The Cabinet has acknowledged the development of laws to accelerate creation of a digital government as proposed by the Council of State. In the past, the Office of the Council of State has developed laws, including:
The Draft Electronic Public Service Act B.E. .… (“Draft Act”): The main objective of this Draft Act is for submitting any request or contacting between citizens and government agencies via electronic system. Currently, this Draft Act is being considered by the Government Whips.
The Regulation of the Prime Minister’s Correspondence (No. 4) B.E. 2564 (Electronic Correspondence Regulation) (“Regulation”): The government agencies are required to mainly use email to communicate among each other and with citizens in which it will allow further development for preparation of electronic information systems. This Regulation is effective from 23 August 2021. Therefore, the government agencies are required to check the email at least twice times per day. All email addresses of each department are published by the Digital Government Development Agency in this link: https://www.dga.or.th/document-sharing/dga-3263/mailgothai/
The Amendment of Public Companies Act B.E. 2535 (“Draft Public Companies Act”): The main issue of this amendment is for allowing public limited companies and their boards to perform activities by electronic systems. This Draft Public Companies Act is currently being considered by the Government Whips.
Ministerial regulations and other subsidiary legislations: allrequire government agencies to provide services to citizens by electronic systems, subjected to Sections 8 and 9 of the Licensing Facilitation Act B.E. 2558. Currently, there are 75 subsidiary legislations at the ministerial regulation level enacted to support the electronic proceedings.
A Draft Ministerial Regulations on Rules and Procedures for Filing Appeals and Methods for Consideration and Adjudication of Appeals on the Town Planning and Particular Town Planning B.E. …., enacted by virtue of the Town Planning Act B.E. 2562 (the “Draft Ministerial Regulations”), had been proposed by the Ministry of Interior and was approved in principle by the Cabinet on 10 August 2021.
Summary of this Draft Ministerial Regulations are as follows:
The Draft Ministerial Regulations prescribes rules and procedures for filing appeals and methods for consideration and adjudication of appeals of the orders or notifications of town planning committee, provincial town planning committee, local town planning management committee, town planning officer or other related government officer, details are as follows:
The appeallate bodies: There are 3 appellate bodies considering of appeals which are appellate committee, provincial town planning committee and local town planning management committee.
Appeals must be in writing: At least, there must be the following items contained in the appeals, such as date, month and year that the appeals are filed, orders or rulings which are grounds of appeals together with facts, arguments or provisions of law and reasonable referencing in the appeals.
Filing of appeals: In Bangkok area, the appeals shall be submitted at the Office of Urban Planning and Development Bangkok. For other provinces, they shall be submitted at the Provincial Public Works and Town Planning Office.
Consideration and adjudication of the appeallate committee: In the case that appeals filed under Section 90 (1), consideration shall be subject to policies of town planning in the essence of sanitation, public safety, welfare of society or public interest including activities using benefits on lands, conditions of lands and and other properties related to lands, investment or benefits or nuisances caused effect to the people from such activities.
Consideration and adjudication of the provincial town planning committee. In the case that appeals filed under Section 90 (3), consideration shall be subject to objectives and projects of the appellants to be in accordance with the principal of provincial town planning together with reasons for issung orders of the officers and benefits or nuisances caused effect to the people in the area.
Consideration and adjudication of the local town planning management committee. In the case that appeals filed under Section 90 (6), consideration shall be subject to actual demolition or relocation of buildings on the cost-effective basis of the owners/possessors of such buildings. The expenses shall be calculated by deducting from the compensation payable to the owners/possessors of the buildings but not exceeding the amount of such compensation.
On 3 August 2021, The Cabinet has acknowledged the draft Notification of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society Re: Criteria for Maintaining Traffic Data of Service Providers B.E. …. (“Draft Notification”) as proposed by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.
The Draft Notification of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Re: Criteria for Maintaining Traffic Data of Service Providers B.E. 2550 (2007) has been enforced for a long time and is inconsistent with the current situation.
