Archive for May, 2008

Bus companies : subsidy of 3 THB per liter for diesel

After a few hours of strike thursday, the private bus companies won the state’s support (read here).

PTT refineries [on the order of the government] agreed to reduce prices of diesel for private bus operators in the next six months, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Friday.

Mr Samak said the refineries agreed to cut the price 3 baht/litre starting from June to November.

It is expected that the cutting of oil prices for private bus operators will help shoulder their burden 122 million baht/month. (Bangkok Post)

What a victory ! Let’s cheer up!

As to know what will happen in six months… and who will “shoulder the burden of 122 millions THB per month“… don’t be a joyce-breaker. Those are not very interesting questions. πŸ˜‰

Just another step toward the zimbabwefication of the country.

They have really no shame ! PTT is Santa Claus ! πŸ˜‰

Speaking after attending the meeting to observe the discussion, Mr. Samak, who is also the defence minister, said he had to appreciate the refineries’ decision which he believed could boost the government’s efforts to cope with surging energy costs.

We have to thank the oil refineries because their decision to cut the ex-refinery diesel price by 3 baht per litre for six months not only helps the Energy Ministry, but also the Transport and Agriculture Ministries and the government,” he said. (TNA)

And even better :

“The four refineries volunteered to cut their margins. This is not a compulsory or market-intervention measure,” Energy Minister Poonpirom Liptapanlop insisted. (Nation)

And about the total cost of this subsidy : “Four refineries will shoulder a loss of Bt2.19 billion for the monthly supply of 122 million litres of cheaper diesel to the sectors most affected by the recent high prices

Interior Minister : “the gang of New Year bombings could attack”

The interior minister warns the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the rally-goers that a third party is preparing to wreak havoc in order to intervene in the ongoing PAD protest.

Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung states that he has received a report on a possible attack by an ill-will group, wishing to interfere with the People’s Alliance for Democracy rally and worsen the current conflict.

Chalerm says the group is the same gang responsible for the New Year’s bomb attack in nine areas throughout the metropolitan, and that this time, the gang plans to imitate a violent act similat to that which occurred during the “Black May” in 1992.

Chalerm calls for the PAD to take responsibility if chaos takes place.

The interior minister also claims that the PAD rally is receiving financial support from an ally who is an illegal lottery gang and from gambling den owners. He says some political parties support the team and are joining the rally. (TOC)

We are breaking the boundaries of lunacy there. Chalerm is going really too far this time.

Please, wake me up. It’s a nightmare.

[to refresh your memory about the New Year bomb attacks : 3 deads and 38 wounded]

Jakrapob resignation : end of a thai melodrama… before the next one

Jakrapob, PM’s office Minister, has resigned.

It’s the end of a thai melodrama. Since a few weeks, he was under severe attacks (from many fronts) for… “lese-majeste“. The source ? A speech he gave… in august 2007 to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. Yesterday, the police said that he would be charged.

He said the government and prime minister have to be saved now for democracy in the long run.
He said he would fight the case of lese majesty to set a precedence not to allow dirty politics to prevail.

So what will happen now ? The opposition is going to cheer. And after ? Back to reality : they will have to find the next thai melodrama.

This is where stands the political debate in Thailand right now : very low level.

The big power play (King’s succession) can’t be solved through coups nor regular elections… therefore what they have left is “lese-majeste”.

It’s totally surreal.

“The more we sell, the more we loose”

The local distributor of Sharp home appliances will raise the prices of its rice cookers by 3-5% on June 1 due to higher production costs.

Sharp would be the first brand to increase rice cooker prices (Bangkok Post)

It could seem like a detail. But actually this is very significant.

Because rice cookers are the most basic home appliances. A sector with huge competition, and very low prices.

In such industry, to increase prices was just unconceivable: … But it’s happening now.

‘We decided to adjust rice cooker prices because our production costs have risen almost 100%. Moreover, we haven’t increased prices for more than five years because of heavy market competition,” he said.

Thai City Electric has been using a low-pricing strategy to stimulate spending, but with production costs climbing, the company has been forced to sell some home appliances at loss.

”The price increase will make us lose some sales opportunities if our competitors don’t do the same. But we don’t want to be in red. At the moment, the more we sell, the more we lose,” Mr Virathep said.

“The more we sell, the more we loose”. That’s the key sentence. It shows that some companies have reached the breaking point.

Beyond that point, business prefer to increase prices, even if they loose sales.

The inflation tsunami is on the move.

Joke of The Day : “how I’m supposed to know how many bank accounts I have ?”

Do you want to understand the class system in Thailand ? Read this article written by Nattakorn Devakula.

It’s about the Constitution that requires that all members of Parliament and ministers disclose their assets and liabilities to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) upon coming to office, immediately after leaving office, and also a year later.

Devakula says that it’s a huge and pointless task.

