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- Opinion: The government is now using conscripts to demonize the protesters in online campaigns
There is no denying, military personnel are being asked to create, post, and share messages in supports of the institution. Now, not everyone that posts photos and videos in support of the monarchy are doing so because they were told to do so by their superior officer. I also post a photo of Rama IX […]
The post Opinion: The government is now using conscripts to demonize the protesters in online campaigns appeared first on Thai Enquirer.
There is no denying, military personnel are being asked to create, post, and share messages in supports of the institution.
Now, not everyone that posts photos and videos in support of the monarchy are doing so because they were told to do so by their superior officer.
I also post a photo of Rama IX to remember how he inspired me to pick up my first camera when I was in middle school, life was simple back then.
But, there is clear evidence that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) is currently working overtime on their information operation (IO) at night to counter the messages of the pro-democracy protestors in the day time.
How it is done is simple, lower-ranking soldiers are now being asked to create Facebook and Twitter accounts to post these messages under five hashtags every night. A recent Twitter report revealed accounts linked to the royal Thai army and working to spread such messages.
It is funny how ISOC thinks that none of these soldiers would show their relatives, friends, and reporters about what they have been asked to do.
Again, some of them might be happy to do so but not all. Some may even be sympathetic to the pro-democracy cause.
The information warfare was also used against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s political opposition. There is no reason why the military could be using the same operations to counter the current pro-democracy movement.
IO accounts are easy to spot, almost all of them do not use a real name and almost all of them just recently joined with no other content except messages to promote the monarchy and attack anyone that says otherwise, including reporters.
They also come out at night time when everyone is at sleep so that the IO operation can run smoothly without any interference and competition from pro-democracy messages and hashtags.
Most real royalists posted their messages during the day time like any other normal people will do, when they are awake and actually interested in what they are commenting and sharing.
The IO operation is also being done at night to make sure that the other side of the world sees that Thailand is full of people who love the monarchy institution.
Again, I do not deny that there are many royalists in this country, a lot more than the anti-monarchists, but they are also fed up with Prayut’s administration and his use of the institution to prolong his power.
The current pro-democracy movement is not an anti-monarchist movement. They are looking to reform the monarchy not to abolish it and many royalists do understand that point.
It is the extremist ones that continue to listen to nothing but the government’s propaganda that is being used to discredit the pro-democracy movement.
Was there content being used at these protests that can be deemed as insulting to the monarch? Yes. Do all of the people there agree with this content? Certainly not.
The common theme, time and time again, is for Prayut to get out so that the country can return to a fair election with a new democratic charter where the King continues to be the Head of State.
The IO operation is meant to ignore this point. They want to incite violence by using propaganda to make royalists angry at the students like what they did during the period between the uprising in 1973 and the Thammasat Massacre in 1976.
To all royalists, please do not be swayed from the truth that this government is only doing all of this to continue to stay in power. The pretense of fealty is fake and serves only themselves.
At the same time, I would also like to encourage all the new royalists who recently joined Twitter to engage in a conversation with these students so you could find out for yourselves what they are really asking for.
It is time for the people to stop fighting each other online or offline when the common enemy are the coup-makers and their disloyalty to the crown.
The post Opinion: The government is now using conscripts to demonize the protesters in online campaigns appeared first on Thai Enquirer.22 October 2020Current Affairshttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19872
- Opinion: It is not too late but not too early for government to show good faith
It was a long week, and all Thais felt it. Unprecedented scenes after the royal motorcade drove past protestors. The declaration of a ‘severe’ state of emergency. The dissolution at Pathumwan. Media censorship. Daily demonstrations happening nationwide. The situation was becoming untenable. The government could have tried to turn it into an endurance test, yes, […]
The post Opinion: It is not too late but not too early for government to show good faith appeared first on Thai Enquirer.
It was a long week, and all Thais felt it.
Unprecedented scenes after the royal motorcade drove past protestors. The declaration of a ‘severe’ state of emergency. The dissolution at Pathumwan. Media censorship. Daily demonstrations happening nationwide.
