[...] In fact, Jacquemyns had recommended these since 1892, but he emphasized them again in 1897, along with the significant document known as The Outline of Scheme for the Creation of Municipality of Bangkok.As I know almost nothing about the sanitary district except their names and numbers, even more interesting than the above quoted text are the references given. Especially the 2006 dissertation "Sukhaphiban: Local Administration in Siam 1897-1933" (สุขาภิบาล: การปกครองท้องที่สยาม พ.ศ. 2440-2476) by Maetheepat Jeongwarotai (เมธีพัชญ์ จงวโรทัย) caught my interest, Sadly the only thing in English is the abstract
Accordingly, even King Chulalongkorn agreed with the recommendations, but he worried about these following problems. Firstly, the absence of political participation experience of the Siamese; secondly, that the Siamese may be forced to pay tax alone because the refusal to pay tax by Europeans and Asiatic subjects who claimed extraterritoriality rights; and lastly, it was not suitable to apply at that time. In spite of the fact that there were some arguments, Sukhaphiban was established by The Sanitary Decree of 1897. However, the adoption of participation did not appear in Bangkok at that time, but eight years later came to terms in 1905. The application of local self-governing was known as Sukhaphiban Hua Muang (Sanitary District) at Tha-Chalom District in Samut Sakhon Province, and was called Sukhaphiban Hua Muang Thambon Tha-Chalom, Changwat Samut Sakhon. Two years following, the Act of Sanitary District was enacted in 1908. Throughout the following years, other sanitary districts were formed in certain major cities, and played a significant role in public services at the local level until the end of the absolute monarchy when the act was modified in 1915 and abolished by the Municipal Act in 1933. The sanitary districts during 1915-1933 increased to thirty six districts for 25 years.
The objective of this thesis is to study the evolution of "Sukhaphiban" during 1897-1933. Starting from the reign of King Rama V when Western Colonialism became the most serious threat, the king believed that the promotion of civilization was the only way to prevent the nation from being subjected to 'the White Man's Burden'. Thus he launched "Sukhaphiban", local administration systems led by bureaucrats, to 'civilize' his subjects and towns. During the reigns of King Rama VI and Rama VII, the political situations changed significantly. People in increasing number demanded their basic rights and political participation. Soon, Siamese elites realized that "Sukhaphiban" no longer matched the demand. There was a wide discussion among the elites about the idea of "Municipality" a system that would allow local citizens to elect their own representatives. Nevertheless, it was only after the 1932 revolution that this system was truly introduced and implementedThanks to a friend working in a Thai university I have the full text of the dissertation now, but as it is a scanned PDF I really have to read it and cannot do the shortcut through Google Translate - so it will take quite long until I can post any interesting details I learned from that dissertation.