In Thailand English-language News for April 3, 2018, Newsline presenter Surapan Laotharanarit tells us about:
00:47 | Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn yesterday made merit to mark her 63rd birthday by releasing 590,000 fish into the Chao Phraya River
01:42 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha called for those criticising the delay in the general election and restricted political space in Thailand to stop, saying their actions cause chaos to arise.
02:44 | Deputy spokesperson for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), Colonel Sirichan Ngathong, said yesterday that NCPO secretary-general, General Chalermchai Sitthisart has instructed all units to give priority to the anti-corruption campaign in the public sector.
General Ngathong said the NCPO continues to welcome complaints about suspicious activities involving civil servants via the 1299 Hotline, and promised to speed up the investigation process to achieve substantial results in order to gain public trust.
04:11 | Deputy prime minister Dr Wissanu Krea-ngam yesterday confirmed that the Office of the Comptroller General (OCG) has lawful power to petition the Constitutional Court (CC) to interpret the NCPO’s order no. 53/2560, while all who are affected must abide by the court’s interpretation.
Meanwhile Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, president of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), said that 24 members of the NLA had asked to petition the CC to interpret the draft law on the election of the members of parliament and that he intended to submit the petition once the draft law is returned from the PM’s office.
05:34 | Thailand’s Minister of Labor, Police General Adul Saengsingkaew, yesterday confirmed that all migrant workers who had completed the migrant worker registration process will be able to return home for the Songkran holidays, even if they had not completed the verification process.
Police General Saengsingkaew called on all employers to provide them with the correct paperwork to facilitate their return home, and reminded those who had not completed the migrant worker verification process that they must return to Thailand by April 30. More than 200,000 migrant workers are expected to return home for the holidays.
07:25 | Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said yesterday that the ministry has so far contracted 311 coaches to provide supplementary services for travellers over the Songkran holiday to meet traveller demand.
Mr Termpittayapaisith said the ministry was aiming at adding 400 buses and will soon meet with operators of non-fixed route coaches to persuade them to lend more vehicles to the state for the holidays.
09:28 | Nong Khai provincial authorities have prepared the shoreline of the Mekong River for summertime tourism after water levels dropped to expose a white sandy beach over one kilometre (about 0.62 mile) long in the Pan Prao area in Sri Chiang Mai district.
12:28 | Minister of Commerce, Sonthirat Sonthijrawong, yesterday launched a ‘Buy with Confidence’ programme at the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT). The programme is aimed at adding an additional Bt10 billion (about US$320.184 mln) from overseas sales and to further Thailand’s goal of being the world’s gem and jewellery capital within the next five years.
Some 140 gem, jewellery, and gold shops have already signed up for the programme, with the GIT aiming for 500 participants this year. Gems and jewellery are Thailand’s third largest export item, last year accounting for some Bt400 billion ($12.807 bln) in trade. Domestic sales of more than Bt500 billion ($16 bln) sees the total industry accounting for about 6.3 per cent of GDP.
14:08 | Government Housing Bank (GHB) President, Chatchai Sirilai, said yesterday that up until March 31, 2018 the bank had approved Bt59.19 billion (about US$1.895 bln) in new home loans, a year-on-year YoY) increase of 76.4 per cent.
Current active loans total over Bt1 trillion ($32.018 bln), generating net profit of Bt3.1 billion ($99.257 mln). The bank introduced a “Bupesannivas” home loan scheme which offers an interest rate of 3.99 per cent for the first 10 years and is available to citizens aged 50 and older.
In addition, GHB is introducing a savings product for clients who complete its financial knowledge programme for low-income earners, with an interest rate of 1.65 per cent a year for deposits of no more than Bt300,000. The scheme is available until December 31 of this year.
15:53 | Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MTS) reported yesterday that Thailand welcomed over 35 million foreign tourists in 2017, generating over Bt1.76 trillion ($56,352 bln) in revenue.
With 55 provinces receiving only a fraction of international tourists, the MTS has introduced an ‘Amazing Thailand Go Local’ programme aimed at boosting tourism to towns and communities in Thailand’s ‘secondary cities’ by at least 10 million visitors and not less than Bt10 billion ($320.184 mln) this year.
For 2018 the MTS is expecting domestic and international tourism to generate more than Bt3 trillion ($96.055 bln), with two-thirds coming from foreign tourists.
19:37 | While delivering the keynote speech at the “Thailand Moving Forward: Asean Single Aviation Market Leader 2018” seminar yesterday, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that the aviation industry in Asean needs more liberalisation.
He said that once completed intra-regional airfares will be cheaper and regional airline operators will be able to compete more efficiently against their rivals from other regions. He added that more regional connections with secondary airports in each country was also needed.
Meanwhile, President of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (ART) Limited, Sarinee Angsusingha said Thailand is aiming to be one of the top ten countries for the number of air travel passengers within ten years. It is currently ranked the world’s 20th busiest destination for airline travellers.
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Newsline is a daily Thailand English-language news and current affairs programme produced by the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNBT) under the Thailand Government Public Relations Department (PRD) for *NBT World, the NNBTs 24/7 English language television service delivering Thailand government news and information to the Thai, Asean, and wider Asian communities. AEC News Today publishes Thailand English-language News M-F.