Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ko Samui upgraded to city municipality

Four years ago, the board to consider draft laws had already decided that Ko Samui municipality (เทศบาลเมืองเกาะสมุย) - which covers the whole Samui island - should be upgraded from subdistrict municipality status to city municipality status. However surprisingly, the actual upgrade published in the Royal Gazette then just upgraded it to a town municipality, just one step higher in municipal status and not directly at the highest status.

Since I haven't seen it mentioned in any of the recent board meeting transcripts, it was now again a surprise when Khun Wisarut in the 2bangkok forum posted the link to the NathonCity website, which has the fax with the upgrade order in their news section. According to that scan, signed and send on August 12, the upgrade become effective September 14, the day after the term of the current council and mayor ends. Thus normally there should be a new election for both council and mayor within 45 days, but this depends on whether the Election Commission will be able to draw new constituency boundaries within that time - with the upgrade there are now 24 councilors election elected in four constituencies instead of 18 councilors in three constituencies.

It is somewhat strange that four years ago Samui was denied the city status, not it received it even though there was now also a change to a special administrative area like Pattaya in the discussion. I don't know any of the internals - maybe those who blocked the full upgrade last time are not in power anymore? Or drafting a law for a special administrative area couldn't be done quickly enough to be able to use the end of the terms for the status change? Or the city status was now granted to stop the request of becoming a special administrative area, which would mean even less of the tax income of Samui would go to the other parts of the province and country.

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