Saturday, January 5, 2008

Administration of Siam 1904, Part 2

The second part of the section Administration, Chapter II (The Government) of the book "The Kingdom of Siam 1904", Pages 13 to 15.

Local Government OfficialsEach province is again subdivided into districts under the district officer (Amphur), who is assisted by one or more assistant amphurs according to the extent of the district, and by a subordinate revenue officer.

The district is again divided into villages under a village headman, and the villages are subdivided into hamlets under an elder.

A hamlet is a collection of about ten houses or one hundred people, who elect their own elder under the presidency of the district officer. The ballot may be either open or secret and a bare majority is sufficient. The duties of the elder are to report any cases of crime to the headman and to preserve a register of people in his hamlet, to summon the people in cases of flood or fire, and to assist in arresting criminals. All the inhabitants are bound under penalties to assist their elders in the execution of the law when called on.

A village consists of ten hamlets. The headman is elected by the council of elders and receives confirmation from the governor of the province.

His duties are to supervise the elders and to in-form them of any new government regulation, to provide transport and assistance for persons travel-ling on government business, which must, however, be paid for by such persons, the headman having no power to requisition either goods or labor without proper payment.

The district is composed of villages the total number of whose inhabitants is not less than ten thousand people.

The district officer or amphur is selected from among the assistant district officers or householders of the district. The governor of the province sends three or more names to the high commissioner, who selects one of them. He chooses his own assistants, but their appointment must be approved of by the governor and confirmed by the high commissioner.

All other appointments are made by the Ministry of the Interior. District officers, headmen, and elders must be Siamese subjects resident in their districts and take the oaths of allegiance twice a year according to their own form of religion. There is no religious disability.

One most important feature of the administration is the meeting of high commissioners, who assemble once a year at the capital under the presidency of the minister to discuss and draw up the programme for the following year and report on the past year's work.

Under the Ministry of the Interior are also the Forest Department and the Mining Department; under the Ministry of Agriculture are the Survey, Land Record, and Irrigation Departments.

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