The situation was becoming untenable. The government could have tried to turn it into an endurance test, yes, but playing cat and mouse with agile demonstrators and closing down train stations day after day was not sustainable.
When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, what happens? Something had to give.
Late on October 21st, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that he will “make the first move to de-escalate the situation.” He promised that, if there was no violence, he would lift the state of emergency.
He also called on the protestors to channel their demands to parliament.
“The only sure way to achieve a sustainable, enduring resolution to the problems is to speak to each other, respect the due process of the law, and then let the will of the people be resolved in parliament,” he declared.
Promising words but for many, it sounds like too little, too late. The state of emergency had by this point become rather toothless. It failed, on an industrial scale, to deter protestors. The government’s attempt to use emergency measures to censor particularly outspoken media outlets had even faltered in the courts. To lift it is less a generous offer than an admission of defeat.
The situation would likely not have escalated to this point if, one month ago, the coalition government and the Senate had voted to begin the process of a constitutional amendment. The road forward would still be long and winding, with no guarantee of success, but at least the establishment could have shown that it was listening.
One did not need a crystal ball to predict when most government MPs and senators voted to delay this vote, that tensions would only continue to rise. As Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak put it succinctly, “suppression without accommodation will beget more dissent. Repression without reform will lead to more radicalization.”
That was hardly what the government wanted to achieve, and the longer it waits to act, the more monumental the task. A hefty portion of the blame for why we find ourselves here is due to the government’s myopia that fateful night in parliament.
But better late than never. We can welcome a good move when we see it. It is a positive sign that, for the first time, the prime minister has shown he is willing to de-escalate tensions.
What should have happened one month earlier must happen now. Parliament should move up the vote on the constitutional amendment, on which there is already somewhat of a broad political consensus, senatorial resistance notwithstanding.
It would be rather difficult to believe that the government cannot do anything to convince the Senate to budge. Even if individual senators are genuinely unpersuaded that these reforms will be beneficial, as many of them argued in September, the events of October should have shown how society has reached such a fever pitch that pursuing reform just for the sake of healing divisions is necessary and in the national interest.
Although the protestors have given Prayut an ultimatum of three days to resign, it is unclear what this would actually accomplish given that the constitution remains unchanged. Without a dissolution of parliament, a new premier must be chosen from the bank of candidates submitted during the 2019 election, and it is unlikely that a truly fresh face will be chosen.
As such, the spotlight should be kept on beginning the process of constitutional reform. This reform needs to include Section 256 (on the amendment itself) and Section 272 (on the Senate.)
That is the least that the government can, and should, do.
What to do with the issue of reform of the royal institution is a more thorny issue. At this point, none of the parties in the government coalition are willing to touch anything related to the monarchy. Yet this is also a core plank of the protest platform, and without any concessions here the situation is unlikely to resolve.
As Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth (and myself) have argued, this is a topic that refuses to go away and royalist political parties need to be willing to have difficult conversations. Indeed, for royalists, it is probably better for these discussions to happen in the calm confines of parliament rather than on the streets, where emotions take a stronger hold and there is free rein for far fiercer language.
Without moving this debate off the streets and into parliament, tension will still remain and scenes such as clashes between protestors and counter-protestors can re-occur, with unpredictable results.
Prayut made heavy reference to history in his speech, noting that “as we have seen, anyone who leads the government faces the protests of another opposing group. And ultimately, our country becomes ungovernable and chaos descends.”
Calling on his fellow citizens, he said: “We must break that cycle. And we must do it together.”
Anyone with a passing knowledge of Thai history would, at some point in the past week, have been filled with at least some sort of fear: that greater violence could break out, that the tragic scenes of the past could repeat. We all know that the protests of the past twenty years have been, to varying degrees, tumultuous affairs. Thailand has suffered enough.
Breaking this vicious cycle is a message that everyone can get behind. But the government must also be earnest, for pretty words alone will fix nothing.
