Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Police are yet to determine whether a pipe bomb found near the MRT’s Thailand Cultural Centre station yesterday was linked to three recent bomb blasts in the capital.

“If they are related, we will treat them as one case,” national police Commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said yesterday.

The three recent blasts in Bangkok involved the use of pipe bombs. The first blew up in front of the Government Lottery Office on April 5 and the second in front of the National Theatre on May 15. They were minor explosions that did not cause much damage. The third pipe bomb, at the Phramongkutklao Hospital on May 22, left 25 people injured.

Chakthip said the area where the pipe bomb was found yesterday – in wasteland in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district – was now cordoned off for related officials to gather evidence.

On Tuesday afternoon, a motorcycle taxi driver who went to fish in the area, alerted authorities when he noticed a steel pipe with some attached wires.

Police and an explosive ordnance disposal team arrived in the area at about 2pm and after examining the pipe for more than an hour left without giving any details.

 

CIMB Thai aims to become a high-performance mid-tier bank with annualised profit before tax of Bt15 billion within five years. As part of that effort, it is using digital banking to support new business areas.

Kittiphun Anutarasoti, president and chief executive officer of CIMBT, said the bank planned to make rapid transformations in order to improve productivity and efficiency and provide good experiences to customers.

The bank has divided the transformation project into three phrases. Phase 1, which will be carried out this year and next, is the rapid-transformation stage. The bank will focus on strengthening its foundations in various areas such as asset-quality management, operational processes and control, revenue acceleration, and capital optimisation.

“We are looking to outsource the transformation to ensure it starts off on the right foot,” Kittiphun said. “We will be leveraging the expertise of world-class consultants in|Phase 1.

“They will help to validate the transformation opportunities identified for the organisation, with a strong focus on execution and value creation for our shareholders, customers and employees.”

He added that the bank’s strategy this year would be to continue investing in new growth engines for the future such as digital banking to expand customer base and business base and maintain its competitiveness. It will also focus on improving portfolio asset quality, process efficiency and employee capabilities to respond efficiently to clients’ requirements and promote sustainable growth in its commercial banking operations.

The bank moreover will continue to focus on serving corporates with Asean aspirations, generating sustainable income flows and cross-selling for wholesale banking.

In Phase 2, planned for 2019-20, the bank will focus on building new capabilities and growth engines. It aims to accelerate and intensify its growth in key areas such as small and medium-sized enterprises, private banking and digital banking, which it believes offer huge opportunities to grow.

The final phase, in 2021-22, will be the bank’s final sprint towards achieving its aspiration to become an Asean-focused mid-tier bank in Thailand and complete the transformation project.

“We expect that the Thai economy will continue growing in 2017, albeit at a slow pace,” Kittiphun said. “The main growth engines for Thailand this year will be tourism and public investment, given the low-interest-rate environment.

“Meanwhile, Thailand’s banking industry is still one of the most attractive in Southeast Asia, with revenue pools expected to reach about US$60 billion [Bt2 trillion] by 2020.

“Thailand will continue to be a key strategic market for CIMB Group over the long term.”

He said CIMBT was expected to return to profitability by the end of this year and was targeting a return on equity of more than 6 per cent, loan growth including lending and money-market products of 5-10 per cent, and net interest margin of about 3.8 per cent.

 

 

The chairman of a National Legislative Assembly (NLA) subcommittee on media reforms has conceded it will not be an easy task to roll out the controversial law regulating the media.

ACM Chalee Chanruang said the bill has still not undergone public hearings.

This process is needed to comply with Section 77 of the new charter.

There is a strong possibility the Protection of Media Rights and Freedom and the Promotion of Ethics and Professional Standards Bill will be amended before going to the NLA, he said.

The bill was endorsed by the National Reform Steering Assembly on Monday amid opposition by members of the media.

It needs to go before the cabinet for consideration and then the NLA.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam said that as the draft legislation is yet to undergo public hearings in line with the new constitution, the government will proceed by gauging opinions from all sides including those of the media.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, on World Press Freedom Day Wednesday, said the media should find a balance when working with the government. The press should support good things done by the government and criticise bad things, although there should be mutual respect, he said.

The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and 29 other media bodies released a joint statement to mark the day.

The TJA demanded the bill be suspended and regime orders limiting press freedom be revoked.

Speaking at the TJA seminar, Supinya Klangnarong, an ex-member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said the bill is an attempt to expand state power and limit that of the people.

National human rights commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit said the government should guarantee that the media will not face threats.

NLA member Somchai Sawaengkan said he disagreed with the bill.

Talking to the Bangkok Post, Swedish ambassador to Thailand Staffan Herrstrom said freedom of the press contributes enormously to democracy, transparency and innovation.

“You need that kind of wide space for different views just to encourage people to think outside the box,” he said.

Finnish ambassador Satu Suikkari-Kleven said Finnish journalists adhere strictly to ethical guidelines while people are active in monitoring the conduct of the media and discussing social issues openly.

In a separate development, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand received a letter from police at Lumpini station asking it to cancel its discussion on “Memories of 1932: The Mystery of Thailand’s Missing Plaque”, scheduled to be held at 7pm Wednesday at its office in Bangkok. The FCCT changed the topic to one on world press freedom instead.

RIDE-HAILING service Grab yesterday began a two-wheeled service in partnership with Bangkok’s army of motorbike taxi riders – known collectively as Win.

For the GrabBike (Win) service, passengers can use the Grab mobile app to book a ride and request pickup for any destination in Bangkok. The launch of services followed a trial.

GrabBike is Grab’s fastest growing service in Southeast Asia, providing locals and visitors with a faster and more reliable way of getting around in congested cities, the company says.

Grab says GrabBike (Win) is intended to complement the city’s public transport services, and fulfils passengers’ needs for quick, efficient and affordable connectivity between districts, especially during peak hours.

“Grab is excited to launch our GrabBike (Win) service, working with participating driver-partners to provide fast and convenient on-demand rides to people visiting, working and living in Bangkok,” said Wee Tang Yee, country head of Grab Thailand.

“We worked closely with the Department of Land Transport for our trial service and are now expanding GrabBike (Win) to cover all areas of Bangkok. Grab stands for greater transport freedom, safety and accessibility for the Thai people and we are committed to continuously improve the livelihoods of our driver-partners through the Grab platform.”

The company said the GrabBike (Win) trial service provided Win driver-partners the opportunity to learn and make better use of the Grab app and its features to complete more rides.

Grab’s ride-hailing technology is improving the efficiency of the current Win system by better balancing driver supply and passenger demand between Win spots within city districts. This helps reduce passenger waiting times and increase driver productivity resulting in higher daily incomes for Win driver-partners without increasing their work time.The GrabBike (Win) service is served by motorbike taxi drivers licensed the Department of Land Transport. GrabBike (Win) fares are priced the same as local Win bike rides and are displayed in the app before passengers make their bookings. Passengers can pay for rides with cash or use the firm’s GrabPay service. With GrabPay, the fare is charged to a passenger’s registered credit card on the app after the ride.

 

 

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