This Draft Notification will provide the duties and responsibilities regarding maintaining computer traffic data for service providers and help the investors to promote the investment in electronic services. However, its provisions cause effects to the people and the private sector in which failure to comply with the same can create resulting in penalties as stipulated in the Computer-Related Crime Act B.E. 2550 (2007) and its amendments.
Main Points of the Draft Notification
In case that there are specific laws governing for maintaining of traffic data, those will be enforced. Except for provisions related to below activities, the provisions of this Draft Notification will be applied: – Event Logging; – Protection of Log Information; – Log Information Administration and Operation; and – Clock Synchronization
The specific terms which have been defined in this draft Notification are service providers, digital identification and authentication systems, identification and authentication, computer data, traffic data and social media.
The Draft Notification also provides types of service providers obligated to preserve computer traffic data, e.g., telecommunication and broadcast carriers, assess service providers, host service providers, internet cafe service providers, computer program/software/AI technology service providers, online application stores, social media service providers, service providers as a medium for data transmission through computer networks and content and application service providers.
The service providers have its duty to provide the digital identification and authentication systems for usersincluding the security measures for administrative safeguard, technical safeguard, physical safeguard and access control.
The service providers have its duty to provide secure methods for maintaining the traffic data by having a confidential data storage system, storing in a computer or system that can maintain the completeness and authenticity of the data including determining the period of maintenance.
If the service providers agree with any third party to perform their duties under this Draft Notification, the service providers still need to maintain the traffic data, arrange for a copy of traffic data, possess a copy of identifiable traffic data and deliver to the competent official immediately upon request.
The Cabinet has approved for withdrawal of a draft Royal Decree on One Stop Service Establishment B.E …. (“Draft Act”) to establish a One Stop Service Center (“OSSC”) as proposed by the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (“OPDC”)
The Draft Act was approved in principle by the Cabinet on 14 August 2018 and that the Draft Act currently under consideration and improvement. The Council of State has asked the OPDC to reconsider for its necessity. Therefore, the OPDC has reviewed and reconsidered withdrawing this Draft Act under the reasons as follows:
Electronic mediums are applying and using at this moment in which people can access to the information anywhere and anytime. Besides, government agencies can link and exchange information among each other to use such information for approving and tracking the status of transactions via electronic systems.
Readiness for services in crisis (i.e. the covid-19 pandemic) matter, people may not be necessary to physically contact with the officers at specific locations, they can easily request services through online channels.
The OSSC is a new government agency establishment that may not be consistent with the government service model focusing on using digital services, as well as inconsistent with the National Strategy that requires the government sector to be in a downsize form.
The OPDC is in the process of improving the Licensing Facilitation Act B.E. 2558 (2015) and that it should be completely improved before considering the Draft Act.
The Cabinet has approved in principle for the amendment of requirements in obtaining the Non-Immigrant Visa Category O-A and its renewal on the part of insurance.
The relevant authorities which are the Immigration Bureau, the Royal Thai Police, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will require to revise their required conditions for obtaining such Non-Immigrant Visa Category O-A and its renewal as there are problems in regard to the current requirements as follows:
Foreigners who are at the age of more than 70 years old cannot purchase an insurance in Thailand resulting in an inability to apply for an extension.
Forms for purchasing of insurances in foreign countries do not align with the insurance and other funds’ benefits.
Those applying for the extension of their stays wish to use insurances from abroad.
Hence, the new requirements for purchasing of insurance are as detailed below.
The purchase of Thai insurance with a sum insured for medical expenses are to be: 1 No less than 40,000 THB for outpatient; and 2 No less than 400,000 THB for inpatient. The purchases of insurance are done online via the website of https://longstay.tgia.org
1st VISA application There will need to be a health insurance or governmental welfare for medical expenses and the insurance covering COVID-19 treatment no less than 100,000 USD or 3,000,000 THB (the adjusted health insured sum)
Application for VISA extension The purchase of health insurance from overseas or having a foreign governmental welfare is allowed under the conditions as follows: – it is required to have a government authority certifies on a form of health insurance, i.e. an overseas Royal Thai Embassy; or – it is required to have certification of signature of an authorized person signed on the document by the ministry of foreign affairs of the country of applicant
In case that the applicant is a risked group resulting in rejections by all insurance companies, the following additional documents are required: – The rejection letter of the purchase of health insurance – Securities, deposits, and other health insurances with an insured sum no less than 3,000,000 THB complying with the regulations of the Immigration Bureau.
