Asia in Review Archive (2017)


Date of AiR edition

News summary

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29 December 2017

Thailand: Big parties challenge recent PM’s party order

(jk) The Democrat Party vowed to file a petition with the Constitutional Court regarding a recent amendment to the Political Party Act issued by the NCPO government. According to their complaint, it favours new parties over existing ones which are already struggling to meet the demands of the act originally enacted in early October [The Nation]. The legal team of the Democrat Party furthermore suggested the new regulations serve the purpose of setting up a military party and may be unconstitutional [Bangkok Post]. The Pheu Thai Party has already submitted a petition to the CC [Prachatai].

29 December 2017

Myanmar: Army invited to Cobra Gold amidst continuing human rights concerns

(jk) The Myanmar military, which has recently been accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Muslim Rohingya in the country, has nonetheless been invited again to take part in the 2018 Cobra Gold military exercises in which Thailand, the US and other Asian countries participate [Bangkok Post].

Thailand extended the invitation which allows the Tatmadaw to participate as an observer which puts the US in a difficult position, especially after it just imposed sanctions on senior military figures in Myanmar for their human rights abuses of late [US Department of the Treasury] and the unlawful detention of journalists as well as barring the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights from entering the country [The New York Times] [The Straits Times].

29 December 2017

Security and Counter Terrorism in Southeast Asia in 2017 and 2018

2017 saw many security issues erupt in Southeast Asia with some particularly striking crises such as the Rohingya refugee crisis or the Marawi siege, but one should not forget about other ongoing conflicts, such as the insurgency in the south of Thailand. Governments across the region are struggling with terrorism and despite some advances in legislation, problems are unlikely to vanish in 2018 [Benar].

22 December 2017

Thailand: Deputy Prime Minister under pressure over alleged asset concealment

Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has been urged to suspend Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on the grounds that the latter is currently facing investigations over alleged concealment of assets. Pictures, showing the Deputy Prime Minister wearing luxury watches, went viral on social media and triggered an online campaign demanding him to step down [The Nation].

15 December 2017

Activists to petition Constitutional Court to restore freedom of assembly

A number of activists, partly from the New Democracy Movement, partly from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, are planning to ask the Constitutional Court (CC) to lift a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order interfering with freedom of assembly and giving soldiers vast powers to summon and detain any person for up to seven days under which the activists claim to have suffered unproportionally. They want the CC to rule the NCPO order unconstitutional [Bangkok Post].

15 December 2017

Surin Pitsuwan dies at 68

Former foreign minister and Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan died of an acute heart attack on Thursday. Surin was the deputy foreign minister from 1992-95 and rose to become the foreign minister from 1997 to 2001 under the premiership of Chuan Leekpai. He was the first Thai to become the ASEAN Secretary-General during which he served in Jakarta in 2008 for a five-year term before rejoining the Democrat party [Bangkok Post].

15 December 2017

EU in SEA: EU to re-establish political ties with the Thailand, scraps funding for elections in Cambodia

The European Council has agreed to gradually resume all political and economic engagement with Thailand. It reiterated its call for “restoration of democratic process” and “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms” in a press release after the decision came early this week and cited as a major factor in the decision the Thai authorities’ statement that elections will be held at the end of next year. The EU still upholds its “yellow card” it has issued when it alleged that Thailand is not doing enough to regulate illegal fishing practices but both sides see a major opportunity now to resume talks on the free trade agreement that have been put on hold after the coup in 2014 [Council of the EU] [Bangkok Post]. With regards to Cambodia, the EU has decided to cancel all funding for the upcoming general election in 2018 as it was decided that under the current circumstances, a credible election cannot be expected [Reuters].

8 December 2017

Thailand’s Computer Crime Act 2017 in a Thai-English synopsis

The Thai Netizen Network provides a Thai-English version of Thailand’s Computer Crime Act, highlighting the changes made in its last revision 2017. A valuable source for the comparative study of computer crimes in Southeast Asia [Thai Netizen Network].

