Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Local administration numbers October 2012

The Department of Local Administration (DOLA) has published the numbers of the various local administrative entities at the end of the fiscal year, i.e. October 1 2012. This thus includes all the municipal changes in the past fiscal year - the central administrative subdivisions are not part of this release, as these are under the responsibility of another department - and except a few new Muban there were no changes in those numbers anyway.
  • PAO (องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 76
  • Municipalities (เทศบาล, Thesaban): 2266
    • City municipalities (เทศบาลนคร, Thesaban Nakhon): 29
    • Town municipalities (เทศบาลเมือง, Thesaban Mueang): 167
    • Subdistrict municipalities (เทศบาลตำบล, Thesaban Tambon): 2070
  • TAO (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 5509
  • Special administrative areas (องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ): 2
Comparing to the numbers of last year (though the list was from DOPA then), the municipal numbers have changed - 2 new cities, 12 more towns, and 170 more subdistrict municipalities, and 184 TAO less. Though a few of the TAO were directly upgraded to towns, the two new cities were towns before, so there were a few more than 184 municipal changes this year. I am now waiting for the list of all the changes to be updated, I am not sure if the board meeting transcripts are complete or an already approved changed was not executed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"The Nation" gets it all wrong

On November 7, village and subdistrict headmen from all over the country plan to stage a protest at the Royal Plaza to protest against the amendment of the Local Administration Act, which is scheduled to be discussed in parliament that day. Now this won't be noteworthy as I already reported about similar protests earlier, but what is striking is the article published by "The Nation" on this topic.
Kamnan and village headmen nationwide will rally in Bangkok next month to demand that their terms end at the age of 60 rather than after five years in office, as is the case at present.
Apparently "The Nation" lives in a different time, as the current active law has the headmen end their term at 60, it is the amendment in the legislative process right now which would change that. That sentence would have been true between 1999 and 2008.
He said he expected a large gathering, as there are about 250,000 Kamnans and village headmen nationwide.
There are 74956 administrative villages in Thailand as of December 2011. Not all of these have a headman - Muban within a town or city municipality (until Amendment 12 of the Local Administration Act this was mandatory), thus there are definitely less than 75000 headmen. Subdistrict headmen are also village headmen, so there don't add to that number. Only if including the (non-elected) deputy headmen - every Muban has two deputies, not sure about the Kamnan - one could reach to the number of 250,000.
At present, each kaman and village headman works to a five-year term, replacing the previous rule that allowed each to stay in the position until reaching the age of 60.
As already stated, this is totally bogus.
Kunae said that they wanted to back to the previous rule, claiming that the present rule did not respond to continuity of work and caused widespread corruption.
It's interesting that every change is claimed to lead to corruption or electoral fraud, and of course every interest group claims that in their proposal it will have less of these evils. Since there were 10 years with short terms already, why has nobody thought about doing a survey if there was more or less corruption during these times than in the last 4 years.

In my humble opinion, how can one have more corruption if an office holder has to stand re-election every five years, and at that time has to explain his actions and performance or any wealth accumulation to the electorate. Even though such a check by the electorate isn't working well in Thailand yet, it is still better than to hope for the superiors to remove bad headmen from their office. Besides, if an election is for twenty or thirty years instead of five years, then the stakes are much higher and thus also the temptation to use illegal ways to get elected.

But as mentioned in the last posting on this topic, as long as the transitory clause to keep those headmen currently in office till aged 60, the amendment is not worth much, and the current headmen don't need to worry about their investments into gaining their post.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Phuket to get a new province hall

The Ministry of Interior will invest 450 million Baht (15 million US$) to build a new province hall in Phuket. The province administration currently still resides in the historical province hall, a wooden building already 103 years old and already a registered monument under the protection of the Fine Arts Department since 1977 [Gazette]. The new building will be located right across the street from the historical building, an area which is currently occupied by tennis courts and the Sanam Chai sports field.
Plans to spend 450 million baht on a new Phuket Provincial Hall took a leap forward this week with the announcement of official approval to clear the 14-rai site on the corner opposite the current building.
Construction of the new center of administration for the island is hoped to begin next year.
Phuket Gazette, Plans unveiled for new, B450mn Phuket Provincial Hall, October 20 2012.
Compared with the historical building which has just two floors, the planned seven stories on a comparable base area seem a bit oversized, but on the other hand I was quite surprised when I walked along the current province hall and wondered how much small it is compared with other province halls, thus it must be very tight on office space inside. The new building is scheduled to take three years to build, thus it will be opened someday in 2016. The old building will then become an ideal location for a historic museum - like the historic province hall of Ratchaburi which now houses a branch museum of the National Museum.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Back to shorter headmen terms?

In 1999, the 10th amendment of the Local Administration Act of 1914 changed the terms of village and subdistrict headmen drastically. Until then, once a headman was elected he stayed in office until he (or she) reached the retirement age of 60, died or resigned, or did perform so badly in his job that the province governor removed him from his post. However starting in 1999, the headmen had to stand for re-election every five year, including those who were elected for a lifetime term before.

Amendment 11 in 2008 did revert this change and made the headmen again elected for a lifetime term. Interestingly, both these drastic changes were done by Democrat-led governments.

