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PM assures Japan of poll

Posted by pakin On February - 10 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Abe hopes for swift return to democracy

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Monday sent a clear message to the Japanese government, its business leaders and the media that elections would be held in Thailand at the end of this year or early next.

This was a consistent theme laid out by Gen Prayut during his string of meetings, which ended with bilateral talks with his counterpart Shinzo Abe.

At the end of their 45-minute talks, the two leaders issued a joint statement covering politics and security, people-to-people exchanges and co-operation on regional and international issues. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Abe said he hoped reconciliation would occur and democracy would return to Thailand swiftly.

At the same press conference, Gen Prayut thanked Japan for its concern and reiterated the same message he had given earlier to the Japanese business federation Keidanren – that elections would be held at the end of this year or early 2016.

“I promise that Thailand will return as a strong nation,” he said.

During their talks, Mr Abe praised Gen Prayut for his leadership, a government official attending the meeting told theBangkok Post.

Earlier in the day, Japanese business leaders raised the issue of “a return to civilian leadership”.

Gen Prayut assured Mr Abe he had no intention of retaining power, even after elections.

He went into considerable detail about the process, as he had with Japanese business leaders earlier.

Once the charter is completed in September, it will take several months for organic laws to be passed and polls would be held at the end of the year or early in 2016.

All is going according to the roadmap, although martial law is still necessary to maintain order, Mr Abe was told.

Both leaders witnessed the exchange of a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) on future cooperation in developing Thailand’s railways.

The MOI was inked earlier in the day between Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong and Akihiro Ohta, Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Although Japan has not officially agreed to fund development of the railway, it has agreed to research and study development of two rail links – Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Mae Sot-Mukdahan.

The development will either focus on the improvement of existing metre-gauge lines or the development of new standard-gauge ones.

Both Thai and Japanese ministries will continue to explore possible technical cooperation, including technical transfers on the railway sector.

In order to improve rail connectivity with neighbouring countries in the Southern Economic Corridor from the East to West, both ministries would also cooperate on research and study on railway development of three routes – Kanchanaburi-Bangkok, Bangkok-Chachoengsao-Aranyaprathet and Bangkok-Chachoengsao-Laem Chabang.

The MOI also states that a “study on the feasibility of cooperation” on rail freight services in Thailand would be conducted.

Both ministries welcomed the “ongoing cooperation” on the development of the mass transit railway system in Bangkok – the Purple and Red lines.

A joint steering committee at the ministerial level will be set up to oversee the implementation of the MOI.

The existing Railway Working Group will support the new steering committee.

At the end of last month, Thailand and China agreed on the construction of the dual-track system on the Nong Khai-Map Ta Phut-Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi route, totalling 873 kilometres.

It is not clear how long the Japanese would take to conduct their study, but an informed source said that it is possible the government would allow the Japanese first pick of one of the routes before opening the others to bidding.

In their joint statement, Gen Prayut outlined Thailand’s initiative to establish the first of six Special Economic Zones along the borders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia as part of a national strategy to stimulate economic growth, attract foreign investment, foster development of border areas and support Asean integration.

Mr Abe took note of the initiative.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of promoting the Dawei Special Economic Zone in Myanmar through trilateral consultations between Japan, Thailand and Myanmar. Japan will start procedures to meet the necessary conditions for equity investment in Special Purpose Vehicles, while Thailand said it looked forward to Japan’s input on the project’s master plan.

Both leaders expressed “resolute condemnation over the outrageous and impermissible murders of the two Japanese nationals by the Islamic State group”.

They agreed that the international community should remain united and not give in to terrorism.

Gen Prayut, in his talks with Mr Abe, praised Japan for its “proactive contributions” to peace in the region, while in the joint statement, expressed appreciation for Japan’s role in working towards peace and stability in the Middle East.

Mr Abe said he appreciated Thailand’s strong support for the permanent membership of Japan in the reformed United Nations Security Council.

Gen Prayut is scheduled to leave Tokyo Tuesday on the high-speed Shinkansen (bullet train) for Osaka, where he intends to meet with regional business leaders before returning to Bangkok.

He plans to visit Japan again in March to attend the Third United Nations Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and again in July for the 7th Mekong-Japan Summit.

PM to open floating market near Government House

Posted by pakin On January - 20 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha is planning to open a floating market at Khlong Prem Prachakorn near Government House.

Prayut floated the idea after presiding over the opening ceremony of the orchid market next to Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem.

Prayut came up with the idea of a floating market while walking back to Government House from the orchid market with his secretary-general Wilas Arunsri.

Wilas also reported that the authorities were in discussions with the Fine Arts Department to conduct landscape improvements around Government House by extending the fence line along the first gate towards Khlong Prem Prachakorn.

The premier ordered that the plan to be thoroughly studied with regard to adverse effects and budget.

“When I try to build something, people might say that I want to stay in my position longer,” Prayuth said.

Prayut said the orchid market, which will be open every Monday to Wednesday from 9am to 6pm for three months, would provide opportunities for farmers who are facing problems with limited outlets in which to sell their orchids and low pricing.

“Thailand is the world second largest orchid exporter after the Netherlands and its export volume is worth Bt3 billion per year,” he said.

The orchid trade should be promoted to boost the country’s income, he said. This can be achieved by stimulating the domestic consummation of orchids, finding more markets for orchid exports and promoting orchid processing for added value, he said.

This also goes along with the |government’s five-year vision for |”the sustainable security of the country and sustainable prosperity for the people.”

The prime minister also urged those involved in the orchid trade, especially the middlemen, to ensure consumers get quality goods at appropriate pricing.

Former PM seeks justice as she appears before NLA

Posted by pakin On January - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday said she has already been “impeached” three times.

The ousted former premier made the comment as she faced the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) during her impeachment proceedings in the case hearing filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. She is accused of dereliction of duty in the rice-pledging scheme that led to corruption and billions of baht in losses.

“I come here today to seek justice,” she said.

She added that she no longer holds any positions of which she can be stripped.

“The impeachment [against me] will not only affect me but also dim farmers’ hopes,” she told the NLA during the impeachment proceedings that could see her banned from politics for five years.

Five law students of Khon Kaen University on Wednesday greeted visiting Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha with anti-coup gesture before being escorted out of the hall.

Prayut, who was visiting Khon Kaen province to observe the drought situation, was speaking on the stage, when the three students showed no-coup gesture and tore off their shirts revealing black tshirts emblazoned with “No Coup”.

Prayut seemed unperturbed, saying, “it’s okay, they did not understand,” and suggesting they file their complaints with Damrongtham Centre, which has been set up to receive complaints from the public.

Before continuing his speech, Prayut asked the audience, “is there anybody else wanting to protest?”

The five were taken to an army camp for registration of their protest.

They are members of Dao Din group, an non-governmental organisation in the northeastern region.

Prayut will travel to Kalasin province this afternoon to review the drought situation there.