8 December 2017

China’s economic engagement in Southeast Asia: Taking concrete shapes

As support from traditional development aid sources decrease, Indonesia receives foreign aid to an increasing extent from China and other non-DAC (Development Assistance Committee) countries. China’s aid to Indonesia has financed bridges, roads, power plants and a limited number of railway projects, all designed and constructed by Chinese firms. However, Pierre van der Eng submits that Indonesia could face the dilemma of whether it can continue to limit the influence of aid donors on its development policies when the delivery of bilateral foreign aid for infrastructure depends increasingly on a single provider [East Asia Forum]. In Thailand, the government just approved the country’s first high-speed railway, spearheaded by China, an on-again-off-again project that was once hailed as the crowning project of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. The National Environment Commission accepted the environmental impact assessment report for the 253- kilometer portion from Bangkok to the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. Over years, Chinese and Japanese construction firms had contested in the bidding process [Asia Times]. Meanwhile, Myanmar and China agreed to build an economic corridor between the two countries, furthering Naypyitaw’s efforts to strengthen ties with Beijing as criticism over the Rohingya refugee crisis pushes it away from the West. Beijing plans to build a deep-sea port as well as an industrial park. It also started up in April a crude oil pipeline linking Kyaukpyu and Kunming, providing an alternate route for oil shipments that does not pass through the Strait of Malacca [Nikkei Asian Review]. Before this background, the South China Morning Post asks whether an all-powerful Xi Jinping and an emboldened China are good for Southeast Asia. Karim Raslan draws historic comparisons to the Qing dynasty’s greatest emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. However, he submits that, while China seems on the upswing now, another stumble could well be on the way, if the looming debt crisis and growing domestic income inequalities were not resolved. Moreover, he writes that Southeast Asian countries are unwilling to be hegemonized [South China Morning Post].

24 November 2017

Cabinet reshuffle

An upcoming cabinet reshuffle that has caused rumors and uproar last week [Khaosod English], has supposedly been finalized but the details not yet made public. Notably, the PM recently stated that he plans to have more civil than military ministers in his cabinet. For this reshuffle, more military ministers will leave than join the cabinet [The Nation].

24 November 2017

Corruption cases

Whilst officials in Thailand seek to make use of a new law passed in September in order to prosecute former PM Thaksin in absentia on graft charges [Reuters], Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency KPK has made a bold move in arresting top Golkar politician and speaker of the House of Representatives Setya Novanto. He stands accused of being part of the corruption scandal around the electronic identity card system in 2011 and 2012 [The Wall Street Journal] So far, despite relatively few staff members and a low budget, the KPK has a record of wining every graft case it handled. This is a particularly hefty case however, with the House fighting back- it has launched a special inquiry into the KPK’s own conduct. Back in Thailand, Phuket to be precise, an investigation into bribery and the police is making headlines. Positive voices point out that illegal practices are likely to recede with increasing regulation [The Nation].

24 November 2017

ISIS in Southern Thailand?

The International Crisis Group has published a report examining the influence of ISIS in Thailand’s southernmost provinces after a growing number of media reports of ISIS activity in the region. It has however found little evidence of any significant ISIS influence [Full Report].  A somewhat shorter version is accessible at [WEF].

17 November 2017

PM asks six questions, faces strong criticism; local elections and cabinet reshuffle likely to happen

NCPO chief and Prime Minister of Thailand General Prayut Chan-o-cha asked the public six questions concerning elections and future politics, with one question asking whether the NCPO had the right to support a particular political party [Bangkok Post 1]. Politicians and academics immediately responded, claiming that the move appeared to be an attempt not only to set a political agenda but also to legitimize the junta’s rule [The Nation 1]. Also, Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) and a member of the NCPO, warned that it would be a violation of the law if the NCPO officially supports a party [The Nation 2]. At the same time, however, the military government has announced to unlock political activities starting with certain local polls. But local politicians would have to avoid conflict and targeting the NCPO during campaigning [Bangkok Post 2]. Finally, it is likely that a Cabinet reshuffle will take place very soon, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said on Monday [The Nation 3].

17 November 2017

Public prosecutors likely to have more power over police

The Thai police and the criminal justice system are likely to undergo a major change. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wants criminal investigations and crime suppression work separated with investigations conducted by figures other than the police, including professionals who possess sound legal knowledge. According to current proposals, public prosecutors may be absorbed into a new body that can look into criminal cases independently [Bangkok Post].

17 November 2017

China: Belt and Woes

China is not experiencing all but love from its neighbours it seeks to cooperate with on huge infrastructure projects under its Belt and Road umbrella. Not only are neighbours wary due to four distinct areas of PLA reform and capability enhancements [Asia Times], some are not always so keen on infrastructure projects on their soil under Chinese terms. In Thailand for instance, the high-speed rail project has faced some real difficulties, as have projects in Indonesia and even Laos [The Nation]. Nepal, in a move this week, has signaled it will cancel a deal huge deal with a Chinese SOE to build a hydropower plant [South China Morning Post].

