Cabinet Acknowledges Guidelines for Preserving and Globalizing Songkran29 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Cabinet has acknowledged guidelines for preserving and globalizing the Songkran festival this week, as it pushes for the tradition to be included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.Deputy Government Spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana said the campaign, proposed by the Ministry of Culture, aims to establish guidelines for promoting and preserving the Songkran tradition. With the cooperation of all agencies, activities will be organized to focus on preserving the beautiful cultural values ??of the Songkran festival, along with public relations efforts to raise awareness among the international community.Each provincial administration is encouraged to organize religious and cultural activities related to the Songkran tradition. Provinces will also launch a campaign to encourage people to give alms to monks, pay respect to elders, dress in Thai traditional clothing, and support local artists in passing on the cultural heritage.During the long holiday period, agencies responsible for security and public services are urged to strictly enforce the law to ensure the safety of life and property for both locals and tourists. Motorists are also urged to comply with traffic laws when on the road.
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Govt Orders Agencies to Step Up Haze Response29 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The government has instructed relevant agencies to escalate their forest fire responses in an attempt to mitigate the air pollution crisis.Government Spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, during this week’s cabinet meeting, urged agencies to accelerate anti-haze operations. This involves the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment providing personnel and equipment, while the Ministry of Interior enforces the no-fire policy. Additionally, the Ministry of Industry will impose a temporary purchase ban on sugar cane related to agricultural burning while the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will launch cloud seeding operations to bring about precipitation.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has assigned the Royal Thai Embassy in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to make daily inquiries to the Myanmar government on efforts to limit agricultural burning. The Ministry of Defence will also use its military connections with neighboring countries to address the transboundary haze issue. Thai companies investing and operating in Myanmar and Laos are also being asked to look after local farmers.People in Thailand are meanwhile being warned that any actions resulting in forest fires are punishable by law. Penalties for causing a fire in a national park range from 4 to 20 years in prison, a fine of between 400,000 and 2 million baht, or a combined sentence.
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Media Outlets Form Alliance on Election Results Coverage27 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Thai media outlets have come together to form an alliance for covering unofficial results from polling stations during the upcoming general election. The move comes in response to the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to use a non-real time official reporting format.The Association of Digital Television Broadcasting (Thailand) recently announced that it will cooperate to report unofficial election scores live from polling stations on election day. This campaign involves 50 agencies and aims to provide unofficial election results to the public since the EC is adopting a non-real time reporting system this year.The association’s president, Suphab Kleekachai, said the campaign aims to report the final, unofficial results from all polling stations across the country by 9:00 PM, which is earlier than the target of 11:00 PM set by the EC.Adisak Limparungpatanakij, campaign director and advisor to the association, added that the tallies for party-list MPs should be reported by 7:00 PM, while the leading candidate at each constituent should be reported by 9:00 PM on the same evening.The campaign will deploy 100,000 volunteers to report on unofficial results from all polling stations. They are currently recruiting additional volunteers, including observers from political parties and civic volunteers, to join the mission. Data from 95,000 polling stations submitted by the volunteers will be processed at the campaign headquarters at Sripatum University in Bangkok and transmitted to TV stations and online news outlets.The campaign is raising funds on the website D-Vote.com/TheWatcher and hopes to raise 12 million baht to cover operations at all polling stations nationwide.
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Cabinet Acknowledges Complaints From State Agencies and Enterprises27 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Cabinet last week acknowledged complaints and feedback submitted by the public to state agencies and enterprises during the first quarter of the 2023 fiscal year.According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Trisaranakul, the Office of the Prime Minister has proposed a plan and coordinated with relevant agencies to enhance public services while improving the handling of complaints in the future.During the first quarter of fiscal 2023, from October 1 to December 31, 2022, the public submitted nearly 14,500 complaints through available channels - 12,100 or 84% of which were resolved. The remaining complaints, or 16%, are still being reviewed by relevant agencies. Compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year, there was a decrease of about 1,000 complaints.Traisulee added that the top government agency which received the most complaints and feedback was the Royal Thai Police, followed by the ministries of transport, finance, public health, and education. The top state enterprise that received the most complaints and feedback was the Government Lottery Office, followed by the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority.The Office of the Prime Minister has reviewed issues and obstacles in handling complaints and found that the public expects a prompt response to their problems. All agencies are therefore requested to prioritize the time frame for problem-solving and progress reports to complainants. The majority of the complaints were recurring issues such as noisy motorcycles and loud restaurants, but the agencies did not have effective measures to address them.Governmental units and state enterprises are urged to focus on proactive work, analyze situation data, monitor public concerns, develop systemic solutions and create databases for better cooperation in the future.
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2023 General Election Scheduled For 14 May22 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Election Commission has selected 14 May as the general election day, following Monday’s announcement of parliamentary dissolution. Applications for MP candidates can be submitted in the first week of April.The date was selected in a commissioner meeting today with a unanimous decision, marking the 55th day out of the 60-day timeframe within which the election must take place.The Election Commission has set the application dates for MP candidates during the first week of April. Application for constituency MP candidates will be accepted on 3-7 April, while applications for party-list candidates will be accepted on 4-7 April. The venues for candidates’ applications are expected to be the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center for constituency MP candidates, and Bangkok’s Second City Hall for party-list candidates. Both of these venues are located in Din Daeng district of the capital.These schedules will be submitted to the interim Cabinet for acknowledgment, and for an official announcement in the Royal Gazette.
