daochai resigned on September 1 less than a month after his appointment, according to a source in the ruling Palang Pracharat Party.

                            Predee, a former chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association, cited health reasons for his abrupt departure from the Finance Ministry, but some observers believe he had a conflict with his deputy over the annual promotion of senior officials at the ministry.

                            A Palang Pracharat source said that Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who is also deputy prime minister, is a candidate for finance minister.

                            If Supattanapong gets the nod, he will have two posts -- deputy prime minister and finance minister.

                            Deputy Finance Minister Santi Prompat is expected to replace Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit who is tipped to become energy minister.

                            Deputy Labour Minister Narumon Pinyosinwat is likely deputy finance minister while an MP from the Palang Pracharat will become deputy labour minister, according to the source.

                            The Palang Pracharat MP's name has been proposed to party leader General Prawit Wongsuwan, who is also deputy prime minister.

                            The Cabinet reshuffle is expected within this month or early next month, according to the source.: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/...ernal_referral


                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                              • NESDB to design 2-year strategic plan to cope with COVID-19 pandemic fallout

                              Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) has been tasked by the Prime Minister to draw up a two-year national strategic plan, to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the emphasis on job creation, income distribution, care for vulnerable groups and laying the foundation for a new economic structure.

                              NESDB Secretary-General Mr. Tossaporn Sirisamphand said that the economic think-tank is in the process of gauging public opinions, which will be collated and analyzed during the drawing up of the strategic plan.

                              Six new experts in different areas have been appointed to the committee. They include General Somsak Rungsita on security, Mrs. Atchaka Sibunruang on Thailand’s competitiveness, Mr. Krisanapong Kiratikorn on human resource development and Mr. Ennoo Suesuwan on opportunity creation and social equality.

                              In Parliament today, opposition MPs took turns to slam the Government for its mishandling of the economy, for budgeting which fails to respond to the challenges facing the country and for inefficient revenue collection, causing a substantial revenue shortfall.

                              Kao Klai party leader Pita Limjaroenrat said that the budget structure does not reflect the crises facing the country and budget allocation for each ministry remains broadly unchanged, despite the changing situation.

                              The budget for the salaries of government officials and state employees increases by 4% annually, outpacing the country’s economic growth, despite the fact that government manpower does not increase commensurately, said Pita, adding that the salaries alone account for 25% of the entire budget.

                              He added that the Government may go bankrupt if it keeps on borrowing to fill revenue shortfalls, which are estimated at 250 billion baht this year and may balloon further.

                              Pheu Thai MP Cholnan Srikaew proposed that the 3.3 trillion baht budget should be trimmed by 8%, or 260 billion baht, because the Government will miss its revenue collection target, estimated at 2.67 trillion baht.

                              As the economic growth rate for the whole year is expected to contract by 8%, with a 12.2% contraction in the second quarter of this year, Cholnan said there is no chance that the Government will meet its revenue collection target.: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/nesdb-t...demic-fallout/

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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                              • PM appeals to protesters to obey the law during their protest this Saturday

                                Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has warned student activists not to break the law during their planned protest this Saturday, as he reassured that he has instructed the police to treat the protesters with leniency “because they are our children.”

                                As the day of the protest draws near, the Prime Minister reminded the protesters, and their leaders in particular, about the relevant laws and regulations and about what could be done and what should be avoided, in order to avoid conflicts.

                                He reiterated that the Government will not allow violence to occur during the protest, adding that the protesters should cooperate to avoid it.

                                “I am not intimidating anyone, but the country’s existence is based on the principle of law,” said the Prime Minister, as he asked the protesters whether they think, if the break the law, the public in general will be tolerant.

                                He insisted that he is not in conflict with the protesters, adding that they can stage a protest as they wish, but reminded them to take responsibility if their actions or protests cause damage to the country, which is already saddled with a myriad of problems, solutions to which require the cooperation of all sectors of society.

                                The Prime Minister said that he has remained very patient and has been trying to solve all the problems in an appropriate way, so that the country can move forward.

                                “You have the right to protest. What about the rights of other people? What about Government premises? There are rules and laws in every country. People gain or lose from any act, like the English saying ‘You reap what you sow’. You do not suffer, but the country and other people suffer. So when you claim you are a patriot, and want to solve the country’s problems, you must start by correcting yourselves. If you start by provoking conflict, it will go nowhere,” said the Prime Minister.

                                He pleaded with the protesters, as well as other opponents of the Government, to be fair to his administration, insisting that it has not been a complete failure, as they allege, but has made achievements in several areas.

                                Thailand, he said, will lose out and lose opportunities in the world community if people in the country are obsessed with quarreling and fighting with one another.: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/pm-appe...this-saturday/

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

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