First I thought it was a joke. Like an ironic piece or April’s fool. But actually no. The guy seems really serious.

Here are some tasty quotes.

Tedious task. It took me pretty much the entire week. Typing in the form is one thing; that is not too bad. But the real effort was spent trying to track down how many bank accounts I had. Yes, that includes even ones with very little money in them.

Next I’m supposed to track down all the land that I own – plots that I bought on my own, and the ones my parents bought me (these include plots I am aware of and those I was not).

How about the next challenge of figuring out how I’m supposed to know the total amount of shares that I own in both non-listed and listed companies? Just the other week, I found a shares-ownership certificate in an old drawer. It was from when my parents purchased some equities for me when I was a teenager.

For those who live in the real world, where the ownership of shares is a very normal and mundane practice not to be seen as always rife with conflicts of interest, making a summary of all the equities you own and figuring out the value, and then having a securities firm issue statements to support these conclusions, is nothing less than a completely ridiculous undertaking.

All that took me a week. I’ve not even begun to count the bottles of wine, jewellery, rugs (I hear Persian rugs are popular among politicians these days), Rolexes (or maybe it’s classier to wear Patek Philippe), nor have I gotten my house and car re-valued so that the figures are updated.

I guess you’re speechless too ! Last but not least, he’s got a point.

Further, which dumb, corrupt politician would in his right mind place the millions of baht in bribe money – if taken – into accounts whose details would be disclosed to the NCCC?

πŸ˜‰ Indeed.

Last word. Who is Nattakorn Devakula ? The son of Pridiyathorn Devakula, former governor of the Bank of Thailand, and former Finances Minister (under the Junta, but he resigned in february 2007) !

Oh… and by the way, the poor little rich boy “beginning next week will be taking a break from this column to venture out on a four-month, personal, semi-political campaign.

We’are lucky that it’s only “semi-political” ! πŸ˜‰

With such so called “elite”… the country will move in one direction… and only one : downward.

Oil crisis : private bus companies… threaten to stop services

The oil crisis, like a poison, starts to fire a lot of secondary effects…

A quick sum’up :

-diesel prices hit all time high

-the gvt authorized an increase of bus fares (up to 21 %), for BMTA (public bus company in Bangkok) and for private bus companies

-but the Central Administrative Court issued a temporary injunction against the bus fare hikes

So now, new episode, the private bus operators are furious… But instead to fight the court injunction (totally surreal)… they choose another strategy : subsidy or… strike.

Good old recipe.

Owners of up to 10,000 private buses, minibuses and songtaew buses that run on diesel have threatened to stop services today in protest against high oil prices.

Private bus operators have also threatened to gather in protest in front of the Transport Ministry.

They will hand three demands to Transport Minister Santi Prompat, accordsing to Chatchai Chaiwiset, president of the Private Bus Service Development Association.

They want a subsidy for diesel prices above the 27.34 baht per litre used to fix current bus fares, and an exemption from the 35 baht fee for each non-airconditioned bus and 60 baht fee for each airconditioned bus which they must pay the BMTA.

They also want the government to rectify the shortage of NGV refuelling points.

”If our calls go unheeded, we must keep our buses idle. We cannot wait even three or four more days,” he said. (Bangkok Post)

What will happen ? Zimbabwe path. The weak government (the corpse is still moving a little bit) is going of course to comply. Inflation is running too high… transports and gasoline are just too explosive issues to handle.

Someone will pay the bill… Of course. And with interests. But later. Like usual.

Nothing changes…

Well… it didn’t takeΒ  long ! Exactly like I said.

Deputy permanent secretary to the Transport Ministry Piyapan Champasut stated that the Transport and Energy Ministries will be working together to help bus operators out of the energy crisis. The initial plan is to provide Bangkok city buses with cheap fuel at special fuelling stations.

They are expected to announce details of the plan, to be put in place for six months, at a press conference scheduled on Thursday afternoon.

The ministers will also be holding talks with board members of the BMTA on a request by private operators to waive concession fees to the government. A conclusion is expected by Thursday evening.

Army Chief : “return to base immediately”

After the coup rumors (on a daily basis, read here)… the psyop war is going one step further…

The abrupt return to Bangkok of First Army chief Lt-Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha from his European trip underscores growing unease in the military about the political temperature.

Fearing possible violence, army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda ordered Lt-Gen Prayuth to cut short his journey overseas with the National Defence College, an army source said.

He had originally been planning to return home this weekend, but his abrupt return was seen at army headquarters yesterday. (Bangkok Post)

So… gross psyop with heavy political meaning ? Or the generals are living in such a dream world that, indeed, they honestly believe that the country is on the verge of civil war… and therefore because the army is the pillar of the nation (sorry… one of the pillars) they must be ready to… intervene ?

The Flying Thai Circus continues. Full speed. πŸ˜‰

Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.