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Pheu Thai brings up Akara mine issue on second day of no-confidence debate


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Pheu Thai brings up Akara mine issue on second day of no-confidence debate

Paphamon Arayasukawat




BANGKOK (NNT) - The Speaker of the House of Representatives was able to maintain order during the second day of the no-confidence debate with only a handful of objections made.


At the start of the second day of the debate in Parliament, Pheu Thai Party Members of Parliament brought up the Prime Minister’s use of Article 44 of the constitution to deal with the Akara Resources mine issue, pointing out that Thailand may lose the case in arbitration and be hit with a 25 billion baht damages penalty, while also highlighting the government’s formation of a committee to seek a compromise with Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd.


Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha personally fielded this issue, explaining that all steps taken were in accordance with international rules and legal processes, explaining that he did not use Article 44 to shut down the mine, but to suspend mining while arbitration is ongoing and efforts are made to remedy the mine’s environmental pollution and hazard, as well as while the pending extension of the mine concession.


Minister of Industry Suriya Juengrungruangkij added that extension of the concession was not being made a condition for the case against Thailand to be dropped, with the company itself choosing to return to the mine.


Pheu Thai MP Chaiya Phroma followed up with a discussion on economic turmoil and business closures before attention turned towards COVID-19 vaccinations in the afternoon, with questions posed to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Chanvirakul.



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1 hour ago, PatOngo said:

I wonder how long before the government will fold under pressure and resign??? 🤔

And I also wonder how long before the Parliament folds and we return to the previous administration.

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2 hours ago, webfact said:

explaining that he did not use Article 44 to shut down the mine,

EXPERTS AND academics have warned that Thailand will lose an arbitral tribunal process regarding allegations that it violated the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), because of the exercise of special powers under Article 44 of the interim constitution that are not recognised by the international community.

Kannikar Kijtiwatchakul, coordinator of FTA Watch, warned that Thailand had a very small chance of winning the dispute regarding the closure of a gold mine, exposing the country to huge losses due to claims for compensation. Early last December, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issued Order 72/2559 to suspend gold mining operations nationwide, including at the Chatree mine operated by Akara Resources. As a result, Akara’s parent company, Australia’s Kingsgate Consolidated Limited, has threatened to sue the Thai government in an arbitral tribunal for violating the TAFTA.




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PTP should also cite the government's handling of the Hopewell Holdings case.

Even though Hopewell's complaint against Thailand was supported by FTA arbitration, by the Central Administration Courts and indirectly by the Supreme Administration Court (denied SRI  retrial petition to resurrect the Hopewell case for further litigation), the Transportation Minister continues to fight against Hopewell's compensation award.


Hopewell wanted 24 billion compensation plus 7.5% p.a. interest until paid. 

Since the date of cancelation in 1998, significant interest should be justified for over 20 years on delayed compensation, part of which occurred during Prayut's "previous" and "current" regimes (May 2014-2021). As of August 2019 the total compensation was 37 billion baht or almost 13 billion baht in interest! And the interest clock continues.


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PTP should also consider the recent  Philippines/Thailand Customs Tax dispute. Although the Philippines won its case in 2010 with the WTO and its Appellate Body, Thailand continued to unilaterally apply a customs tax. In response the Philippines retaliated with higher customs taxes on a variety of Thailand imports.


Of lessor degree of "peculiar" government administration was the seizure of 100 LNG buses made by Chinse Bestlin Group which were allegedly required to be imported through Malaysia to Thailand. Buses were eventually released for service when Customs(?) decided its import tax issue was with the Thai importer and not the foreign supplier. And this affair was months after Bestlin had to sue the government (BMTA) to honor its bus purchase agreement with Bestlin!


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