Friday, June 18, 2010

Local government bylaws

Reading the latest book by of Duncan McCargo Tearing apart the land on the ongoing insurgency in the three Muslim provinces - quite a recommendable book - the following part of the TAO politics caught my eye.
Discussions with TAO members often raised questions about the limited powers of the organizations. Some nayok wanted the power to close down entertainment places (such as karaoke lounges) within their subdistricts. In fact, however, TAOs did have the power to issue local bylaws and were perfectly entitled to take a tough line on matters such as building control. Over one workshop lunch, it soon became clear to me that most nayok did not want to enact or enforce bylaws, which would make them unpopular and could potentially jeopardize their reelection. Only a handful of TAOs in the three provinces had exercised their right to set bylaws.
In a footnote he also explains
[...] in practice, these "tambon regulations" are subject to the scrutiny of district officers.
I happened to see such bylaws in the Royal Gazette before, yet never paid much attention to them. I picked just one such announcement by chance, on October 8 a bylaw titled "ข้อบัญญัติองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลพลูตาหลวง เรื่อง การควบคุมแหล่งเพาะพันธุ์ยุงลายเพื่อป้องกันโรคไข้เลือดออก พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๒" was published. Translated to English, the title means "Regulation of TAO Phlu Ta Luang (Sattahib district, Chonburi Province) controlling mosquito breeding sources to prevent dengue, B.E. 2552".

Another kind of similar announcements I notice because they showed up when searching for the Chumchon (ชุมชน), the administrative subdivision of the municipalities. Yet despite announcing the setup of these subdivisions, they seem to be something like the constitution of the municipality. One example dating back to January 2009 is titled "ระเบียบเทศบาลเมืองสองพี่น้อง ว่าด้วยการดำเนินงานชุมชนของเทศบาล พ.ศ. ๒๕๕๑" and is from the town municipality Song Phi Nong (เทศบาลเมืองสองพี่น้อง).

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