It is time for the prime minister and his government to take the lead on resolving this crisis. It is time for him to play his part in pushing constitutional change and making parliament an effective vehicle for resolving our political divisions.
It is not too late. But it is also not a moment too early.
The post Opinion: It is not too late but not too early for government to show good faith appeared first on Thai Enquirer.22 October 2020Current Affairshttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19869
- FULL TEXT of Prayut Speech on October 21
The following is the full speech of Prayut Chan-ocha’s address to the nation on the evening of October 21. Published without comment. Fellow citizens, brothers, sisters. I am talking to you today at a moment in time that I hope people will look back at and say, this was the time when all Thais made […]
The following is the full speech of Prayut Chan-ocha’s address to the nation on the evening of October 21. Published without comment.
Fellow citizens, brothers, sisters.
I am talking to you today at a moment in time that I hope people will look back at and say, this was the time when all Thais made the right decision and sacrificed their personal desires for the greater good of their country.
My duty as a national leader is to look after the needs of everyone in this country, and to try and balance sometimes very different and very extreme views so that we can all live together in this one land that belongs to us all and which we all love.
My duty as a national leader is also to ensure peace, personal security, the prosperity of the nation, the protection from dark forces that may seek to damage our country, and fairness to all in society.
In my every action I always think of the huge silent majority throughout the country who struggle, every day, to make an honest living and to look after their family. I must lead the country based on the greater good of society, and the needs of silent people, too. I must lead the country based on principle, the law, and the will of parliament as the ultimate representative of the people.
While I can listen to and acknowledge the demands of protestors, I cannot run the country based on protestor or mob demands.
As we have seen, anyone who leads government faces the mobs of another opposing group. And ultimately, our country becomes ungovernable and chaos descends.
We must break that cycle. And we must do it together.
We must now step back from the edge of the slippery slope that can easily slide to chaos, where all sides lose control of the situation, where emotions take over our better judgement, violence begets more violence, and, as history has shown us all many times, we can end in a situation where the entire country suffers.
A very important part of what makes every Thai a Thai are our institutions – rooted in our culture and in centuries of tradition and values. When we damage our heritage, we also lose a very important part of what makes us all Thai and what makes us all very special in the world.
Last Friday night, we saw things that should never be in Thailand. We saw terrible crimes being committed against the police using metal rods and huge cutting implements in brutal attacks, with the aim of severely wounding fellow Thais. But when we look deeper, we can also see that, beyond a small group of ruthlessly violent people with bad intentions, that there are also many protestors, who, while they may be breaking the law, were still, peaceful, well-meaning people who are genuine in their desire for a better society and a better nation.
We will not get to such a society by wielding metal bars or the destructive disruption of people’s ability to earn a livelihood, or through offences against institutions that are held in the highest respect.
And, in the same way, we will also not get to a better society through the use of water-cannon.
We will get there through discussion, accommodation, and a willingness to listen to and understand others, and a willingness to compromise. The only way to a lasting solution for all sides that is fair for those on the streets as well as for the many millions who choose not to go on the streets, is to discuss and resolve these differences through the parliamentary process. It is a slow process, but it is one that best avoids injury to our nation. We must show the maturity and patience to take the middle path.
If the protestors seek a solution through tough street action, maybe they will win by side-stepping the parliamentary process. Or maybe they won’t. Both have happened in the past.
If the state seeks to make problems go away through only tough action, maybe it will. Or maybe it won’t. Both have happened in the past, too.
The only sure way to achieve a sustainable, enduring resolution to the problems is to speak to each other, respect the due process of law, and then let the will of the people be resolved in parliament. That is the only way.
The protestors have made their voices and views heard.
It is now time for them to let their views be reconciled with the views of other segments of Thai society through their representatives in parliament. Cabinet has already approved a request to recall parliament for a special session on the 26th and 27th of October, and which is now submitted for royal endorsement.
As the leader of the nation who is responsible for the welfare of all Thais – whether they be protestors or the silent majority with whatever political convictions – I will make the first move to de-escalate this situation.