Currently, there are 2 draft acts to amend Alcohol Control Act B.E. 2551 (2008) (“Act”). One is presented by Mr. Charoen Charoenchai and his proponents (“Draft Act Proposed by Mr. Charoen”) and another is proposed by the Office of the Alcohol Control Committee (“Draft Act Proposed by the Committee”).
The Draft Act Proposed by Mr. Charoen remains in the public hearing process. The public hearing will need to be taken place for no less than 15 days from 23 June 2021. Until now, it is still waiting for comments from all related governmental agencies and private entities (i.e. Excise Department, Office of the Alcohol Control Committee, Ministry of Public Health, Office of the Higher Education Commission, Royal Thai Police, Department of Religious Affair, business operators, alcohol beverage consumer, and general population). The Draft Act Proposed by Mr. Charoen will have to be amended according to the comments as received from the hearing proceeding and it will then be presented to the Cabinet and Parliament for their consideration.
The Draft Act Proposed by the Committee has finished its public hearing process since 9 July 2021. It is in the process of amending and finalizing according to the comments as received from the hearing proceeding. The draft Act Proposed by the Committee will be proposed to the Cabinet and Parliament for their approval.
The Parliament will consider both drafts together as their contents are interrelated.
Key Summaries of both Draft Act Proposed by Mr. Charoen and Draft Act Proposed by the Committee presented for their public hearings are as follows:
Draft Act Proposed by Mr. Charoen
Draft Act Proposed by the Committee
Narrowing down the scope of definitions resulting in more relaxed restriction whereby the sell of alcoholic beverages will only mean exchange of alcoholic beverages with money and advertisement will exclude market communication (activities with an aim to sell goods, services or image. It also covers public relations, sales promotion, product expositions, organization or support of special events and direct marketing).
Expanding the scope of alcoholic drinks to cover any consumables having alcohol higher than 0.5 degree as part of its component.
Reducing restriction imposed on the advertisement of the alcoholic drinks.
Expanding the scope of restricted advertisement whereby the Alcohol Control Committee has the power to issue regulations on advertisement; Prohibiting any persons to endorse or act in anyways to promote, whether directly or indirectly, the alcoholic beverage including for the promotion of the brand image and any other purposes to be prescribed by the Alcohol Control Committee.
National Alcoholic Beverage Policy Committee
Including representatives from the alcoholic operators and experts.
Expanding the scope of power in issuing policies and work plan for controlling of alcoholic beverages through taxes and other measures as well as treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics without the approval of the cabinet.
Alcohol Control Committee
Reducing the numbers of representative from the private entities whose goal is to protect consumers, consumer protection, and protection of the right of women and children; and Reducing the scope of power of the Alcohol Control Committee ranging from their power to regulate the label, limited time and area to sell the alcoholic drinks.
Increasing the numbers of the representative from the private entities whose goal is to promote public health.
Power of the competent official
Expanding the power of competent official in collecting evidence and checking of ID or related documents during investigation.
Other Sale Policies
Prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages on specific days is still possible, but the government will need to provide measures to reduce the adverse impact on the businesses and the tourism sector; and Revoking the prohibitions of use of promotion to boost sales and use of electronic vending machine to sell alcoholic drinks.
Elite Membership is one of the visas schemes for tourists managed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (“TAT”) having varieties of package ranging from 5-10 years of membership.
TAT has proposed for extending its privileges to the Cabinet for approval in order to magnetize wealthy foreigners around the world to visit and stay in Thailand for long term periods.
