Friday, August 26, 2016

New Muban in Udon Thani

Yesterday, the creation of a new administrative in Udon Thani was announced in tge Royal Gazette, becoming effective with its announcement.
This announcement is still based on the Ministerial Act มท ๐๓๑๐.๑/ว ๗๔๖๕ from December last year. There were other Muban in Udon Thani created before based on this same Ministerial Act, but I have no idea what caused the delay for this Muban. And even more interesting - the new Muban got the number 21, however the subdistrict so far had just 19 Muban - thus unless this is a mistake the creation of Muban 20 must be still in the pipeline.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

All TAO to become municipalities?

Yesterday, the national reform council (สภาขับเคลื่อนการปฏิรูปประเทศ) has by a big majority approved the plan to reform the local government units. This plan still has to go through some more bureaucratic steps before becoming effective - it must be approved by the cabinet, then reviewed by the Council of State and considered by the cabinet again, and finally going through the parliament to become a law - but as all these are either the military junta themselves or their handpicked subordinates its quite likely this plan will make it to law in the not too far future.

Prachatai has a long article about this decision, but there seem to be no English sources available. Linked within the article is a scan of the draft law. Being quite lengthy and having lots of technical term I can only get a few parts of the content, the main being section 5 which states that all TAO shall become subdistrict municipalities (Thesaban Tambon), and also states that in case the name collides with an already existing other municipality the one with the highest municipal level or the one being a municipality first shall keep its name. Later sections name the various officials with the TAO, and also the provincial administrative organizaions are mentioned, but my Thai isn't good enough to get any details in these parts.

 The massive upgrade of all 5334 TAO somehow resembles a similar steps done in 1999, when all the 980 sanitary districts were upgraded to subdistrict municipalities. The NCPO announcement 29/2016 already prepared for this occasion to allow the current councilors and mayor to remain in office after the upgrade, to avoid massive vacant offices until the junta believes the country is ready to resume with the local elections. I just hope it will be not just a change in naming, but also taking the chance to merge local governments where applicable, so they are able to perform the additional tasks which a subdistrict municipality has to provide to its citizen.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

2016 province governor reshuffle - part one

Phuket Gazette reports that the province governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada has been assigned as the new governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat, notifying me that the annual reshuffle of the governors has already begun. I found the full list of 19 transfers on Channel 7, but I will omit those which are not related to province governors. There will be further reassignments and also promotions of vice governors later to fill the vacancies, so this is only the the first part of annual reshuffle.
  • Prayoon Rattanasenee (นายประยูร รัตนเสนีย์), governor of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, becomes deputy secretary of the Interior.
  • Dejrath Simsiri (นายเดชรัฐ สิมศิริ), governor of Trang, becomes inspector-general in the MOI.
  • Sanit Khaosa-at (นายสนิท ขาวสะอาด), governor of Phetchaburi, becomes inspector-general in the MOI.
  • Supachai Iamsuwan (นายศุภชัย เอี่ยมสุวรรณ), governor of Phayao, becomes governor of Phitsanulok.
  • Surasak Charoensirichot (นายสุรศักดิ์ เจริญศิริโชติ), governor of Uttaradit, becomes governor of Rayong.
  • Phiphat Ekphaphan (นายพิพัฒน์ เอกภาพันธ์), governor of Mae Hong Son, becomes governor of Uttaradit.
  • Chatchai Uthaipun (นายชาติชาย อุทัยพันธ์), governor of Nakhon Pathom, becomes governor of Samut Prakan.
  • Adiak Thepeat (นายอดิศักดิ์ เทพอาสน์), governor of Sakon Nakhon, becomes governor of Nakhon Pathom.
  • Anuson Kaeokangwan (นายอนุสรณ์ แก้วกังวาล), governor of Roi Et, becomes governor of Buri Ram.
  • Chamroen Tipayapongtada (นายจำเริญ ทิพญพงศ์ธาดา), governor of Phuket, becomes governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
  • Phakwan Thianthai (นายภัควรรณ์ เทียนไชย), governor of Sa Kaeo, becomes governor of Phetchaburi.
  • Suriya Omrarotwonwuthi (นายสุริยยะ อมรโรจน์วรวุฒิ), governor of Pattani, becomes governor ofg Prachinburi.
  • Banthit Thewithiwarak (นายบัณฑิต เทวีทิวารักษ์), governor of Phetchabun, becomes governor of Sara Buri.
  • Chatporn Rajdussadee (นางฉัตรพร ราษฎร์ดุษดี), governor of Phichit, becomes governor of Chon Buri.
  • Phongsak Prichawit (นายพงษ์ศักดิ์ ปรีชาวิทย์), governor of Bueng Kan, becomes governor of Khon Kaen.
  • Pasin Komolvieh (นายพศิน โกมลวิชญ์), governor of Nong Bua Lam Phu, becomes governor of Sing Buri.
Of these, the governor of Nakhon Pathom, Phetchabun and Bueng Kan were two years at his current position and the one from Sa Kaeo for four years, all other were reassigned after one year already. The governor of Pattani even just started in March this year when he replaced the governor removed by NCPO order 12/2016. Several of those governors replaced are in fact retired, unlike other years I was able to find the list of the 21 governors leaving government service this time as well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My @amphoe collection

