Agenda Bangkok – 10 Future Policies

SIU’s latest publication, Agenda Bangkok: 10 Bangkok Future Policies. This is the outcome of our 2012 year long projects “Agenda Bangkok”.

SIU’s latest publication, Agenda Bangkok: 10 Bangkok Future Policies. This is the outcome of our 2012 year long projects “Agenda Bangkok”.

The goal of the project is to encourage a better way for public policy of Bangkok Metropolitan Area. We intentionally prepare this work in schedule with the 2013 Bangkok Governor election and propose our works to many (if not all) candidates as possible.

Agenda Bangkok
Agenda Bangkok

Methodology

We collected and gathered feedback from experienced Bangkok policy stakeholders and three workshops during the year. All the information were processed using foresight technique and summarized into “10 future issues” that Bangkokians should care.

Five experts who used to/still work on Bangkok policy issues:

  • Prateep Ungsongtham Hata (page 3), an NGO who won Magsaysay Award on development policy.
  • Apirak Kosayodhin (page 4), ex-Bangkok governor, now a MP from Democrat Party.
  • Narongsak Poomsrisa-ard (page 5), an executive from CP-ALL Company, the owner of 7-11 convenient store chain.
  • Kochawan Kemaprasit (page 6), an adviser of Private Bangkok Bus Service Association.
  • Prapas Jongsanguan (page 7), the first governor of MRT, he was a Bangkok governor candidate as well.

All the idea from workshops are scored and broken into five sections.

  • Social
  • Technology
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Politics

Outcome

We got 10 future trends of Bangkok City, which you can read them from page 8:

  • Sex In The City
  • Next Generation Labor
  • Bangkok Identity
  • Art For All
  • Emerging Crime
  • Inclusive Space
  • Low Carbon Society
  • AEC Megacities
  • Emerging Rights
  • 360 Degree Leadership

It can be categorized into 4 groups (page 9)

  • ASEANization = urbanization of Bangkok + labour migration + AEC community + ageing society
  • The Big Mango = (similarly to NYC’s Big Apple) Bangkok is Big Mango, center of everything: culture, life, jobs, race, crime from around the world
  • Emerald City = Climate Change will force Bangkok to be Low Carbon Society, utilizing the “space” (physical/mental/cyber) to serve its residents, led by 360 degree leaderships
  • Our Road = the challenge of Bangkok to become “City of Art” depends on new liberal generation but they are in conflict with the conservative power that has ruled Bangkok for ages.

More info is available (in Thai) at Siam Intelligence site.

The Work

Response from Candidates

We also request for interview to all Bangkok governor candidates. So far we got chance to interview and talk with them about 10 future trends in Agenda Bangkok project. All interviews are in Thai.

Media Attentions

The project has got a lot of attention from Thailand’s media, including newspapers, magazines and TV programs:

Voice TV

Thai PBS, 10 February 2013

Nidhi Eoseewong Interview

Redefine Thailand project publishes a second in series interview of Prof. Dr. Nidhi Eoseewong, a famous social science scholar in Thailand.

Nidhi Eoseewong

SIU’s Redefine Thailand project publishes a second in series interview of Prof. Dr. Nidhi Eoseewong, a famous social science scholar in Thailand. In this interview, Nidhi talks about the dynamics of Thai identity and its relation with Thai politics. He also talks about the influence of Buddhism in Thai society and Thai social hierarchy.

Thailand’s budget 2013: Where will the money go?

Our Thailand’s Budget Graph of FY2013 article was translated into English by Saksith Saiyasombut, Asian Correspondent.

Our Thailand’s Budget Graph of FY2013 article was translated into English by Saksith Saiyasombut, Asian Correspondent.

Thailand’s budget 2013: Where will the money go?

Original English article from AsianCorrespondent.com

A hot political issue was the deliberation of the proposed Budget Bill for the year 2013 in the second and third session in Parliament on August 15-17, before the bill was sent to the Senate for deliberation and the 2013 Budget Bill is effective beginning October 1, 2012. The 2013 Budget Bill was passed on August 18 in parliament, voted 279 to 8 with 127 abstentions. In all the 3 House sessions on the bill, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was present for only 10 minutes.

Parliament has to consider the budget requests of the ministries, departments and other government organizations for the annual Budget Bills – without the big interest of the general public in this issue, even though it is their tax money that is being used for the Budget. The reasons might be because the draft for the budget has many contradictions, uses hard-to-understand language and has a lot of technical accounting. Even though the data is freely available and can be found on the website of the Bureau of the Budget, but there probably won’t be many Thais interested in that matter.

