Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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NEW DELHI, Dec 21 – Thailand has set an ambitious investment target of Bt2 trillion to pave the way for the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area, a regional partnership which Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra described as a key element in fostering the country’s competitive edge.
Ms Yingluck, who attended the two-day ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, said a bill on the Bt2 trillion investment will be issued to ensure Thailand’s uninterrupted economic cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and India despite domestic political changes in the future.
Meeting with Thai businessmen after the Summit, the premier asked the private sector to set up an ad hoc committee to follow up on the FTA while the National Economic and Social Development Board will act as facilitator.
She said the combined population of ASEAN and India will contribute to a gigantic market for trade and investment, and closer cooperation.
She added that Thailand and India will need to discuss details of the FTA while the Thai private sector should regularly communicate with the government to be prepared for its implementation.
Ms Yingluck said Thailand’s shortage of skilled workers has become an urgent problem and the Education Ministry has been instructed to revamp the country’s educational system to realistically serve the labour market.
“2013 will be the year of private sector development. The government and private sector will need to talk more,” she said.
The prime minister left New Delhi for Bangladesh today. She is scheduled to return to Bangkok tomorrow. (MCOT online news)

PM frets over vote turnout

Posted by Nuttapon_S On December - 21 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Chalerm’s referendum opposition dismissed

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has voiced her concern that the voter turnout for a referendum on charter amendment risks failing to reach the required total.

However, she said that a conclusion must be reached on the charter rewrite regardless of the turnout.

She brushed aside comments by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who has voiced opposition to a referendum. Mr Chalerm is entitled to express his opinions, she said.

Ms Yingluck said the cabinet has only assigned a working panel to find out how best to proceed with charter amendment. The panel will look into the benefits of holding public hearings as well as staging a referendum

She said the government’s task is to encourage the public to participate in the charter amendment process to find a peaceful solution to political conflict, while the duty to amend the constitution rests with parliament.

The proposed referendum question is “Do you like the proposal to rewrite the constitution in its entirety or not?”.

Former charter writer Seri Suwanpanont said the question is confusing and the term “approve” should be used instead.

Sukhum Chaloeysap, director of the Suan Dusit Poll organised by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, said the question could lead or influence voters into supporting charter amendment, especially those who are poorly educated.

Mr Chalerm has opposed the government’s move to hold a referendum. He said the number of eligible voters is expected to rise to around 49 million next year, and roughly 25 million would have to take part in the referendum.

If the voter turnout fails to reach the required total, the referendum would automatically become invalid.

Even if a sufficient number of voters take part, the government would still need more than half of the votes to win in the referendum, he said.

Mr Chalerm said yesterday that voting in a referendum is different from voting in an election. In a referendum, those who do not show up do not have their voting rights disenfranchised, he said, adding that many people still think constitutional amendments have little relevance to their daily lives.

Charter amendments do not motivate people to come out and vote, he said.

However, Mr Chalerm voiced support for a plan to rewrite the charter section by section. He said he would table his proposal to amend nine areas of the constitution at the next meeting of the Pheu Thai Party.

His proposal will not push for the establishment of a charter drafting assembly and will not call for a referendum.

Under his proposal, sections on the monarchy and independent agencies would be left untouched, he said.

Mr Chalerm said he would avoid anything that would lead to further conflicts and that he has his own ideas on how to restore peace throughout the country.

Parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont said yesterday that the working panel set up by the prime minister to weigh the options between a referendum and public hearings will likely recommend both choices.

Mr Somsak said holding a public referendum is the best option available for now, even though he admitted that it is very difficult to achieve the number of votes required to win in the referendum. ” [But] there is no other choice as this is the best way out,” he said.

If voters disagree with the government’s charter rewrite plan, the government could resubmit a plan to amend the charter section by section, he said.

Mr Somsak said it could take six months from now for all the procedures and preparations for a public referendum to be completed before the referendum is held in June.

If the public agrees with the charter rewrite plan, the parliament will go ahead with a third reading vote on the charter amendment bill when parliament reconvenes in August next year, he said.

PM in Myanmar for Dawei meet

Posted by Nuttapon_S On December - 17 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Yingluck, investors to lobby Thein Sein

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is to meet Myanmar President Thein Sein Monday in Myanmar for a key discussion over the Dawei special economic zone.

The meeting is expected to boost investor’s confidence in the development project, said Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt.

Ms Yingluck will be joined by 40 Thai businessmen on the trip to confirm Thailand’s readiness to cooperate.

She will meet Thein Sein and inspect the progress of the joint development project and related investments for the the Dawei special economic zone.

It will be her first visit to Dawei after the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in developing the area in May 2008.

Mr Chadchat said a joint Thai-Myanmar coordinating committee on infrastructure finalised plans to divide the project’s infrastructure into three zones, at a meeting on Friday.

Phase zero involves setting up basic industries, which is expected to be completed in 2014.

