Friday, October 28, 2011

Decentralization at the 1997 constitution

In the 2002 book "Reforming Thai politics", edited by Duncan McCargo containing 16 chapters by different scholars in Thai studies, I found a very interesting paragraph on the decentralization with the 1997 constitution in the introduction chapter. I have only read the introduction of the book so far, but want to share this quote already now.
At the core of structural impediments to reform in Thailand lay the extraordinary degree of centralization. With the honourable exception of the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, Thailand had no local government truly worthy of the name in 1997. While liberalism and pluralism were flourishing at the national level, out in the countryside provincial governors and other state officials continued to exercise an exceptional degree of political control. There were elected municipal and provincial councils, but these were weal bodies whose powers were tightly delimited by Bangkok ministries. The great majority of councils had been captured by construction contractors and other business interests. Crucially, moves to make the office of provincial governors an elected position were firmly resisted throughout the constitution-drafting process. As career bureaucrats in the Interior Ministry, sent out from the capital to administer in a quasi-colonial fashion, provincial governors were one of the largest obstacles to progressive change. Indeed, while Thailand's political order was undergoing extensive reform during the second half of the 1990s, the officials in numerous provinces were building themselves immense new salakan changwat (provincial halls) at vast expense. These monumental structures symbolized their determination to resist the forces of decentralization at literally any cost. [...]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Muban rename in Saraburi

Last week, the rename of Ban Chin Tai (บ้านจีนใต้), village 5 of Nong Mu subdistrict, Wihan Daeng district to Ban Sang Bun (บ้านสร้างบุญ) was announced in the Royal Gazette. The rename was approved in the second meeting of the board to consider name changes, held on July 26. As the rationale, the announcement states that the original name as no special meaning for the village, and the villagers instead prefer to have their village named after the temple of the village, named Wat Sang Bun (วัดสร้างบุญ).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pathum Thani governor transferred

The floods in central Thailand have now reached into the topic of this blog as well, as now the governor of the completely inundated Pathum Thani province has been transferred to a post in the Interior Ministry. As Bangkok Post reports
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Interior Ministry's proposal for the transfer of Pathum Thani governor Pirasak Hinmuangkao to the position of inspector-general at the ministry. Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit said Kachornsak Singtokul, deputy director-general of the Provincial Administration Department, has been appointed acting Pathum Thani governor. He said there should be no problems for Mr Kachornsak in taking over Mr Pirasak's duties since he formerly served as a district chief in many districts.
The transcript of the cabinet meeting however states concerning
2. นายขจรศักดิ์ สิงโตกุล รองผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด (นักปกครองต้น) จังหวัดปทุมธานี ให้ดำรงตำแหน่งผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด (นักปกครองสูง) จังหวัดปทุมธานี Kachornsak Singtokul, Deputy Province Governor of Pathum Thani transferred to post of province governor of Pathum Thani.
So both the original position of the new governor is wrong in one source, and also whether he became acting governor or full governor. I usually tend to believe the government document over the press, but on the other hand the list of governors and deputy governors of Pathum Thani does not list Kachornsak - or it is hopelessly out of date. Though the Interior Minister did not comment on plans to transfer other province governors of flooded provinces, this for sure won't be the only transfer - the annual reshuffle is already overdue as well, that one normally happened as of October 1st. That one is probably delayed due to the many transfers the new government has done, and the governors as a lower level in the bureaucracy hasn't been reached yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

License plate for Phayao

Following an inquiry by email on the provincial vanity license plates for four province I did not have in the Picasa album yet (of which Mae Hong Son and Nong Bua Lamphu seem to be not announced at all yet), I noticed that I had totally missed five announcements this year with new license plate images. I have posted all the images to Picasa already, but since the last was from earlier this month it is still not too old to get a dedicated posting on its announcement.

2011 Phayao plate
In fact, the plate for Phayao has been revised, as there was already one graphic announced in 2005. The new graphic shows the Phayao lake together with some lotus flowers and a longtail boat, and a rising (or setting) sun in the hills. The announcement was published October 12 2011 [Gazette].

2005 Phayao plate
The 2005 version of the plate [Gazette] is more simplistic, it also shows the Phayao lake as the main geographical feature of the province, together with a longtail boat. The main color is however a tone of pink, which has been replaced with the more yellow tone in the new design.

And just for completion, the other four provinces which got new license plate graphics were Nonthaburi, Nong Khai, Nakhon Sawan and Chaiyaphum.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DOLA municipality changes updated

When some time ago I discovered the DOLA municipal change documents for fiscal year 2011 well before the fiscal year ended, there were two possible explanations for this early posting - either there were no further municipal changes planned for the fiscal year, or there will be an update of that document later on. Now the document with the changes for fiscal year 2012 - which begun October 1st - has been posted already, and at the same time the one for 2011 was updated, thus it was option two.

However, giving a table with all the entries would be quite lengthy (and take a lot of time to compile), since there are 42 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities in September, and another 17 in October. Also, four subdistrict municipalities and two TAO are already upgraded (or set to be upgraded) to towns in fiscal year 2012. The sheet with the administrative data will contain all the changes soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Muban area change in Uttaradit

Two administrative villages in Mae Phun subdistrict, Laplae district, Uttaradit province had their boundaries adjusted, as before the municipality Hua Dong (เทศบาลตำบลหัวดง) covered both villages partially. The change has been done with two announcements, one for each affected village. At least judging from the Royal Gazette announcements, in past in similar cases usually the area of the municipality and the adjoining TAO has been changed, not the villages itself.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Four new municipalities announced

Another four TAO have been upgraded to municipalities, and these acts published in the Royal Gazette last week. Again, the announcements have been published shortly after being issued by the Ministry of Interior, which makes those still missing upgrade announcement from the upgrades four years ago even more strange.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bueng Kan emblem and flag?

Though I haven't yet found anything official on the province emblem yet, to my surprise a Youtube video showed up which at the beginning shows both a flag and an emblem for the new province.

The emblem, which is also the central element of the flag, shows Phu Tok hill surrounded by forests and with a lake in front - exactly the elements which were listed in the document I found recently. The flag shows this round emblem in middle, and three horizontal stripes purple-white-purple. No idea if the colors have any special meaning - if the date of creation of the province were used it should have featured green stripes, as March 23rd was a Wednesday and therefore had the color green.