As an introduction for the deliberation of the proposed 2013 Budget Bill, to which the opposition made clear that will completely destroy the government, Siam Intelligence Unit has complied [the data] into a graphic chart in order to show the readers especially for what their taxes are being used and for how much:

Data taken from: The 2013 Thai Budget Draft in Brief, Bureau of the Budget. (Graphic by Siam Intelligence Unit for Siam Voices)

The total budget for 2013 is 2,4 trillion Baht (2,400,000,000,000) [$77 billion] and has been earmarked for the following:

1. General Administration: 499,394,000,000.2 Baht (20.8 per cent of total budget) for lawmakers (MP and senators), financial management, mid-level personnel, preparation of statistics, foreign affairs, economic aid to foreign countries, research and development of general administration of the state and repayments of local loan funds.

2. Defense: 178,441,000,000 Baht (7.5 per cent) for the defense of the country, the preservation of the territory by civil guards, volunteer groups and civil staff.

3. Interior and National Security: 144,820,000,000.6 Baht (6 per cent) for judiciary, attorney, police force, fire departments, correction facilities, research and development to maintain domestic security.

4. Economy: 471,491,000,000.8 Baht (19.6 per cent) for land management, land management for farmers, stabilizing production costs, support for agriculture sector, livestock, pest control, forestry, fishing, exploration, development and supply of  fuel resources, electricity from various energy sources, industry promotion, industrial development, civil aviation control, the commercial promotion of hotels and restaurants, tourism promotion, labor, multifunctional projects, management and construction of transport infrastructure by land, air and sea, communications (which does not include television and radio broadcasts. This is covered in “Religion, Culture and Recreation”) and research and development.

5. Environment: 2,171,000,000.3 Baht (0.1 per cent) for sewage treatment system, wastewater treatment system, management and construction of drainage system, air and climate protection, protection of ground and surface water, reduction of noise pollution, radiation protection, construction of noise reducing walls and fences, measures to reduce water pollution, maintenance of ecosystems and landscapes and research and development.

6. Housing and Community: 33,021,000,000.4 Baht (5.6 per cent) for operating and providing housing and housing standards, community development, drinking water supply and research and development.

7. Public Health: 254,947,000,000.3 Baht (10.6 per cent) for planning, managing hospitals and clinics, health education and services and research and development of public health.

8. Religion, Culture and Recreation: 20,055,000,000.1 Baht (0.8 per cent) for sport promotion – excluding education policies – expenses for culture and religion, operating costs for radio and television broadcasts, management of publications, construction of public parks and recreational facilities, libraries, museums, botanical garden and the research and development of religion, culture and other activities.

9. Education: 493,892,000,000 Baht (20.6 per cent) for operating and administration costs, pre-school to higher education, adult education, scholarships and research to improve education. Budget includes subsidies for local administration in education.

10. Social: 201,765,000,000.3 Baht (8.4 per cent) for management of occupational disability insurance, public benefits, pension for state employees, operating costs of social housing and other aids, such as disaster relief and research and development.

Translation by Saksith Saiyasombut

Government Budget Visualization FY2013

SIU visualization of Thailand Government Budget FY2013 (starting 1 October 2012)

How does Thai government spend its budget? We visualize data from the Budget Bureau into a chart. Let see how the proposed Government Budget FY2013 (BE2556, starting 1 October 2012) is divided into category.

The proposed FY2013 budget is 2.4 trillion Baht.

  • 20.8% will go for general administration
  • 20.6% for educational budget
  • 19.6% for economics development, including infrastructures and agriculture
  • 10.6% for healthcare
  • 8.4% for social works
  • 7.5% for defense
  • 6% for internal peace keeping, including police, justice and attorney
  • 5.6% for housing and community works
  • 0.9% for culture, religion, recreation and environmental

See the full story (in Thai) at Siam Intelligence web site.

Thailand Intelligence Report – 14 August 2012

The second issue of Thailand Intelligence Report. This week in Thai politics will be around the Parliament.

Welcome to the second issue of Thailand Intelligence Report. This week in Thai politics will be around the Parliament.

President of the Senate

The first issue is the election of new President of the Senate today (14 August). There are three candidates: Nikom Wairatpanich (Current VP), Gesha Saksomboon and Pichate Soontornpipit. Nikom and Gesha are from the elected senator faction while Pichate is from the appointed faction.

This election is the power play between Elected and Appointed party. The media report that Pheu Thai will support Nikom but the votes just come from senators anyway. We expect very few impact for general political landscape for anyone who become the new President.