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Wissanu Expects EC To Set May 14 As Election Day, Says Civil Servants Must Not Breach Election law21 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The deputy prime minister for legal affairs now expects the Election Commission (EC) to announce the date for this year’s general election by Friday (24 March). The date is expected to fall on Sunday, May 14.Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam indicated that with the announcement of the royal decree on Parliament dissolution, the EC will likely announce election-related dates by Friday. The EC will be announcing the election date, the application dates for MP candidates, and the venues where candidates can make their applications. Mr. Wissanu expects the election date to be May 14th. However, he said it would make no difference and there would be no political implications if the date fell on May 7th instead.Mr. Wissanu also said civil servants must now carry themselves in accordance with Section 78 of the election law. He said the EC has pointed out that some actions by civil servants that do not violate election law may still be in breach of civil servant laws. The EC had given participation in vote rallies as an example, saying this would be in violation of civil servant laws stipulating that state officials are to perform without bias.Mr. Wissanu said the Cabinet will now need the approval of the EC when making transfers of civil servants and state enterprise executives or when disbursing the central budget. He said he will brief the Cabinet on this matter tomorrow (21 March). Meanwhile, the EC has issued a guidebook for politicians’ conduct after Parliament dissolution. The guidebook details matter such as the Cabinet not being able to hold roving Cabinet meetings or organizing events that involve large numbers of people gathering. The exception to this would be annual events such as the Songkran festival. Cabinet members will not be able to hand out items during festivities. They will be able to attend weddings and hand out wedding gifts but are not allowed to take the stage to deliver a speech.Mr. Wissanu also spoke of a political party’s recent request for the Administrative Court to determine the legitimacy of the EC’s current electoral districts map for Bangkok. He said the EC will unlikely make changes to the constituency boundaries so long as the court does not rule otherwise. He added he personally was unsure if the court would accept the request as it might fall under the jurisdiction of another court.
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Thai PM Orders Probe into Chinese-owned Samanea Plaza10 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an investigation into the legality of Samanea Plaza Thailand, a new wholesale and retail trade and goods distribution center in Bangkok’s Bang Na district, following claims that the shopping center is fully owned by Chinese investors.Gen Prayut has instructed all relevant state agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the legality of the trade center. He stated that if the permit for the center was unlawfully issued, it would have to be shut down.The decision to allow the trade center to continue operating has sparked criticism from Thai middlemen who import goods from China to be resold in Thailand. They fear that Chinese traders will use the shopping center to trade directly with Thai buyers, flooding the domestic market with Chinese goods and causing prices to collapse, thus harming local traders.A group representing these Thai middlemen has petitioned the Ministry of Commerce to investigate the legality of the plaza in question. They argue that the government must take responsibility for this matter because it has been actively trying to attract Chinese e-commerce operators into Thailand.Department of Business Development Deputy Director-General Jitakorn Wongkhatekorn later clarified that the department granted a permit for the trade center to operate as it is owned by three Thai legal entities: Samanea Bangna 02 Co, Samanea Bangna Co, and Samanea Holdings (Thailand) Co., with Cheuk Fung Au, a Thai citizen being a key shareholder. According to Jitakorn, Cheuk Fung Au has a Thai mother and the decision to allow foreign businesses to operate in Thailand was made by weighing potential advantages and disadvantages and without any preference for investors from any particular nation.
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Cabinet Approves Phase 4 of Scholarship Program for Southern Border Students09 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Cabinet approved phase 4 of the higher education development program in the southern border provinces. The program grants 40,000 baht per person for students in the area to pursue a bachelor’s degree.Deputy Government Spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek elaborated that the scholarship support program is granted to children residing in the five southern border provinces, namely Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Satun, and four districts in Songkhla, which include Chana, Thepha, Nathawi, and Saba Yoi. For the academic years 2023 - 2027, about 419.5 million baht has been allocated for the program. This is to ensure the continuity of children’s education and to increase opportunities for young learners in the five provinces to enter universities in the fields that are in need of manpower, according to the needs of the areas. Additionally, they should be able to use the knowledge they gain for the betterment of their communities.The initiative aims at three goals. Firstly, it aims to open up opportunities and reduce educational disillusionment among students in the five aforementioned provinces. Secondly, it supports undergraduate scholarships in the fields that meet the areas’ actual needs. Lastly, it instills a volunteer mindset in scholarship recipients, so that they can bring good to their institution, community, and nation. The scholarship program has been in operation since 2007. There have been nearly 5,800 recipients.
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Speaker Chuan Satisfied With House Performance08 Mar 2023
BANGKOK (NNT) - The House Speaker expressed his satisfaction with the work that the House of Representatives has achieved over the past four years, as it successfully passed almost all bills proposed to support the government’s initiatives.House Speaker Chuan Leekpai stated that despite a hiccup in its final session due to a lack of quorum, the House has completed its legislative duty and passed most of the bills proposed by the government to support its initiatives. He noted that due to the repeated collapse of the final session, many beneficial laws, such as a bill on rail transportation and a bill on cheques, were not passed.Overall, the House speaker assessed the performance of this House of Representatives as "satisfactory," as it managed to function efficiently until the end of its final session.The 25th House of Representatives concluded its final session on February 28, unofficially marking the completion of its legislative duty. The House’s four-year term is set to end on March 23 unless there is dissolution before that date.
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