10 November 2017

Controversial organic law review committee member confirmed

After an organic law on the National Anti-Corruption Commission has been finalised and referred to the National Legislative Assembly recently, a particular appointee to a commission reviewing the law had come under increased scrutiny. The committee member tasked to review the organic law is the brother of Deputy Prime Minister Wongsuwan and particularly controversial as he himself is subject to an ongoing investigation by the NACC. Notwithstanding, his place on the committee has been confirmed [The Nation].

3 November 2017

As political ban is continued, pressure on exiled former PM Yingluck increases

The Thai government will not lift the ban on political activities until calm and order are restored, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday. However, the Political Parties Act giving the parties 180 to prepare for the upcoming election has already taken effect on October 8. Whether the deadline can be extended is not sure [Bangkok Post]. Meanwhile, Thailand has revoked the passports of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has yet to publicly emerge since she slipped out of the country two months ago ahead of judgment day in her negligence trial. Thai authorities are still working to confirm the former premier’s location as they seek her extradition [South China Morning Post].

3 November 2017

South of Thailand: Inspired by Catalonian example?

Ethnic Malay political activists in Thailand’s Muslim-majority southernmost region have followed the developments in Catalonia, wondering how the Catalan population developed their political platform, strengthened their movement’s grass roots legitimacy and ultimately through democratic means challenged the Spanish government’s notion of undivided national sovereignty. Thai officials, however, see self-determination as a stepping stone towards the creation of a breakaway state and will not brook any such public debate [Asia Times]. At the same time, Thailand’s lead negotiator in peace talks with rebel groups in the deep South, insisted on Wednesday that the talks were still ongoing, not totally halted as some had speculated [The Nation].

28 October 2017

Grief and Grandeur

After the passing away of Thailand’s King Bhu-mibol who has reigned for seventy years and profoundly shaped his country, HM Rama X, the new King of Thailand, presided over a public ceremony to begin the royal cremation for his father at an event whose ceremonial grandeur met the authentic grief expressed by thousands of Thai people. The event reflects the watershed King Bhumibol’s death marks in Thai history and will soon be followed by a more vibrant search for political identity [Bangkok Post].

20 October 2017

New law suits against former PM Thaksin

The National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand (NACC) will resume two pending criminal cases against ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra under a new organic law that allows for the trials of fugitive politicians. Previously, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions suspended these cases under the old law after Thaksin fled the country [Bangkok Post 1]. Earlier this month, the Attorney General decided to indict Thaksin on a lese majeste charge and review other pending criminal cases [Bangkok Post 2].

20 October 2017

Thailand and Southeast Asia: The political and economic importance of social media and e-commerce

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will be coming to Thailand later this month to meet Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha. In August, Prayuth opened his own Facebook page in what some say is an effort to appear more affable and approachable. At the same time, various people have been charged for running Facebook pages criticizing the government or running polls mocking his often eccentric behavior [Khaosod English]. The competition for Southeast Asia’s fast-growing e-commerce market is intensifying, with industry titans Alibaba and Amazon launch new ventures and acquisitions in a region projected to be the next high-growth frontier for online retailers. Founded by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, Alibaba is now the most visible player in Southeast Asia’s e-commerce space after pouring billions of dollars into the region’s nascent markets [Asia Times].

13 October 2017

PM comes back from the White House and announces elections for late 2018

After returning from his visit to the US [Voice of America], the Thai PM has announced that an election will be held in November 2018. Whilst the first White House visit of a Thai PM in 12 years was seen as a diplomatic success for Thailand, some observers remain critical [ISEAS]. Pertaining to th election announcement leaders of major political parties differ in their opinion – after all, it is not the first time elections have been announced. Many are moreover dismayed due to the fact that tight restrictions on political parties are still in place even after the organic law on political parties has been recently enacted [Bangkok Post].

6 October 2017

The challenges of the Myanmar refugee crisis

With the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis developing on its doorstep, Amnesty International said that Thailand must take concrete action to offer protection to those most in need, as the human rights organization launched a report revealing the gaps in the country’s refugee policies [Amnesty International]. In response, Thailand’s foreign ministry said, in a rare statement, that it was “closely following the situation” and would provide aid to the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh [The Straits Times].

