Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Patong special administrative area?

While the special administrative area of Mae Sot is still only in the discussion and - as far as I know - no draft law has been presented to the cabinet or parliament so far, and also some other areas which were in discussion to receive special status earlier haven't shown up in the news for quite some time, now yet another area has been added to the queue. Phuket Gazette reported yesterday that following a peaceful protest for longer opening times of the nightlife venues in Patong (เทศบาลเมืองป่าตอง) on Phuket island now led to the government picking up the issue.
Government Spokesman Prompong Nopparit, in Phuket on Saturday, pledged to take up the issue with Pheu Thai ministers at a meeting in Bangkok today. [...] “But all entertainment venues in Thailand are required to follow the law under the Ministry of Interior. I will raise this issue for discussion at the Pheu Thai Party meeting on Tuesday,” he said. “For the long term, Patong should apply to be a special administrative area for tourism, just like Pattaya. That will make it easier to manage all the local problems without going through the Ministry of Interior,” Mr Prompong added.
It sounds a bit strange to me that it is necessary to change the administrative status of an area to have to ability to override a national law, when it were (to my naive viewpoint) much easier to amend the law to allow local governments to issue exceptions. Since all of the local governments are under control by the Ministry of Interior, this could still deny the exception if they believe the local government has gone too far. But since it would be interesting to see the administrative status change I will definitely follow this case as well - and since there is an English language newspaper covering all the Phuket issues well it will be easy to stay up to date in this case.

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