Saturday, June 24, 2017
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Govt lauded for its efforts to fight graft

Posted by pakin On April - 27 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Experts seek more action to deal with cronyism.

THE PRAYUT government has made some progress in suppressing corruption but it needs to show that it would not spare any wrongdoers including its cronies, anti-corruption experts said yesterday.

They were speaking at a seminar, “Monitoring the Prayut Government’s Anti-Corruption Policies”, which was organised by Thailand Development and Research Institute (TDRI) and the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT).

Thippatrai Saelawong, a principal researcher from the TDRI, said the government has been doing its best to tackle corruption by reforming and enacting some new laws. At least five laws to help suppress corruption have been enacted during its term of nearly three years.

The research team looked into the progress of the government’s anti-corruption effort by examining degrees of action, from light action to the most concrete action of law enactment.

The team found that the government had performed quite well, with a score of about 67 per cent, in preventing officials intervening in state business via subjective judgements, one of the two prime sources of corruption. The other is state procurements.

At least two necessary laws have been put in place, particularly the state service facilitation law, under which state permission has become more transparent through concrete procedures, Thippatrai said.

The government has scored around 60 per cent regarding progress in trying to steer clear of corruption in state budget spending. At least two necessary laws, including the state procurements law, have been put in place to regulate and make spending of the state budget more transparent.

However, the promotion of public participation to ensure more transparency of state acts has been less successful as most laws have not yet been enacted, including the state information provision law, said Thippatrai.

“We have seen some progress in the government’s anti-corruption policies by taking a look at its law enactment on what is necessary. Still, we cannot tell yet whether these would lead to the success of corruption suppression as we need to monitor the enforcement of these new laws more as well as the outcome of the action,” said Thippatrai.

He added that there was still concern that an open atmosphere for discussions and participation was still relatively slim and several issues still remain closed to the public, including security issues.

Mana Nimitmongkol, ACT’s secretary-general, said the government has not yet been able to reach enough people to discuss solutions to the problem of corruption.

Some groups have joined the government’s efforts but they are being outpaced by the scale of the problem. This government had enacted more anti-corruption laws than past governments but cronyism has overridden its efforts.

Efforts in structural changes or long-term anti-corruption policies are desperately needed, he said.

 

Myanmar tours website acquires UK technology

Posted by pakin On April - 27 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

AS TOUR OPERATORS in Myanmar are eyeing to partner with foreign firms to serve their clients better, Flymya.com, the nation’s leading hotels and tours services website, has acquired Switch.cm, a London-based start-up specialising in building reservations platforms for the hotel and airline industry, for US$ 600,000.

Mike Than Tun Win, chief executive officer of Flymya.com, said in an interview that the acquisition of Switch.cm’s hotel software would allow his firm to leverage its local expertise to deploy world class technology to small and medium–sized hotels as it continues its growth as the leading over-the-air (OTA) in Myanmar and the region.

“We look forward to utilising the software to provide an added value to our hotel partners. It offers the same function as expensive hotel management software selling in the market with many local hotels cannot afford. It will be provided free to help local hotels get management software to help them sell online easily and generate more income,” he said. 

Mike said the software would help create a direct Application Programming Interface (API) architecture for Flymya’s hotel partners to deliver real-time price and availability to consumers. 

Widely used 

The software is widely used in 41 countries including the United States, South America, the United Kingdom, Australia and Asian countries. In Myanmar, it was just launched. For the initial period, the firm will be charging some service income for processing their customer payments online. 

“For hotels, we wanted to focus on regional hotel owners who might be intimidated by legacy software, especially small and medium-sized hotels. We will carry on to expand customers, based on Indonesia and Myanmar and Asean as our main focus,” he said. 

“People generally take for granted the incredibly sophisticated architecture that goes behind making a hotel reservation,” he added.

The use of advanced technology is still a new concept in small and medium-sized hotels in Myanmar. Yet, Flymya.com has planned to help them address such challenges by taking over the user-friendly and simple software which can help them a great deal with hotel reservations management. 

“Major challenges that local small and medium-sized hotels are facing depends on the fact that there is no local technical support and no up-to- date technical knowledge training since most of the hotel operation software are based in foreign countries,” he said. 

Mike assures of offering 24/7 customer support 365 days, thanks to the firm’s onground presence. He promises to support all the technical solutions and trainings to its hotel partners anywhere, anytime related to the software.

Mike said he had a chance encounter with Jeff Pan, the founder of Switch.cm, and his team in the closing minutes of the Tech in Asia conference in Singapore last year as they were on their way to the airport. Pan was an exhibitor as a start-up in the Bootstrap Alley section of the event.

“We were extremely impressed by Jeff’s background as both a hotelier and a software engineer with deep knowledge of hotel API architecture. We look forward to utilising his team’s software to provide an added value to our hotel partners,” he said.

Google Maps has added a new feature that will help you find where you parked your car.

The new feature is available on both iOS and Android, Google said in a blog post.

To enable the feature, Android users just need to tap on the blue do that reveals their location and then tap “save your parking”.

The location will then be saved and a label added to the map showing where the car is parked.

Users are then able to add additional info to the label and can even add an image of where the car is parked or send the location of the parking spot to friends.

For iOS users, they can follow similar steps to enable the feature on their iPhone. Start by tapping on the blue dot and select “set as parking location”.

“This is in addition to the automatic parking detection you might have already noticed in Google Maps for iOS. If you connect to your car using USB audio or bluetooth, your parking spot will be automatically added to the map when you disconnect and exit the vehicle,” Google said.

The news comes after Google has rolled a number of useful new features to its popular navigation app.

Earlier this year it began displaying real time traffic info that gives drivers information on how congested a road is.

Google also added a new feature that lets users share their location with their friends.

 

Trang’s inland treasures

Posted by pakin On April - 27 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Beyond the beaches, the old walled town teems with historical and cultural charms

WHILE MOST of the travellers arriving in Trang quickly find a perch on the beach or head straight to the boats to go diving in the Andaman Sea, the tranquil town itself offers all sorts of landlubber delights.

Trang was a thriving trading hub in the days when it was known as Muang Thub Thieng, a port established by Chinese merchants.

In the days of the Sumatra-based Melayu Kingdom between 600 and 1200 AD, vessels docked there laden with kerosene for lamps and ingredients for making pastry. When they departed, they were filled with locally grown pepper.

In 1899 the area became the first place where rubber was planted in Siam. A man called Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi brought the saplings from Malaya and built up an export business.

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