Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our team, from last week, August 24th to the 30th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. Royal Thai Navy to purchase two more submarines for 22.5 billion baht for political stability
The topic has become the most talked-about topic over the past week as it raised public outrage and criticism on how the Thai government allegedly carelessly spent their taxpayer budget during the time of a national economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This following press conference was held by the Royal Thai Navy two days after the start of public controversy in order to establish a mutual understanding, claiming that the purchase was a part of their own allocation and mainly conducted for the sake of political stability. But their reasons do not seem to be convincing as the Extraordinary Commission has already announced the purchase postponement today.
2. Thai cabinet officially approves Emergency Decree extension for another month
This might not sound very surprising as this has been at least the third time of the decree extension which has been in effect since last April. The Emergency Decree allows the government to continue to restrict arrivals, follow up suspected cases of Covid-19, and impose disease control measures on all business and public activities with strict penalties for those who violated. Although there has not been a confirmed locally spread case in Thailand for roughly 100 days, the government insists that the Decree is still mandatory for the country to properly handle the quarantine process in a national standard.
3. Court issues three new charges against fugitive Red Bull heir
Following the recently emerged evidence found during the re-investigation of the fatal hit-and-run case in 2012, the fugitive driver, Vorayuth “Boss’’ Yoovidhya, is facing three new charges of reckless driving causing death, failing to help a victim after a crash, and cocaine abuse. The case has still caught public attention and many wonder if Boss was going to be arrested or successfully fled before the new warrant will expire in September 2027. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O’cha also requests to make a public investigation tomorrow to report all findings to the Thai public.
4. Tourism debate escalates behind closed doors in Thailand as tourism officials and leading doctors debate for and against allowing in tourists
While the government was proposing countless tourism agendas over the past few weeks to stimulate the domestic economy, many prominent doctors were strongly opposed to all proposals, stating that the country should stay closed for at least six months until the situation is more relaxed around the world. The daily debate had been going on and off and both sides have not yet found the halfway. Here is an overall article stating their comments and opinions towards the country’s re-opening issue.
5. Pilot launch of new “Phuket Model” to welcome long-stay tourists possibly next month
“Phuket Model” is the tourism proposal that we have covered frequently since there has been a slight change and ongoing announcement of plans last week. Despite the fact that the model has not been officially announced for a full run, this new “Phuket Model” seems to be the most promising proposal so far as the Thai cabinet committee had already approved for a trial in the middle of next month. However, the plan still causes some fear towards locals and doctors that it would lead to another massive devastating lockdown and a potential second outbreak.
That’s all for this week, thank you as always for reading. This will become a regular every Monday feature, as we cover local top stories every Sunday.