Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More special administrative areas?

Just on Friday I mentioned an old clipping on a planned special administrative area for Laem Chabang, I found the one below at thephuketinsider posted on last Friday as well.
News out of the nation's capitol has the island of Koh Samui and Mae Sot in Tak Province as lead contenders for upgrades to Special Administration Zones. Currently in Thailand only Bangkok and Pattaya fall under this sector. One of the key benefits of falling into this category is the ability to elect senior local Government officials rather then appointments that are routinely rotated throughout the various provinces of the country.
While there seems to be some confusion caused by the fact that the two cities Pattaya and Bangkok are both called "special administrative areas", the administrative structure is totally different - Pattaya is merely a special kind of municipality, while Bangkok is both a province and a municipality. Since I already knew that a special administrative area modeled after Pattaya was discussed for Mae Sot before, this is probably not about new province-like entities similar to Bangkok.

I found one additional article in Thai already dating from September mentioning both Mae Sot and Ko Samui, naming the new administration "เมืองพิเศษ" (Mueang Phiset, special town) - yet in another government press statement from October Mae Sot is named "เขตเศรษฐกิจพิเศษ", meaning just "special economic zone", which not necessarily includes administrative changes.

What surprises me is the fact that Ko Samui is proposed to be changed as well. Just one and a half year ago Ko Samui was upgraded from subdistrict municipality to town municipality, and even at first planned to become a city municipality. But anyway, it will be interesting to see what will happen with these two, whether the government will make separate style of special administrative areas for these two, or will extend and generalize the Mueang Pattaya act to these two areas instead.

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