Thailand Morning News For February 21

Thailand Morning News For February 21
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Thailand morning newsIDC: Digital shift to add $9bn to GDP
Digital transformation should add 0.4% compound average growth annually to Thailand’s GDP for an estimated US$9 billion (284 billion baht) by 2021, says Michael Araneta, associate vice-president of IDC Financial Insights.
— Bangkok Post

Cabinet approves B6.34bn for nationwide upgrades
The cabinet on Tuesday approved a combined 6.34 billion baht for projects to facilitate the ease of doing business and upgrade the country’s competitiveness.
— Bangkok Post

EEC investment to boost Thailand’s GDP growth by 5%
The projected substantial investment in eastern provinces under the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project could help boost the country’s economy by 5 percent in 2018, according to officials.
— Pattaya Mail

BoT to keep a lid on baht interventions
The Bank of Thailand is expected to scale back its interventions in the foreign exchange market amid concerns they could prompt the wrath of the US and place Thailand on a currency manipulation watchlist, says a Kasikornbank (KBank) senior executive.
— Bangkok Post

New party planned to back Prayut as premier after election
SUTHEP THAUGSUBAN, core leader of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), plans to found a political party to support Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha becoming premier after the next general election, a former Democrat party-list MP has claimed.
— The Nation (annoying popups)

Universities, industry tackle labour market mismatch
Four heads of higher education institutes and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) have joined forces to solve the problem of a mismatch of supply and demand of labour force and skills.
— Bangkok Post

OBEC issues policies to enhance quality of Thai education
Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) has defined a policy to ensure that secondary school students be placed in classes of between 30 and 40 students.

Govt gives nod to bill to help poor students
The cabinet has approved a draft bill which will provide government funds for equal access to education for poor students through the award of scholarships and loans.
— Bangkok Post

Northern provinces told to brace for possible drought this summer
Local authorities in the North of Thailand have been instructed to ensure that there is enough water for household consumption this summer.

Thailand scans fishermen’s eyes to cut slavery
Thailand is using optical scanning technology to keep track of who is working on its fishing boats, officials said, as the kingdom tries to curb slave labour and human trafficking that has riddled the low-paid industry.
— The National

PM gets tough on embezzlers
Anyone found guilty of being involved in embezzling state funds earmarked for the underprivileged will be prosecuted, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said.
— Bangkok Post

Anti-corruption agency: 20-year national strategy can solve corruption
The Secretary-General of the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, Mana Nimitmongkol, has expressed his belief that the 20-year national strategy will help eradicate corruption and push for social equality.

Watch out, PM tells critical graftbuster
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha lashed out at a key member of the government’s anti-corruption drive Tuesday after the man urged him to take action over an expensive collection of luxury watches worn by one of his deputies.
— Bangkok Post

Sara tax collection model to cut costs and raise income
If the initiative to apply the Semi-Autonomous Revenue Agency (Sara) model to tax-collecting agencies pans out, it will help boost the government’s tax revenue and cut management costs, says Somchai Sujjapongse, permanent secretary for finance.
— Bangkok Post

Thailand’s Navy Gets a Boost with Five New Patrol Vessels
Last week, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) added five new patrol vessels to its fleet from a local shipyard.
— The Diplomat

Thai state railway to open golden empty lands
The State Railway of Thailand’s (SRT) headquarters, a gem of century-old Siamese architecture tucked behind central Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong railway station, may soon be converted into a boutique hotel.
— Asia Times

High-speed line final bids due by year-end
Auctions for the three remaining stretches of the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway’s first phase from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima will be concluded by the end of the year, according to a State Railway of Thailand (SRT) source.
— Bangkok Post

Pollution tax on motorcycles now on the table
The Excise Department is now studying a possibility to introduce vehicle pollution tax on motorcycles in a new effort to improve air quality.
— Thai PBS

Protesters rejoice after coal ‘victory’
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged supporters and protesters associated with the coal-fired power plant projects in two southern provinces to remain calm after the government decided to put the contentious projects on hold.
— Bangkok Post

EGAT to promote energy efficient refrigerants
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is working with financial institutions to promote environmentally friendly appliances.

Marine Department to conduct a new EHIA study on Pak Bara deep-sea port project
The Ministry of Transport has ordered the Marine Department to conduct a new environment and health impacts assessment (EHIA) study of the controversial Pak Bara deep-see port project in Satun province within six months.
— Thai PBS

Developers upbeat despite sales squeeze
LISTED property companies Pruksa Holdings Plc and LPN Development Plc have reported declines in earnings for last year amid lacklustre market demand, but both have expressed confidence the market will pick up in 2018.
— The Nation

Japanese man given custody of 13 surrogate kids
A Thai court on Tuesday granted legal custody of 13 babies carried by surrogate mothers to a secretive Japanese millionaire who is their biological father, reviving a bizarre tale that captured tabloid headlines four years ago, but leaving some basic questions unanswered.
— AP

Yala poised for minimum wage hike
Employers in Thailand’s Yala province have asked for state assistance as the province is poised to introduce a new minimum wage rate of 308 baht on April 1, 2018.

Thai police catch two poachers killing protected animals in National Park
Thai Police and local officials have stated to the press that they have multiple suspects in a poaching case near Pak Chong, in a wildlife sanctuary at Khao Yai National Park.
— The Pattaya News

How Thailand built a universal healthcare system without giving private sector free rein
Thailand’s Universal Coverage Scheme came out of the manifesto of Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai party for the 2001 general election.


Feature photo John Le Fevre


Find our previous morning news feature photos in the AEC News Today Morning News Feature Photos gallery where you will find a pictorial display of daily life throughout the Asean Economic Community (AEC).


Thailand morning news by AEC News Today is your one stop source for Thailand news on matters of governance and policies affecting Asean business communities. It is published M-F by AEC News Today: Governance, not government; policies not politics.


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John Le Fevre

Thailand editor at AEC News Today

John is an Australian national with more than 40 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer, and copy editor.

He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.

He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.

In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.

In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.

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