Now it seems Amendment 13 (Amendment 12 from 2009 kept headmen in office within town and city municipalities) is in the parliamentary process, and with that amendment the reversion will be reverted, thus five year terms will be re-introduced, and obviously creating fury among the headmen.
Some 400 kamnan and village headmen staged a brief rally at Parliament yesterday while lodging a petition calling for the legislature to drop a draft bill on local administration.
Coalition and opposition MPs agreed to initiate the bill after a public hearing, which showed that people wanted to elect their local chiefs, he said.
The draft provisions include a clause for local residents to elect their kamnan to serve a five-year term, he said, but there was no cap on terms served if re-elected.
Village headmen would also be elected officials, he added.
Under the draft, kamnan and village headmen would not be subject to mandatory retirement at the age of 60. In a transitional clause, incumbent kamnan and village headmen would be allowed to remain in office until retirement at 60 [Bolding added]. The draft would apply to their successors, who would have to be elected.
The Nation, Kamnan protest over Local Administration Bill, October 10 2012
While it is a return to the old system, the transitory clause makes this draft a sham - since the previous amendment almost all five year terms had expired and an election for a lifetime term was held already, thus it is certainly not what the people in the public hearing requested.

In my opinion, a lifetime term is an anachronism, which was justified in the past when it was difficult to organize local elections, but nowadays with easy travel and communication no reason remains why to stick to undemocratic lifetime terms. Especially since electoral fraud is still common in Thailand, a five year term give the local people the chance to correct their wrong decision influenced by money when the headman did not perform in office to their satisfaction. Right now, a headman has to buy his election into office just once, and then such needs to make sure any misdeeds in office aren't bad enough to get the governor's attention.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New board meeting transcripts

Another batch of board meeting transcript has been uploaded to the website of the Legal Affairs Bureau at the Office of the Permanent Secretary of Interior. The details on each meeting concerning any municipal changes will be uploaded to the dedicated blog in the next days, depending on how much time I find to work through those lists. Thus below is just a concise summary of all those meeting which contain anything interesting.

The website with the transcripts (Board 1 and Board 2) have changed a bit with this update as well, as now not only the transcript but also the agenda (for forthcoming meetings) and additional documents are available for download - at least prepared as columns in the table, so far there are no additional documents yet.
  • Meeting 55 on 2012-08-01: four TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities [Transcript]
  • Meeting 56 on 2012-08-07: five TAO renamed and upgraded to subdistrict municipalites [Transcript]
  • Meeting 57 on 2012-08-08: five TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities [Transcript]
  • Meeting 58 on 212-08-21: six TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipalities [Transcript]
  • Meeting 55 (Board 1) on 2012-08-27: one TAO and municipality to adjust their boundary, and one TAO upgraded to a town [Transcript]
  • Meeting 63 on 2012-09-18: two TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality, including one being renamed. [Transcript, Blog]
Additionally, the agenda of two forthcoming meetings contain relevant items as well.
  • Meeting 65 on 2012-10-16: two municipalities to modify their boundaries [Agenda]
  • Meeting 66 on 2012-10-17: one TAO to be upgraded to subdistrict municipality [Agenda]

Friday, October 12, 2012

More Streetview coverage in Thailand

Yesterday, Google added lot of areas all over the world with more Streetview imagery, including Thailand. Whereas in the original launch in March this year only Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket province got good coverage, now some more provinces got covered.
  • Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon already had some imagery, especially the parts close to Bangkok, but now these provinces are covered almost completely.
  • Nakhon Nayok is also covered well, just the road through Khao Yai is missing
  • The more remote parts of Chiang Mai got added, as well as a good deal of Chiang Rai province
  • The road from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai is also covered now, like the road from Bangkok to Phuket in the first batch
  • Also, the road to Si Sawat in Kanchanaburi can now be driven online
  • Small parts of Suphanburi and Ayutthaya province are added as well as the northern tip of Chonburi province.
Richard Barrow has posted a comparison of the coverage around Bangkok on his blog. According to Google, right now the Streetview cars take imagery in Chonburi around Pattaya as well as in Suphanburi. I hope the South as well as the Isan will see those cars soon as well.

Thaiyawat TAO
While browsing through this imagery is fun by itself, it is also a nice tool for my data collection on the local administrations. I still haven't found any comprehensive map with the locations of the local administration offices, and just looking from above often doesn't give any clear indication which building is the correct office.