6 October 2017

PM Prayuth’s increased public appearances and Yingluck’s request for asylum

Emma Richards analyzes The Thai Prime Minis-ter’s current campaign for public support and how it can be viewed as preparation for an after-election future [Asian Correspondent]. Accord-ing to Prayut’s most recent statement, the elec-tion date is likely to be in 2019, not 2018 as it has been previously assumed [The Nation]. Thailand’s former Prime Minister and mean-while fugitive, Yingluck Shinawatra, has applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. Thai police have asked Interpol to issue an international alert, known as a Blue Notice, to its 190 member countries to locate her [Bangkok Post].

6 October 2017

Thai-U.S. relations: Prayut and Trump consent on strengthening co-operation  in regional security, trade and investment

U.S. President Donald Trump and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha met on Monday and hailed strengthening economic and security relations between the two countries (The Nation). Without any reference to Thailand’s military rule, the meeting underscored shifting U.S. foreign policy priorities under Trump, emphasizing American trade and strategic interests over democracy and human rights in the nations it deals with (ABC News).

29 September 2017

Yingluck sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison

The former Thai PM has been sentenced by the Supreme Court of Thailand to a prison sentence of 5 years for dishonest dereliction of duty but not for other corrupt activities and losses sour-rounding the rice-pledging scheme. A warrant for her arrest has been issued. According to the Thai government, she is currently in Dubai.

29 September 2017

China-owned port in Sri Lanka could alter trade routes

One of China’s largest state-owned companies, China Merchants Group, is in the final stages of purchasing a majority stake in loss-making deep water container port from Sri Lanka. Focusing on the strategic shift enabled by the purchase the article provides an optimistic outlook of how the Chinese OBOR’s grand strategy could significantly manifest at the small village of Hambantota which is seen as becoming the main Chinese-operated transshipment hub in the Indian Ocean adding to the port projects in Pakistani Gwadar and in Kenya and turning Hambantota port into the key Indian Ocean deep water port between Suez and East Asia. By itself evolving in a disruptive occurrence Hambantota is expected to reconfigure the large trade flows across the Asian sea lanes in India´s backyard. Noteworthy, the author also projects the possible impact if an inter-ocean ‘Thai canal’ across the isthmus of Southern Thailand would also be build by China which would re-route business away from Singapore and the Malacca Straits – notwithstanding the fact that the project is currently not discussed by the Thai government.

22 September 2017

Constitutional Court likely to be reshuffled

The Constitution Drafting Committee has fin-ished the first draft of an organic bill on the Constitutional Court’s trial procedures. The Court is likely to be partially “reset” as some of the incumbent judges who do not meet the stricter qualification requirements under the new constitution may be removed.

22 September 2017

Thailand-UK relations: New joint military exercise

Thailand and the United Kingdom will launch a new joint military exercise. The new exercise, called Panther Gold, will be held Oct. 30 to Dec. 1 at a military base in Kanchanaburi province. The agreement may be considered a breakthrough for the military regime, which saw European relations deteriorated following its 2014 coup d’etat.

15 September 2017

The anual military reshuffle as a rebalancing of power

The recent annual military reshuffle further en-hances the influence of the King’s Guard after it had been put onto second place in the military hierarchy over the past 10 years by the Queen’s Guard. While Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and key military peers of the 2014 coup group are members of the latter Thailand´s new King has been part of the King´s guard.

15 September 2017

Thailand: The Thai canal that could link the Indian and the Pacific Ocean

European business leaders have joined the Chinese and a Thai lobby in urging the construction of a ship canal through the Isthmus of Kra known as the Thai Canal that could be of a geopolitical impact not unlike those of the Suez and Panama canal bypassing the narrow, piracy-prone and strategically sensitive Strait of Malacca, the world’s busiest trade route, which links East Asia with the oil fields of the Middle East and major markets in Europe, Africa and India. While there is no sign of the Thai government in favor of the project it could change the balances of power in the region with direct consequences for the new emerging security order in Asia.

7 September 2017

With Yingluck gone, what are the prospects?

As former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shi-nawatra’s whereabouts are still unknown, The Bangkok Post analyzes the possible prospects for the Pheu Thai party as well as for the politi-cal party spectrum and the powerplay in Thai politics. The Democrat Party demands her pass-ports to be cancelled immediately [Bangkok Post]. Nick Nostitz has photographed Yingluck over the course of many years. In a pictorial es-say, he presents how he experienced the career of Thailand’s first female prime minister [New Mandala].