I am currently preparing to lift the state of severe emergency in Bangkok and will do so promptly if there are no violent incidents.
I ask the protesters to reciprocate with sincerity, to turn down the volume on hateful and divisive talk, and to let us, together, disperse this terrible dark cloud before it moves over our country. Let us respect the law and parliamentary democracy, and let our views be presented through our representatives in parliament.
And while addressing some of these longer-term issues that have been raised, I would like to re-state that there is also work that has to be done to mitigate the terrible suffering caused to people by the global economic crisis created by the Covid virus, and it is work that is also one of our highest priorities at this time.
I am appealing to all sides that we must heal injuries now before they become too deep.21 October 2020Current Affairshttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19863
- Thai banks post improving third-quarter results
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) posted a net profit of 4.641 billion baht in the third quarter of 2020, a decline of 69 per cent compared to the same period last year, as a result of higher provisioning. For the first 9 months of this year, SCB recorded a net profit of 22.252 billion baht, down […]
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) posted a net profit of 4.641 billion baht in the third quarter of 2020, a decline of 69 per cent compared to the same period last year, as a result of higher provisioning.
For the first 9 months of this year, SCB recorded a net profit of 22.252 billion baht, down 36 per cent from the same period last year.
The NPL (Non-performing loan) ratio rose to 3.32 per cent at the end of September from 3.05 per cent at the end of June. The NPL coverage was maintained at a high level of 146 per cent and the bank’s capital adequacy ratio remains strong at 18.7 per cent.
Arthid Nanthawithaya, the Chief Executive Officer of SCB, said that although the economy has passed its lowest point, the direction of economic recovery still remains uncertain.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, the bank has assisted more than 1.1 million customers under the debt relief program worth 840,000 million baht,” Arthid said.
There are still some groups which were affected by the economic downturn and could not repay their debts normally in the third quarter, SCB said it would continue supporting the borrowers through the period of uncertainty.
SCB traded at 64.25 baht per share on Wednesday 13.50 p.m., an increase of 3.00 baht or +4.90 per cent, with a transaction of 1484.4 million baht.
Kasikornbank (KBANK) reported a third quarter profit of 6,679 million baht, an increase of 207 per cent from the previous quarter but a 49 percent decrease compared to the same period of last year.
The net interest income increased by 173 million baht, or 0.64 per cent due to a decrease in interest income from loans and interest expenses. KBANK’s Net Interest Margin (NIM) stood at 3.17 per cent.
While non-interest income decreased by 4,593 million baht, or 32.60 per cent, mainly due to market adjustment of investments in line with market conditions.
For the nine-month period, the net profit was 16,229 million baht, 45.77 per cent drop year-on-year, due to a 70.24 per cent increase in the provision of expected credit loss compared to the same period of 2019.
KBank is the country’s largest lender by assets and biggest firm in the SME loan business. Given the various factors of an uncertain economy, KBANK said that it will closely monitor the situation to provide assistance to affected borrowers together with measures from the Bank of Thailand.
KBANK traded at 74.75 baht per share on Wednesday 13.50 p.m. an increase of 1.50 baht or +2.05 per cent, with a transaction of 1484.4 million baht.
Bangkok Bank (BBL) reported a year-on-year drop of 57.43 per cent in net profit to 4.017 billion baht in the third-quarter of 2020.
The drop is mainly due to an increase in operating expenses incurred by the acquisition of Permata and excess operating expenses related to the Indonesia branch integration.
For the 9-month period, BBL’s net profit fell 46.85 per cent from 27.813 billion baht a year earlier to 14.782 billion baht.
Analysts from Krungsri Securities said that BBL had lower-than-expected profits from higher operating expenses especially the takeover in Indonesia but it set aside less provision than the previous quarter to help support profits.
BBL traded at 95.00 baht per share on Wednesday 13.50 p.m. an increase of 3.25 baht or +3.54 per cent, with a transaction of 567.78 million baht.