On 8 June 2021, the Cabinet approved in principle for such proposed Flexible Plus Program as one of the national economic reliefs responding to the effect from Covid-19 pandemic. The Thailand Flexible Plus Program has 4 target groups, i.e. Wealthy Global Citizen, Wealthy Pensioner, Work-from-Thailand-Professional, and High-Skilled Professional.
Details of the project after working with the working team under supervision of the Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow was referred to the Cabinet but was rejected by the Secretariat of the Prime Minister thereafter. The Secretariat of the Prime Minister deemed that the matter is related to the Ministry of Interior and, therefore, ordered the TAT to schedule a meeting for further discussions in which the meeting was held on 9 July 2021.
The proposed plan includes a new type of Long-term Resident Visa (LTR VISA) and establishment of the LTR service unit to accommodate this plan. The LTR service unit will be established in a form of private entity having a concession granted by the Ministry of Finance to specifically manage this project. The key current requirements for the Elite Flexible Plus Program, as far as the TAT can confirm to the public at this moment, are making investment in Thailand in real estate, shares both in limited companies and stock market, debentures, or depositing in the bank accounts for a minimum of 1 million USD or around 30 million THB. The investment can be diversified and collectively reaches the minimum amount or can be invested wholly in one category. Other details will be announced later once it becomes clear.
On 25 May 2021, the Cabinet has approved a draft Ministerial Regulation Concerning an Electronically Private Hire Car with Driver Not Exceeding 7 Passengers No. .. B.E. …. (“Draft Ministerial Regulation”) as proposed by the Ministry of Transport. The Draft Ministerial Regulation will be referred to the Council of State for further consideration.
Once enacted, the Draft Ministerial Regulation allows an individual passenger car carrying not exceeding 7 passengers booked through an electronic platform to be a legally private hire car with a driver. It will accommodate modern livelihoods which will allow more choices for consumers, more economic fostering, and more competition for an existing private hire car with driver form (i.e. taxi). It will also extend authorities’ power to control its services.
Main Points of the Draft Ministerial Regulation
The Definition Provisions:
“A private hire car through electronic platforms” means a private hire car resulting from registering a passenger car as a private hire car. Its hiring is done through an electronic platform.
“A private hire car” is a passenger car on a hire carrying not exceeding 7 passengers through an electronic platform.
Types of Cars
There are 3 types of private hire car allowed for registration considering their sizes, i.e. small, medium, and large. Each individual person can register 1 car. The criteria for the cars’ sizes will be in this Draft Ministerial Regulation once finalized.
Any passenger car to be registered as a private hire car has to be a 4 doors sedan, a panel van, an SUV car, a van, or other types of cars to be specified by a notification of the Department of Land Transport.
The private hire car will have and be booked through an electronic platform approved by the Department of Land Transport. In addition, the car must:
Display a sign showing the private hire car through electronic platforms status;
Have a color that matches the car’s registration; and
Not be in use for longer than 9 years from the registration date.
The car registered as a private hire car will keep the same plate, but the registrar will change the type of registration on its registration handbook.
The private hire car will have its checkup under the procedures and prescriptions to be stipulated by this Draft Ministerial Regulation once finalized. The private hire car and its driver must be clean and hygienic. Nothing in the private hire car can cause the consumers any inconvenience or safety concerns.
For small and medium size private hire car:
The charge for the first 2 kilometers must not exceed 50 THB and not exceeding 12 THB for each additional kilometer;
In case that the car cannot move/commute in normal circumstances, the chargeable rate cannot exceed 3 THB for each minute; and
The platform cannot additionally charge more than 50 THB, and the maximum of other added charges by the platform must not exceed 200 THB.
For Large private hire car,
The charge for the first 2 kilometers must not exceed 200 THB and not exceeding 50 THB for each additional kilometer;
In case that the car cannot move/commute in normal circumstances, the chargeable rate cannot exceed 10 THB for each minute; and
The platform cannot charge more than 100 THB additionally, and the maximum of other added charges must not exceed 200 THB.
Details of the fare rate will be as stipulated by further orders of the Minister of Transport.
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