7 September 2017

Supreme Court sees no grounds for trial against Abhisit and Suthep

The Supreme Court of Thailand upheld lower court decisions to dismiss lawsuits against for-mer prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban related to the mili-tary crackdown on the 2010 red-shirt protest in Bangkok. It also ruled that the case should be filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commis-sion with the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

7 September 2017

Why did China invite Thailand to the BRICS party?

Thailand was invited to attend a meeting of the BRICS countries in Beijing. Analysts see China’s invitation as returning a favour – Bangkok is its all weather ally and has helped China navigate its territorial disputes with neighbours in the South China Sea – and as a signal of Thailand’s still sound position in the global economy (South China Morning Post). However, there are also voices suggesting that Thailand may have to reevaluate its strategic relationship with China (Bangkok Post).


31 August 2017

Rice sales court ruling: No show of former Prime Minister, 42 years for former Com-merce Minister

While former Prime Minister Yingluck Shi-nawatra did not show up in the court to receive the long awaited ruling of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on the rice sales case [Bangkok Post 1], former Commerce Minister Boonson Teriyapirom in the same case, which involves 28 defendants, was sentenced to 42 years in jail [Bangkok Post 2].

24 August 2017

770,000 Migrant Workers in Thailand Being ‘Legalised’r

As a result of Thailand temporarily suspending penalties under its new foreign labour law, over 770,000 illegal migrant workers have decided to register with the state so far. Through harsh new fines and an increased risk to conduct illegal employment activities for employers and em-ployees alike, the Thai government is aiming to eradicate illegal employment and human traf-ficking, while ensuring a more extensive protec-tion of migrant workers’ rights.

24 August 2017

Thousands of police will be deployed for Yingluck verdict on Friday

This Friday, over 4,000 police will guard Thai-land’s Supreme Court and surrounding areas when a verdict on ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is announced. Increasingly large crowds have gathered around the court dur-ing Yingluck’s previous court appearances, with around 3,000 supporters expected to turn up this time. The date is significant for Thai politics, since it represents the first time a Thai leader is being prosecuted for a policy, in what some ana-lysts call an effort to crush the Shinawatra politi-cal machine.

18 August 2017

Thailand’s Return to Democracy May Raise Tension

According Thailand’s former Prime Minister Abhisit, tensions could very well arise during the country’s return to democracy next year. To blame are a new constitution which institutes a Senate of appointed soldiers, judges, and bu-reaucrats with the power to stifle elected politi-cians in the House of Representatives, as well as a two-decade national strategy which currently is being crafted and is likely to cause tensions with elected governments.

11 August 2017

Meechai defends one-candidate one-number system

Meechai, chief of the Constitution Drafting Committee, has defended the value of the pro-posed “one-candidate, one-number” election method as compared to the “one-party, one-number” method. He believes it would incentiv-ize individual politicians to work harder to win votes, rather than counting on their party’s popu-larity.

11 August 2017

More North Koreans are escaping to Thai-land via an ‘underground railroad’

Despite the 3,000 miles separating North Korea and Thailand, the risky North Korea-to-Thailand route is becoming increasingly popular with North Korean defectors wishing for an escape to South Korea. At the current rate, Thailand is ex-pected to receive about 700 to 800 North Kore-ans this year, on their way to South Korea through China, Laos, and Thailand.

4 August 2017

Thai rice politics boiling ahead of Yingluck trial verdict – Government seeks to cut pro-duction as export market returns to normal

Yingluck’s ongoing trial for negligence in the management of her government’s paddy-pledging scheme, which allegedly cost the state around 500 billion baht, highlights 2 important lessons for Thailand. First, the country’s rice economy is in need of an innovative turnaround to become more market-driven and less subsidy-driven, reducing the room left for corruption. Second, Thai court’s ruling on such a high-profile case is crucial in determining its legiti-macy and credibility among the population, as a politically motivated verdict risks deepening Thailand’s harmful political divide.

4 August 2017

Controversial strategy and reform bills set path for future

Thailand’s recent bills on the 20-year national strategy have raised mixed reactions. While some believe a legally binding instrument is cru-cial to steer future development, others worry that it would cripple governments-to-come and represents an attempt to consolidate military power in the future. The new committee to be headed by Prayut will basically replace the for-mer NRSA, which is now being slammed for not creating any tangible outcomes.