With the first Streetview data I was able to complete my map with the local administrations in Phuket, so with a bit of luck I may be able to do the same with the provinces around Bangkok now. For example, when I wrote about the incident in Thaiyawat TAO two weeks ago, I tried to find the location of the office which seemed to be close to temple Wat Thaiyawat. But only with Streetview I was now able to identify the actual building - not a representative large new building easily spotted in satellite imagery, like the one in many local administrations.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Muban in Lampang

Yesterday the creation of two new administrative villages (Muban, หมู่บ้าน) in Lampang province was announced in the Royal Gazette. The announcement was signed on June 19 by province governor Thawatchai Thoetphaothai (ธวัชชัย เทอดเผ่าไทย), and came into effect the same day. The creation was approved by the Ministry of Interior on June 12 in the ministerial order มท ๐๓๑๐.๑/๓๑๑๒ - these ministerial orders however seem to be not available online anywhere.
  • Ban Mo Luang (บ้านเมาะหลวง), Mu 8 of Mae Mo subdistrict, Mae Mo district was split to form the new Mu 12 named Ban Wiang Hong Lan Na (บ้านเวียงหงส์ล้านนา).
  • Ban Huai Rak Mai (บ้านห้วยรากไม้), Mu 5 of Sop Pat subdistrict, Mae Mo district was split to form the new Mu 8 named Ban Mai Chalong Rat (บ้านใหม่ฉลองราช).
The announcement also includes the boundary description of both the new villages as well as those villages which had their boundary changed, but sadly I have not enough time to translate all the coordinates to a map this time.

And since I mentioned the ministerial order, I have now added that piece of data into my XML as well, thus the XML entry for these two new Muban now contains the line
<ministerialorder ministry="MOI" title="มท ๐๓๑๐.๑/๓๑๑๒" date="2012-06-12"/>

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Province governor reshuffle 2012 - Part 2

In the cabinet meeting Tuesday last week, the province governor reshuffle list was approved, filling the vacancies created by retired and promoted governors. A total of 24 officials are t change post with immediate effect. The province governor posts which become vacant due to these transfers will be filled in another reshuffle by promotion of vice governors. The new governors took office on October 8, as found in the governor list of Chanthaburi, also that day the new Phuket governor arrived on the island.

The full list as found in the cabinet meeting transcript, with the governor romanizations done by me, hopefully without any big mistake.
  1. Pracha Terat (นายประชา เตรัตน์), deputy secretary in the office of the permanent secretary to become inspector general in the office of the permanent secretary.
  2. Charin Chakkaphak (นายจรินทร์ จักกะพาก), governor of Sakon Nakhon to become deputy secretary in the office of the permanent secretary.
  3. Bunsong Techamanisat (นายบุญส่ง เตชะมณีสถิตย์), deputy director in DOLA to become governor of Sakon Nakhon.
  4. Somsak Suwansucharit (นายสมศักดิ์ สุวรรณสุจริต), governor of Kalasin to become governor of Khon Kaen
  5. Seni Chitkasem (นายเสนีย์ จิตตเกษม), governor of Rayong to become governor of Udon Thani
  6. Wichit Chatphaisit (นายวิชิต ชาตไพสิฐ), governor of Chanthaburi to become governor of Rayong
  7. Surachai Khan-asa (นายสุรชัย ขันอาสา), governor of Lamphun to become governor of Chanthaburi
  8. Phonsak Choennai (นายพรศักดิ์ เจียรณัย), governor of Bueng Kan to become governor of Chaiyaphum
  9. Phirasak Hinmueangkao (นายพีระศักดิ์ หินเมืองเก่า), governor of Ranong to become governor of Chumphon
  10. Thanin Suphasaen (นายธานินทร์ สุภาแสน), governor of Chiang Rai to become governor of Chiang Mai
  11. Phongsak Wangsamao (นายพงษ์ศักดิ์ วังเสมอ), governor of Nan to become governor of Chiang Rai
  12. Wanchat Wongchaichana (นายวันชาติ วงษ์ชัยชนะ), governor of Roi Et to become governor of Nakhon Pathom
  13. Somsak Khamthawiphrom (นายสมศักดิ์ ขำทวีพรหม), inspector-general in the office of the permanent secretary to become governor of Roi Et
  14. Winay Buapradit (นายวินัย บัวประดิษฐ์), governor of Phetchaburi to become governor of Nakhon Ratchasima
  15. Pricha Roengchan (นายปรีชา เรืองจันทร์), governor of Nakhon Sawan to become governor of Phitsanulok
  16. Chaiyarot Midaeng (นายชัยโรจน์ มีแดง), governor of Phitsanulok to become governor of Nakhon Sawan
  17. Siriphong Thantrakun (นายศิริพงศ์ ห่านตระกูล), inspector-general in the office of the permanent secretary to become governor of Pathum Thani
  18. Pramut Lamun (นายประมุข ลมุล), inspector-general in the office of the permanent secretary to become governor of Pattani
  19. Chakrin Plianwong (นายจักริน เปลี่ยนวงษ์), governor of Sukhothai to become governor of Phichit
  20. Maitri Inthusut (นายไมตรี อินทุสุต), governor of Phayao to become governor of Phuket
  21. Phichet Phaibunsiri (นายพิเชษฐ ไพบูลย์ศิริ), governor of Singburi to become governor of Lopburi
  22. Khanit Iamrahong (นายคณิต เอี่ยมระหงษ์), governor of Buriram to become governor of Samut Prakan
  23. Wanchai Sutthiwonchai (นายวันชัย สุทธิวรชัย), inspector-general in the office of the permanent secretary to become governor of Ubon Ratchathani
  24. Kamthon Thawonsathit (นายกำธร ถาวรสถิต์), governor of Amnat Charoen to become inspector-general in the office of the permanent secretary.