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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.

SIAM CEMENT GROUP (SCG) is studying expanding in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) through three core businesses – petrochemicals, packaging, and building materials – with the focus on innovative products.

“We are looking at the incentives and the infrastructure around the project before making a decision on investing in EEC. This may be ready when the government announces its investment to develop infrastructure in this area,” said Roongrote Rangsiyopash, president and chief executive officer of SCG.

The group is also branching out into Asean countries, with its eye on the petrochemical industries in Vietnam and Indonesia.

The group had budgeted Bt15.3 billion for Asean in the first quarter of this year, with almost all going to its cement business in Vietnam – Vietnam Construction Materials JSC.

About Bt300 million was earmarked for its packaging business, Indocorr, in Indonesia.

Its total 2017 capital-expenditure budget is up to Bt70 billion.

As the next step in Asean, the group will finalise its further investment in Vietnam’s first integrated petrochemical complex by midyear.

It currently holds 71 per cent of the Long Son Petrochemicals project.

Construction will commence at the end of this year and the project will be completed for commercial operations in 2022.

In Indonesia, the group is studying a second petrochemical plant with its partner, Chandra Asri Petrochemical. The group holds 30.57 per cent via SCG Chemicals Co in the first |plant.

The deal for the second plant may be finalised at the end of this year or next year.

“We believe that our investment in Asean will be a part of our drive for sustainable business growth for the long term,” Roongrote said.

Of the group’s Bt562.17 billion assets, Bt137.14 billion are in Asean.

SCG is standing by its growth forecast of 5-10 per cent this year after logging first-quarter increases of 6 per cent in sales to Bt116.26 billion and 29 per cent in net profit Bt17.38 billion from the same quarter of last year.

Both the petrochemical and the packaging businesses were in a healthy upcycle in the quarter.

Petrochemical sales rose 14 per cent to Bt54.27 billion, while net profit soared 49 per cent to Bt13.36 billion.

Packaging sales climbed 5 per cent to Bt19.84 billion and net profit gained 8 per cent to 1.69 billion.

However, its cement and building-materials businesses showed signs of slowing when the overall market contracted by about 7 per cent after the private sector delayed investment and the government delayed infrastructure projects.

The group’s cement and building-materials sales declined by 2 per cent to Bt44.82 billion and net profit shrank 25 per cent to Bt2.46 billion.

Up to 23 per cent (Bt25.91 billion) of its sales in the first quarter came from its operations in Asean and its exports to Asean.


Crown Prince becomes King

Posted by pakin On December - 2 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Kingdom has a new King after His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on Thursday accepted an invitation to ascend the throne from the National Legislative Assembly president.

His Royal Highness said: “I accept [the invitation to be king] and to fulfil the royal intentions [of the late King] for the benefit and happiness of all Thais.”

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced the completion of the formalities on the TV pool.

“Thailand now has a new King,” he said.

The new King was formally named His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, according to the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary.

The title came after the Crown Prince accepted the invitation of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai and acceded to the throne as the 10th King of the Chakri dynasty Thursday night.

His Majesty’s acceptance of the invitation was made in accordance with the Palace Rule on Royal Succession 1924 and under the present interim constitution, according to the office’s letter sent to the Public Relations Department director-general Thursday.

Pending the coronation, His Majesty is to be named in Thai as Somdet Phra Chao Yoohua Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.

When King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on Oct 13, the royal succession process began.

Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, who serves as the regent, led the heads of the country’s three branches of government for an audience with HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on Thursday afternoon to invite him to ascend the throne as the new King.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Mr Pornpetch, and Veerapol Tungsuwan, president of the Supreme Court, accompanied Gen Prem.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Gen Prem has ended his role as regent now the Crown Prince has accepted the invitation to reign.

Regarding portraits and pictures of His Majesty the late King decorating Ratchadamnoen Avenue and government buildings, Mr Wissanu said nothing would change now the new King has been proclaimed.

He also said the public can still wear black as a gesture of mourning for the late King.

However, the government will discuss and issue announcements on how to proceed after the new King ascends the throne, he said.

As Crown Prince before acceding, the new King presided over a royal merit-making ceremony Thursday to mark the 50th day since the passing of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace.

He was accompanied by other members of the royal family.

Other merit-making ceremonies were also held nationwide to mark the 50th day since the passing of the late King.