Some of the souvenirs I brought back from my recent visit in Thailand was the completion of my @amphoe collection. When I visited last year, the first issue was just out and the second came out while I still was in Thailand. Thanks to my brother in law, I did not miss the issues published in the meantime - he went to the province hall in Surat Thani every two months to collect one magazine for me. Even though the magazine is also available online - and even available online before the print version comes out - I am old-fashioned and still like to have the paper version as well, and now I have all seven issue published so far.

And even more special is the shirt - when we picked issue number two last year,  my family noticed a competition on the back-side of the magazine and directly my mother-in-law posed in front of the province hall with the magazine in hand. And she won and got that shirt for reward and gave it to me, as I am the one who is crazy about the Amphoe...

I will certainly keep on checking their Facebook page for the next issues, even though I can only read the small bilingual section that always contains some interesting facts. And hope next year I will be able to show an even larger collection.

Monday, August 8, 2016

How many Muban are there in Thailand?

The administrative villages (Muban, หมู่บ้าน) are the central administrative subdivision for which it is most difficult to find authoritative information. I still haven't find any complete official lists online by the Department of Provincial Administration, though it seems they publish a list every year named "ทำเนียบท้องที่ พุทธศักราช ####", but only the 2003 edition is online and hardly readable as being scanned at too low resolution. Haven't had any luck yet to find any of these book in a library in Bangkok...

While it is difficult to get a complete list of all the Muban, at least the total number should be easier to find. Every year DOPA publishes a short statistics showing the numbers of the administrative subdivision, thus the latest official number is 74965. I already mentioned that my own list compiled mostly from the postcode page of noplink has a few more, 75090 as of December 31st 2015. Another source is the Statistical Yearbook published by the NSO, the 2015 edition lists however a much lower number of 55387. Apparently NSO only counts those Muban which are still in use administratively, the difference of almost 20000 Muban are probably those which no longer have a village headman as being part of a municipality.

Since I collected the DOPA number for several years already, and also now worked through all the yearbooks available online, its possible to compile a little chart showing the development of the numbers. And as since 2002 the creation of new Muban was announced in the Royal Gazette, I could also calculate the past numbers from my data. The actual numbers can be found in this spreadsheet, but the graphics is what shows most.
My numbers (yellow) and the DOPA numbers are almost same, the difference of 125 is hardly visible in this scale. However for 2002 the difference is already 1241. thus apparently not all Muban creation were announced in the Royal Gazette. The Yearbook numbers are steadily decreasing, interestingly in the 2010 yearbook the DOPA full number from 2008 was published.

I'd love to get my list in better sync with the other data, but for that I would need access to those Local Directory (ทำเนียบท้องที่) books. Also, there are holes in the Yearbook graph, some of the latest issues are not found online. During my latest stay in Bangkok I tried to find some in a library, but despite having them in the catalog they weren't on the shelve where the belonged. The online library of the NSO is sadly also no help, there are only few issues listed there, and most of those don't work. If anyone this access to a university library having these books is willing to help, please contact me.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Muban in Nakhon Sawan

Somehow I almost missed the announcement of yet another new administrative village last week, this time in Nakhon Sawan province. The Muban became effective with the publication in the Royal Gazette on June 16.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

NCPO Announcement 29/2016

Today, the 29th announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order of this year (คำสั่งหัวหน้าคณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ ที่ ๒๙/๒๕๕๙) was announced in the Royal Gazette, which by its publication became active law. This announcement deals with the local government administrators and councilors in case of a change in the municipal status. So far, whenever a municipality or a subdistrict administrative organization changes its administrative status, the mayor and the council have to vacate their office and stand for a new election. Especially for the council this is logical, as with the change of status the size of the council changes, thus the previously elected council doesn't fit anymore. Thus, so far usually all the municipal upgrades were done whenever the terms of either the council and/or the mayor ends, and a new election was pending anyway. However, in some cases the time till the next election was quite long, as the Election Commission first has to come up with a new constituency outline matching the new size of the council.

However, since the coup in 2014 there were no elections for the local governments anymore, by announcements 85 and 86 all of the local elections were halted and those mayors and councilors in office were given an indefinite extension of their term by announcement 1/2015. As even for a nation election the schedule is still unsure and depends on the constitutional referendum, those less important local elections certainly have to wait even longer.

I am not sure if this announcement somehow relates with an announcement by the Department of Local Administration from last week titled "แนวทางการแก้ไขปัญหาและผลกระทบจากการปรับโครงสร้างเทศบาล" (way to solve municipal restructure) - which if I understand it correctly suggests that TAO with more than 20 million Baht income should be upgraded to municipalities.