Phase one involves building ports, roads, water systems and transport systems, expected to be ready in 2015.

Phase two involves investment in the remaining industries and is expected to be complete in 2020.

The coordinating committee is reviewing a project to build an electric train linking Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Thailand’s Rayong province and the Dawei industrial project, Mr Chadchat said.

The section of the rail link from Dawei to the Thai border alone requires an investment worth about 30 billion baht.

The committee wants the rail link to be shifted from phase two to phase one to cut costs, the minister said, adding that private companies will be encouraged to invest. The rail link is expected to cost about 150 billion baht, he said.

The Foreign Ministry has offered to help Myanmar implement plans to relocate people displaced by the Dawei deep-sea port, said Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

The ministry’s plan will involve teaching displaced people about integrated farming practices, and will provide welfare and vocational training for labourers, he said.

The plan also includes a renovation project at the Dawei Hospital.

The Myanmar government is pleased with the assistance and will start its implementation once the villagers’ relocation is completed, Mr Surapong said.

The Myanmar government wants the Dawei project to start taking shape by April next year, he added.

Witoon Permpongsacharoen, the secretary-general of the Foundation for Ecological Recovery, urged the public to monitor the government’s investment in the Dawei project and the talks in Myanmar today.

“I am still uncertain the project will be fully realised, he said. “How will the government take responsibility if it is not completed? A lot of taxpayers’ money will be spent on this project.

“How can the Thai government be sure that its investment in Myanmar will yield a handsome return and the Myanmar government will continue supporting the Thai investments until the project is completed?” he said.

The Myanmar government currently has two other deep-sea ports under construction nearby, he said.

Mr Witoon said he is also worried about the environmental impact from the construction of the project. He said local people have no say in the matter.

“The Dawei project is 10 times bigger than the Thai Eastern Seaboard project,” he said. “It is likely the local villagers there will be affected by environment problems from this development.”

There should be no rush to jump into the Dawei project, said Myint Wai, the deputy director of the Campaign for Democracy Committee in Myanmar.

He called for a comprehensive environmental impact study for the project and for measures to be taken to solve potential environmental problems.

Yingluck to visit Pattani Thursday

Posted by Nuttapon_S On December - 12 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will travel to Pattani province in the far South on Thursday for meetings with teachers and other groups.

Ms Yingluck announced the trip on Wednesday after attending a meeting of the committee for implementing policies and strategies for solving problems in the deep South.

She will be accompanied by Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana.

Ms Yingluck said the meeting stressed the need for all agencies to integrate their work to make sure they go in the same direction.

The meeting also discussed allocation of budgets to troubled areas to better meet the requirements of the local people.

The prime minister said the government was of the opinion the ongoing problems were mainly the result of insufficient manpower and equipment.

To solve this problem, it had approved an increase in the size of the police force in the restive region.  However, new police recruits were still undergoing training in the use of weapons to enable them to go both on the defensive and offensive.

She said the government had taken for consideration a proposal by teachers from the southern border provinces for the setting up of a task force to specifically to provide security for teachers.

Ms Yingluck said she would travel to Pattani tomorrow to meet teachers and other people and get first-hand information about their problems.

The Confederation of Tachers of Southern Border Provinces resolved on Wednesday that all schools in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat will close on Thursday and Friday for an assessment of the situation, after two more teachers were slain in a broad daylight attack by militants in Pattani’s Mayo district on Tuesday.

Boonsom Tongsriprai, the confederation chairman, on Wednesday called an urgent meeting of confederation committee members and administrators of 10 education zones in the three provinces to discuss the latest attack on teachers in Mayo district.

The effectiveness of the security forces and the security measures being taken was discussed at the meeting.

It was concluded that personnel in the field of education were still a weak target at high risk of attack. Therefore, special security measures were needed. These measures must be bases on three principles:

1. Teachers need a guarantee of their safety. Teachers, both Muslim and Buddhist, were now not sure of their safety and dare not go to school.

2. Education quality must not be compromised.

3. Teachers must adhere to the principle of co-existence.  Those who still survive must think how best to help and take care of each another.

The meeting passed the following resolutions:

1. All state schools in the three provinces will be closed for two days, on Dec 13-14, to allow security agencies to evaluate their effectiveness in providikng security for teachers and finding those responsible for attacks. Security agencies are required to propose a security plan for teachers to the confederation next Monday.

2. The schools will prepare a memorandum of understanding with security forces in their localities to identify shortcomings of all concerned.

3. Administrators of education zones are to consider moving teachers at high risk, be they Muslim or Buddhist, to stay together at a safe location.

4. During the two days of the school closure, a committee set up by the confederation is to hold talks with security forces on measures for teachers’ security in the future.

5. All education zones in the three provinces are to hold a meeting of teachers on Friday, starting at 9am, to explain to them the moves being taken.

6. If all demands to be raised with security forces are met, the schools will re-open on Monday.  If not, the confederation will consider what to be do next.