Government Budget FY2013

The house of representative will discuss about Government Budget FY2013 during 15-17 August 2012. The draft will pass the lower house anyway since Pheu Thai has control the votes. Though Democrat Party has already expressed the will to expose government budget corruptions thoroughly. It can be considered as a pre-event of a proper debate of no-confident in November.

Abhisit Resignation Rumor

There is a rumor (from Pheu Thai) that Democrat majority are against Abhisit and we will see his resignation from party leader soon. We think this news is very unlikely. Our sources confirm that many Democrats are not welcome Abhisit (his personality is not likable by his party members, according to the sources) but they still can’t find anyone who is better than Abhisit as well.

Democrat Party has still struggled for the leader succession line. Abhisit has lost his reputation during his reign but both Korn and Apirak are still not good enough as well.

There is also a rumor that Yingluck has conflicts with Thaksin. This news is unlikely as well and has no impact for short term politics. They should have some disagreements on policies and personnel but they will stick together for the moment. This might lead to the “Yingluck Faction” in Pheu Thai party but the one who control is still be Thaksin anyway.

Thaksin in USA

Thaksin went to LA for a talk and meeting with Red Shirts in the US. However, the US Yellow Shirts gathered a rally in the same venue (2,000 people according to report). Thaksin skipped the event to avoid conflict and no clash between reds and yellows.

Agenda Bangkok – What Are Really Important Issues for Bangkok

Agenda Bangkok is SIU’s latest project in the time preparing for the next Bangkok Governor election in January 2013.

Agenda Bangkok is SIU’s latest project in the time preparing for the next Bangkok Governor election in January 2013.

Photo from 3rd Agenda Bangkok workshop at Chulalongkorn University

Since we are all tired of repetitive proposals from all candidates including the new BTS/MRT lines, flood prevention and promise of new parks (which almost never happened), we need a better approach for solid and practical proposals from future candidates.

Agenda Bangkok project gathers many stakeholders of Bangkok everyday life. From students and youths to former Bangkok governors, we ask them to give their thought what are really important issues for Bangkok administration.

The project is comprised of few parts:

  • Deep interviews of “Bangkok experts” who really worked for the job.
  • Three workshops from scholars and Bangkokians
  • Online activity including Facebook

So far SIU has interviewed two experts: former governor Apirak Kosayodhin and former MRT governor (also ex-candidate for Bangkok governor) Prapat Chongsanguan. Their interviews (in Thai) are published on our Siam Intelligence web site.

All three workshops are done and we will publish 10 essential issues for future Bangkok soon. The preview of issues is available from Siam Intelligence web site.

Thailand Intelligence Report – 1 August 2012

From August 2012, SIU will provide a free summary report of Thailand latest situation on politics and economics.

From August 2012, SIU will provide a free summary report of Thailand latest situation. The Thailand Intelligence Report (TIR) will be released ‘at least’ every month for normal circumstance and might be released in more frequent cycle in special occasion.

The report will be short and straightforward. The initial topics of coverage are politics and economics.

Those who are interested in TIR report can subscribe via the form below. We will send you a copy of TIR future issues in advance of web site publication.

Politics

Pheu Thai Retreat

Official signals from Pheu Thai Party on constitutional amendment are obvious. Yingluck spoke about this explicitly at PTP annual conference in Pattaya at the last weekend of July. She said while the grand standpoint is ‘no-retreat’, the party must ‘retreat to avoid conflict’. (Full transcription in Thai at PTP site) Thaksin also called in and told his party to ‘keep-it-cool’ on constitution amendment. He said the most important issue is the administration must last as long as possible and “don’t worry about my comeback plan”.

We expect PTP will postpone, not withdraw, the constitutional amendment and the ‘consolidation bill’ for entering the parliament. PTP might try to reintroduce both draft bills again within this year, but that depends on future political situation.

Still No Good Sign from Democrats

Democrat Party have still not shown any positive improvement from its recent political activities. The latest development came from 29 July rally which Abhisit appeared in red shirt. The shirt was screen ‘Stop the Fake Consolidation’ and he told the crowd ‘Red is color for everyone in the country’. Democrat supporters welcome his bold standpoint and Reds are obviously furious at him.

We forecast the silent majority do not feel good with Abhisit’s more radical activities in recent months. They prefer a more polite version of Abhisit during his tenure than the current aggressive Abhisit. The more radical Democrat Party can increase the party’s short-term appearance in media but cause negative effect in longer term party’s turnaround plan.