4 August 2017

Thai Officials Deny Reports on Abduction of Laos-Based Activist

Thai officials have denied any involvement in the abduction of Laos-based red shirt activist Ko Tee. Ko Tee had been living in Laos in self-exile. He has been missing since Saturday, when he was apparently abducted by kidnappers who “were definitely not Laotian officers”. News of the abduction coincides with claims of possible rioting by the red shirts on August 25.

4 August 2017

Thai fishing sector in hot water

In 2015, the EU effectively threatened to ban Thai seafood imports if Thailand was not able to end environmentally damaging fishing practices and abusive labor practices. The seafood indus-try has also come under scrutiny from the US. Together, these represent two of the three big-gest export markets for Thai seafood. Calls for change seem to have been heard as Thai Union, the world’s largest producer of canned tuna, struck an agreement with Greenpeace to improve its supply chain, thereby leading the way for other producers.

27 July 2017

NRSA under fire as civil servants ‘cap-ture’ reform

On the occasion of the forum reviewing the Na-tional Reform Steering Assembly’s (NRSA) work, leaders have criticized the civil service’s growing influence over Thailand’s future devel-opment. The public should have more say in re-forms, because civil servants’ ideology differs from that of the people. Reforms should there-fore be initiated by political parties, in order to promote the interests of the majority, rather than the interests of the central authorities [Bangkok Post].

27 July 2017

Thon Buri prison chosen to pilot new inmate rules

The Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) in coop-eration with Thailand’s Corrections Department has launched a one-year pilot programme on the good treatment of prisoners, the “Nelson Man-dela Rules”. The pilot will introduce rules aimed at improving the situation of prisoners with re-gards to their treatment and dignity in prison. Thailand is the first country to embrace the Mandela Rules in this context [Bangkok Post].

27 July 2017

Hundreds died in Rohingya camps on Thai-Malaysia border

A two-year long trial has resulted in the convic-tion of 62 human traffickers—and revealed hor-rific accounts of the wholesale misery and death they inflicted by their trade [Asia Times].

21 July 2017

Thailand: Political law blasted for bias

Thailand’s organic bill on criminal procedures for holders of political positions, recently ap-proved by the NLA, has drawn criticism over its ambiguity and partiality. Critics argue that it has been designed to target ex-PM Thaksin Shi-nawatra and politicians supporting him. The law creates a double standard in legal prosecution against politicians and other groups of people [Bangkok Post].

21 July 2017

Human Trafficking in Thailand: Ensure jus-tice in Thailand’s largest-ever human traf-ficking trial

The criminal Court Division for Human Traf-ficking in Bangkok will render the decision against state officers involved in the case of mass human trafficking of Rohingya refugees. Although this reflects the government’s will to address the human trafficking issue, NGO’s re-main critical [Asian Correspondent].

18 July 2017

Thailand´s Ever Debated Police Reform: Po-lice reform panel said to ‘lack sincerity’

The government appointed the police reform committee consisting of 36 members, mostly senior officials with no history of intent to fight for justice or reform. NGO’s are disappointed claiming the reform poses the tendency for con-flict of interest and offers nothing new in terms of important functions [Bangkok Post].

16 July 2017

Police reform panel said to ‘lack sincerity’

The government appointed the police reform committee consisting of 36 members, mostly senior officials with no history of intent to fight for justice or reform. NGO’s are disappointed claiming the reform poses the tendency for con-flict of interest and offers nothing new in terms of important functions [Bangkok Post].

22 June 2017

Monday Review: Calls for Elections Louder and Louder

While the junta seeks reasons to remain in power, the public, politicians and even the anti-election protesters from 2014 are increasing their demands for elections. The National Council for Peace and Order is once again attempting to delay the country’s democratisation.

22 June 2017

The Effects of Thailand’s Proposed Electoral System

On 29 January, the second group of constitu-tional drafters appointed by Thailand’s NCPO released the draft of another new Constitution

22 June 2017

Belt and Road Initiative, a Joint Endeavour for Shared Prosperity

The ancient Silk Road was a route that linked several major civilisations 2,000 years ago through trade and cultural exchanges.

22 June 2017

Thailand’s Shocking Failures in Pursuing its ASEAN Goals

No Thai government in recent memory has in-vested so much energy and money into Asean-related projects as the current administration.