The Thai people have recently voted to back a military-based constitution in a referendum held on 7 August. The referendum provided a convincing win for Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Thailand’s current prime minister and head of the controlling junta. Chan-o-cha has also played a significant role in supporting the ambitions of the Thai superyacht industry. Most recently, the government has submitted amendments to superyacht law for royal decree.
“Chan-o-cha realised that yachts, and particularly superyachts, if you can attract them, can generate a lot of money for Thailand’s local economies,” explains Gordon Fernandes of Asia Pacific Superyachts. The referendum has ensured that Chan-o-cha will remain in power until May 2017, when a general election will be held.
It is hoped that this will provide enough time for the Thai government to drive home the much awaited Thai charter license. Whether or not this license will be a priority for incumbent policy makers remains to be seen.
“The problem is that the actual license is already available from the harbour department, but, the revenues department will not accept the legality of until with necessary laws within its body are amended,” explains Fernandes. “Now, in order to get the laws passed, the government has submitted the changes for royal decree.”
In Thailand the monarchy is able to make amendments to law through a royal decree/proclamation. Such proclamations are used to amend laws that are unbeneficial to the Thai people. The argument in this case, is that the superyacht charter industry will be of great benefit to a number of local economies.
“It’s a case of making the king, or the kings cabinet, understand that changing the law will benefit the Thai local economies, rather than disadvantage them,” continues Fernandes. “The submission for royal decree happened in late February/ early March and a decision is expected to take 12 – 18 months.”
Beyond this 12 – 18-month period progress is uncertain. However, should the decree come into force, Fernandes believes that “it will be all systems go,” for the Thai superyacht industry.