Stock Price Info
Stock Price Chart21 October 2020Mainhttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19859
- Student and lawyer groups petitions court to revoke the emergency decree
Student groups from Chulalongkorn and Thammasat University as well as several lawyers’ associations asked Thailand’s Civil Court on Wednesday to withdraw the emergency decree imposed by the government to control pro-democracy demonstrations. This is the second time that the Civil Court has been asked to rule on the emergency decree with the Pheu Thai Party […]
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Student groups from Chulalongkorn and Thammasat University as well as several lawyers’ associations asked Thailand’s Civil Court on Wednesday to withdraw the emergency decree imposed by the government to control pro-democracy demonstrations.
This is the second time that the Civil Court has been asked to rule on the emergency decree with the Pheu Thai Party making the same request on Tuesday.
The plaintiffs said that the emergency decree, which came into effect on October 15 and could continue to be in effect until November 13, are in violation of human rights.
One of the plaintiffs, Sugreeya Wannayuwat, a student protest leader, said the right to assembly is one of the basic human rights guaranteed by the constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Thailand is a party to.
However, according to the suit, the government has used the severe emergency decree as a political tool to bar the right to assembly.
Sugreeya said the emergency decree was unwarranted as the student protests were non-violent.
She also said that the government’s use of force to suppress protestors with water cannons last Friday was against international standard practices laid down by the United Nations’ Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement.
“These actions are the government’s efforts to use the emergency decree and the Declaration of a Serious Emergency Situation to violate human rights and the people’s freedom beyond its jurisdiction, without fairness and shamefully, and with complete disregard of the supreme law and international law,” she said.
The lawyer groups co-submitting the petition include Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, EnLawThai Foundation, Human Rights Lawyers Association, Muslim Attorney Center Foundation, Legal Rights and Environmental Protection Association, Cross-Cultural Foundation, Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), and the Union of Civil Liberty.
The post Student and lawyer groups petitions court to revoke the emergency decree appeared first on Thai Enquirer.21 October 2020Current Affairshttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19856
- Government going after Free Youth Facebook page and other platforms used to organize protests
Thailand’s student group Free Youth will have its Facebook page shutdown, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE) said on Wednesday. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s administration said on Monday that they are investigating and possibly shutting down several Thai online platforms inciting unrest or used by pro-democracy protestors including the Standard, the Reporters, […]
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Thailand’s student group Free Youth will have its Facebook page shutdown, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE) said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s administration said on Monday that they are investigating and possibly shutting down several Thai online platforms inciting unrest or used by pro-democracy protestors including the Standard, the Reporters, Prachathai, Voice TV, Free Youth, and the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration.
On Tuesday, the ministry said that the Criminal Court issued an order to shut down Voice TV’s online platforms for spreading content that could lead to national division.
Now, the government is after the ways that protesters are communicating to one another and organizing the demonstrations.
Asides from shutting down the Free Youth Facebook page, the government has also asked that telegram servers be blocked in the country to prevent protesters from organizing more rallies.
Puchapong Nodthaisong, DE’s deputy permanent-secretary, said that the ministry had asked issued at least 1,000 takedown but providers such as Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube have only partially complied.
The digital ministry has previously said that any Thai found posting selfies or content which promotes anti-government activity will face jail time and a fine.
The post Government going after Free Youth Facebook page and other platforms used to organize protests appeared first on Thai Enquirer.21 October 2020Current Affairshttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19853
- Thailand discovers nine new cases of coronavirus in state quarantine on Wednesday
Thailand’s government on Wednesday said that it had discovered nine new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The patients are from the United States (1), United Arab Emirates (2), Morocco (1), Portugal (1), South Sudan (3), and Oman (1) The new discoveries bring the total number of cases up to 3,709. There were […]
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Thailand’s government on Wednesday said that it had discovered nine new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
The patients are from the United States (1), United Arab Emirates (2), Morocco (1), Portugal (1), South Sudan (3), and Oman (1)
The new discoveries bring the total number of cases up to 3,709.