Senate Speaker Dismissed

Gen Teeradej Meepian, the Senate Speaker, was dismissed by criminal court decision on his past case. The case is about awarding himself meeting allowance since his 2004 chief ombudsman day. While he still keeps his senator status, the Senate rule prevents any senator with jail sentence to be a Speaker. (see more details in this Bangkok Post article)

Nikom Wairatpanich, Deputy Senate Speaker, has a good chance for a new Senate Speaker election in the next few weeks. This incident should not affect the overall Thai political situation.

Economics

Lower-Northeastern Infrastructure Plan Approved

There was no big issue in July normal cabinet meetings. Though the special cabinet meeting in Surin province (29 July), the cabinet approved the ฿10-billion infrastructure plan of lower-Northeastern region (see map). The projects include a strategic eastern highway from Saraburi to Nakhon Ratchasima, few upgrades for roads in Surin/Chaiphum/Buriram/Sisaket, a new railway linking Nakhon Ratchasima and Ubon Ratchathani, an upgrade plan for Ubon Ratchathani Airport as a transportation hub for Indochina.

Entrepreneurship Fund Approved

29 July cabinet meeting also approved the Entrepreneurship Fund (กองทุนตั้งตัวได้ = Kong-Tun-Tung-Tua-Dai). The fund will aim for university and vocational students and recent graduates, give them loans and incubator programs to develop many SME entrepreneur in the next few years. The fund initial phase will last 4 years and has total 20 billion Baht budget (5 billion for FY2013). The fund will be a division of Minister of Education (MoE).

This fund is one of many PTP proposed funds. It can be considered as an extension of Thai Rak Thai’s SME development programs in the past.

Water Management Master Plan

The flood prevention program is now started.  Plodprasop Suraswadi, Minister of Science who is also a director of government flood committee, invites local and foreign constructors and consultants for a brief on ‘water management master plan’. Attendances were given the draft TOR and Plodprasop invited everyone to submit their proposal. Plodprasob was criticized for his process of invitation which benefits only big three local constructors.

We expect the process of water management master plan will delay for few more months but at least we can see some ‘attempts’ from government side.

SIU Report – Business Opportunity in Arab Economies

SIU Report on Thai businesses’ opportunity in Arab & Muslim world. An executive summary from the seminar “Arab Spring: Business & Investment Trap?” at Chulalongkorn University.

SIU Report on Thai businesses’ opportunity in Arab & Muslim world. An executive summary from the seminar “Arab Spring: Business & Investment Trap?” at Chulalongkorn University, 29 February 2012.

Photo from Wikipedia

Continue reading “SIU Report – Business Opportunity in Arab Economies”

The Shinawatra Family Tree

Latest in-depth scoop by SIU team. The story behind “Shinawatra political family” back to the origin.

Latest in-depth scoop by SIU team. The story behind “Shinawatra political family” back to the origin.

Some excerpt:

With Yingluck elected as the first female PM, last Friday is not only a historical day in Thai politics. It is also a historical day for the Shinawatra family, since the clan now has three Prime Ministers (the second one is Somchai Wongsawat, who is the brother-in-law of Thaksin).

Having three PMs makes Shinawatra a prominent political family. It becomes an important family like Pramoj (ปราโมช), Vejjajiva (เวชชาชีวะ) or the former “Ratcha Khru Group” (กลุ่มราชครู – Choonhavan/Adireksarn/Thapparansi).

If we count only the number of PMs in the family, the Shinawatra surpasses the Pramoj brothers and are now tied with Nehru-Gandhi of India (though the level influence is debatable).

On the surface, Shinawatra is Thaksin-centric. It is very true that he is the leading (and sole) force to bring the family to power. But digging back deeper, Thaksin is not the first member in the family who entered into politics. The Shinawatra family has been involved with politics long before Thaksin, and accumulated “political experience” that Thaksin could utilize.

To understand Shinawatra family better, we need to look back from the start. Thaksin, Somchai and Yingluck is just the fourth generation of this overseas Chinese family.

 

Scorecard on Abhisit and Yingluck

SIU releases a comparison table/scorecard on Thai PM candidates between Yingluck Shinawatra and Abhisit Vejjajiva in both Thai and English version.

SIU releases a comparison table/scorecard on Thai PM candidates between Yingluck Shinawatra and Abhisit Vejjajiva. The goal is to spread the political information to the mass public in easy-to-understand format.

The original Thai version was released on 20 May 2011 at Siam Intelligence web site. It got good reception from Thai internet users, with more than 5,000 views, 150 retweets and 300 Facebook likes.

The English version was released on 30 May 2011 at New Mandala, a popular English-language blog on Southeast Asia politics.

SIU also created the Thailand Political Base, a Wikipedia-like open database on politicians and political issues.

The English version is republished here for archive purpose.

Continue reading “Scorecard on Abhisit and Yingluck”