Prime Minister Prayut and his wife led members of the cabinet and government officials Thursday morning in merit-making in front of Government House to mark the 50th-day event.

The ceremony began with Somdet Phra Maha Munivong, the abbot of Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram, leading 89 monks in chanting prayers.

Gen Prayut then led cabinet members and government officials to give alms to the monks. A similar ceremony was held in front of the office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, where governor Aswin Kwanmuang led city officials and members of the city and district councils in alms-giving.

A merit-making and alms-giving ceremony was also held at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road, attended by Mr Veerapol, along with more than 1,500 judges and court personnel.

They also sang the Royal Anthem in honour of the late King.

At the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road, Attorney-General Pongniwat Yuthapanboriparn led executives and personnel of the Office of the Attorney-General to perform a merit-making rite and gave alms to monks.

Meanwhile, a clean-up is getting under way at Sanam Luang, and areas around the Grand Palace after more than a month during which crowds of people have come to pay their respects to the late King in the Grand Palace. City Hall began the clean-up at 9pm on Wednesday and it is scheduled to end today.

In Chai Nat province, provincial governor Nimit Wanchaithanawong led local officials, and residents to pay their respects before the portrait of His Majesty the late King and offering alms to 89 monks to mark the event.

The late King visited this central province three times in the past.

A total of 89 men were to be ordained as monks Thursday as a tribute to the King Bhumibol.

Nipawan Kaewrakmook, secretary-general of the Thai Journalists Association, said the association, and other media professional organisations will join the Thai Red Cross Society to hold a blood donation event on Jan 25 to mark the 100th day since the passing of the late King.

Obama leads tributes from world leaders

Posted by pakin On October - 14 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Bhutan announces day of mourning

Leaders of countries around the world expressed their condolences to the people of Thailand yesterday on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In a message addressed to the Royal Family, the government and people of Thailand, United States President Barack Obama said: “As the revered leader and only monarch that most Thais have ever known, His Majesty was a tireless champion of his country’s development and demonstrated unflagging devotion to improving the standard of living of the Thai people.

“With a creative spirit and a drive for innovation, he pioneered new technologies that have rightfully received worldwide acclaim,” the White House press release read. “His Majesty leaves a legacy of care for the Thai people that will be cherished by future generations.”

Obama met His Majesty in 2012.
At the United Nations headquarters in New York, representatives of member countries held a minute’s silence before their meeting as a mark of respect on the passing of the monarch.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he hoped Thailand would honour the King’s legacy of commitment to universal values and respect for human rights, his spokesman said in a statement yesterday.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak paid tribute on his Facebook page, saying “King Bhumibol was a towering presence whose contribution to Thailand, and the rest of the region, is beyond words. We join the Thai people in mourning his loss.”

The Myanmar President Office also extended condolences on Facebook.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, tweeted: “[The] people of India and I join the people of Thailand in grieving the loss of one of the tallest leaders of our times, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.”

Jesus Miguel Sanz, ambassador and head of the European Union delegation to Thailand, posted on Facebook: “During my time here I have felt the true love of the Thai people for King Bhumibol, whose contributions touched the lives of many and will be remembered for many generations to come.”

Britain’s Ambassador to Thailand Brian Davidson said on Facebook: “Deeply saddened to hear of death of His Majesty. He will be sorely missed within and outside Thailand. I offer our heartfelt condolences.”

Bhutan has gone one step further by announcing today as a day of mourning. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and the Royal Grandmother are scheduled to lead prayers today to mark His Majesty’s passing. Bhutan’s national flag will be flown at half-mast, while offices and schools will be closed so people can visit temples and offer prayers for the beloved monarch. Special prayers will be chanted and butter lamps lit at several sacred spots in Bhutan for the next seven days.

“His Majesty the King [Jigme] received the news of the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand with immense sorrow,” said a statement posted on the Bhutanese royal’s Facebook page.

“His Majesty the late King Bhumibol has been an exceptional leader, a comforting presence in the lives of every Thai citizen. His Majesty’s enduring service for the welfare and well-being of his people will be remembered with honour and respect,” the statement said.

“The Royal Families of Bhutan and Thailand have shared exceptionally warm relations over the years, which have be mirrored by strong bonds of friendship between the two countries,” it read.