There were no new fatalities leaving the death toll at 59.
Four new patients have recovered from the virus with the total number of discharged patients now at 3,495.
Currently, 155 people remain in hospital.
The post Thailand discovers nine new cases of coronavirus in state quarantine on Wednesday appeared first on Thai Enquirer.21 October 2020Covid-19https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19850
- Opinion: The protesters are taking steps to avoid violence and provoking the state but will they listen?
Third hands and agent provocateurs exist in every conflict. They are one of the most difficult things to deal with for any peaceful demonstration and peacemaking process. However, what happened at Wongwian Yai and Bangna on Saturday and Sunday was not done by unknown characters, they were angry vocational school students and angry mobs. Both […]
Third hands and agent provocateurs exist in every conflict.
They are one of the most difficult things to deal with for any peaceful demonstration and peacemaking process.
However, what happened at Wongwian Yai and Bangna on Saturday and Sunday was not done by unknown characters, they were angry vocational school students and angry mobs. Both incidents happened after the pro-democracy protests there have already been called off by the student organizers.
At Wongwian Yai, a group of protestors attacked a government water truck that was passing through the roundabout.
The group later identified themselves as vocational school students from the Gear of Red Thonburi group and apologized for what happened the following day.
They were sorry because they understood that the incident could be used to undermine the largely peaceful protests by high school and university students.
The Gear of Red Thonburi group said they were angry that some vocational school students have been detained by the state and they mistook the water tank truck for a water cannon truck that was used to dispersed the protestors at Pathumwan Intersection on Friday.
Their actions were uncalled for and they should be sorry for what they have done and they should be punished by the law.
But, the incident should not be used by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his regime as an excuse to use any more force on the pro-democracy protestors.
The Bangna incident was slightly more complicated as no group has come out to say that they were the ones that destroyed a small police kiosk at an intersection.
Nevertheless, a video clip later emerged which shown one of the speakers at a protest site on Monday saying that the Bangna incident was also started by vocational school students.
This time, the vocational school students and the leftover mobs were angry that the local authority decided to turn off the street lights while protestors were going home.
They threw bottles and rocks at the police booth to vent their anger, according to local news.
One of the explanations given by a vocational school student who was there and I later spoke to was that they feared that a third party will use the cover of the darkness to attack the protestors in order to create a situation.
Besides people throwing rocks and a small scuffle, the video clip from the Bang Na incident shows many protestors trying to stop others from throwing things at the police booth.
The small scuffle was actually between the angry mob and one of the protesters who was trying to stop the violent scene.
Again, the incident should not be used by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his regime as an excuse to use any more force on the pro-democracy protestors.
If the police have evidence then these individuals that destroyed government property should be punished according to the law.
It should not be used as an excuse for the state to roll out fully-geared riot police and water cannon against peaceful protestors again.
The student protest organizers are also trying their best to avoid such an incident from happening again.
The efforts can be seen on Monday when the protest site at Kaset Intersection was called off an hour before the usual time of around 8:30 because they wanted to avoid further violence.
I asked one of the protest organizers, Nong Rainbow, for a reason as to why they called off the protest early. She told us that they wanted to maintain peace and avoid any incident that could be used to discredit the peaceful movement for democracy.
When asked if alcohol and drunken mob goers were part of the reason, she said yes, that was part of the reasons as well.
At the protest site at Kaset Intersection, it was the first time I saw that volunteer guards starting to search for people who were drinking alcohol and asked them not to do so.
Speakers also told the crowd that they should not be consuming alcohol during the demonstration as it could lead to lack of judgment from drunk protestors and the angry mob mentality.
However, it is likely that the prime minister will not see these actions.
Instead, he will use any small incident as an excuse to continue his persecution of dissent. He specifically pointed to the Bangna incident as one of the examples of why the government’s use of force on protestors is warranted.
What a joke.21 October 2020Current Affairs Mainhttps://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=19843