Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mae Hong Son province to become world heritage city?

Right now Thailand has only five sites officially registered at UNESCO as World Heritage. Given the big touristic boost such an official recognition can give the region, already in 2005 it was reported that the responsible department submitted 12 further sites for consideration, however so far only two show in the tentative list of future world heritage sites.

While all of these have nothing to do with the administrative system, the latest proposed submission to the heritage list does. Modeled after the Lao town Luang Prabang, now the whole province Mae Hong Son in the remote northwest of the country is supposed to receive the world heritage badge to boost the tourism there. The news report on this reads as follows
The Ministry of Culture is prepared to submit Mae Hong Son Province to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site.

Culture Minister Teera Slukpetch said the Ministry was prepared to push Mae Hong Son Province as a World Heritage City. He had discussed with Mae Hong Son Governor Thongchai Wongrieanthong and found that the Province planned to put all power lines underground for better outlook of the city.

Mr Teera said buildings in the Province were unique, and the province itself had the potential to become the first World Heritage City of Thailand like Luang Prabang, which was listed as the first World Heritage City of Laos.

Mr Teera said he really supported the idea since the new status of the city would attract tourists to come and witness the beauty in the way of life and culture of residents, bringing in more income to the Province.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Background on the Phuket governor transfer

In the online edition of Phuket News I found an interesting article which gives quite some more background on what happens behind the curtain in the province governor reshuffles.

Dr. Preecha Ruangjan (ปรีชา เรืองจันทร์) had just become governor of Phuket in October last year, and was now transferred to Phitsanulok in northern Thailand. He is replaced by Wichai Phraisa-ngop (วิชัย ไพรสงบ), who was governor in Singburi since October and previously was governor of Phang Nga.

While it would be easy to assume that the whole reshuffle now was only done to revert the reshuffle in October which was still done by the PPP-led Somchai government. But unlike the case of the Chiang Rai governor, in this case one does not need to assume political reasons behind the transfer. The article refers to Mrs Anchalee Vanich Thepabutr (อัญชลี เทพบุตร), former president of the provincial administrative organization (PAO) of Phuket and wife of a member of parliament from Phuket, who states that in fact it was Dr. Preecha himself who requested a transfer, as he has more experience for an agricultural province than for the tourism business which dominates in Phuket.

As a side-effect after the transfer he is now much closer to his home province Phichit, whereas his successor could return to the south after only a few month serving in the central Thai province.

Slightly related: while looking for more links and information on this topic, I also found an interview with Niran Kalayanamit (นิรันดร์ กัลยาณมิตร), who was governor of Phuket 2006-2008.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pronunciation and romanization of districts names

Some time ago, the Thai Wikipedian Potapt changed in few Wikipedia articles the spelling of Khwao Sinarin district to Khwao Sinrin. As I thought that all the articles were spelled according to the recommended English spellings as I found them in a list of the Royal Institute at first look this seemed like a mistake. But as I already knew Potapt as a very diligent contributor on the district and province articles in the Thai Wikipedia, there must have been more behind this.

It turned out that he (or she, don't know anything else than the username) referred in his change to the book "ชื่อจังหวัด อำเภอ/กิ่งอำเภอ ตำบล เขต และแขวง ไทย-อังกฤษ" published by the Department of Provincial Administration. It is the same one which is available online, and it contains the recommended English spelling down to subdistrict (Tambon) level. I mentioned it here before, and in fact Khwao Sinarin was one of the 135 romanizations which seemed wrong, contradict the normal RTGS rules, or contradict the above mentioned list of recommended spellings.

Another source mentioned by him was booklet named เขวาสินรินทร์, published in 2003 by the Royal Institute which gives the pronunciation of the district names, which for some complicate Sanskrit names is necessary even for Thai people. And there it also says it is pronounced "เขฺวา-สิน-ริน", Khwao Sin Rin. But even within DOPA one can find pages where it is spelled Sinrin as well as Sinarin, so no consistency there.

It is really a pity I never got any reply when I sent my list of corrections to DOPA after processing the complete book.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rename of constituency in Sakon Nakhon

Last minute before I leave I noticed this new announcement in the Royal Gazette. At first look it seemed to be the rename of a subdistrict (tambon) in Sawang Daen Din district, Sakon Nakhon province, as its title says "เปลี่ยนแปลงแก้ไขชื่อตำบล" (change to correct name of subdistrict). And even my tool to find such new announcements assigned it into this category.

But in fact it is not the subdistrict itself which is renamed, but the constituency, which was previously named “ตำบลดอนเขือง” (Don Khueang subdistrict), as it only covered the subdistrict municipality Don Khueang (เทศบาลตำบลดอนเขือง). But in February 2005 the boundaries of the constituency were changed and it now covers non-municipal parts of the subdistrict Waeng as well - the municipality Don Chiang is a former sanitary district (sukhaphiban) which covers only the central part of the subdistrict. So in fact only the constituency (เขตเลือกตั้ง) was renamed to “ตำบลแวง” (Waeng subdistrict).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

List of Tambon Councils 1999-2001

On the website of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) I finally found lists of all the Tambon Councils (สภาตำบล). As the subpages are not indexed by google, so it was more or less fluke I played with the image map of the index page and discovered the interesting stuff below.

The Tambon Councils (TC) are also a local administrative entity, however even lower than the subdistrict administration organizations (TAO), without any elected council and not a legal person. All the current TAOs were in fact created by upgrading the Tambon Councils. A few remained after the big wave of TAO creations 1996-1999, in fact those lists contain 214 entries for 2001 and 219 for 2000 and 1999. I already found announcements in the Royal Gazette by which a lot of TCs were merged into either municipalities or TAO in 2003 and 2004, but never knew if any TCs survived till today.

Thus by checking these lists of TCs with those announcements I had processed before, I could eliminate all but a just about 5 of them. It turned out that some I simply overlooked when translating the announcement into XML as I did not notice it were two TC simultaneously merged into one TAO or municipality. Another two I found in announcements I did not look at before as the title was different from the standard ones. It only leaves a single TC I cannot find anything about - Lamphu (สภาตำบลลำภู). But it seems that one was a quite peculiar one, because in the tables it has the comment "ไม่มีประชากร" (does not have population), not surprisingly as the whole subdistrict is part of the town Nong Bua Lamphu anyway. But the tables are not fully correct either, a few TC are mentioned in the 2004 announcements but not listed in the tables.

But in summary: The last Tambon Councils were abolished in 2004, since then it only has TAO and municipalities.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Publications of the King Prajadhipok’s Institute

I was just looking in Google for any news on the pending repeat of the PAO chairman election in Surat Thani, and directly related I only found that the chairman of Phuket PAO received a yellow card as well and there needs to be a by-election in Phuket now as well. But much more interesting was another document returned by the search - Volume 4 Issue 1 of the King Prajadhipok's Institute Newsletter dealing with the PAO elections in 2004. It not only shows the full results of these elections (except for Buriram where the election was in 2003 already), but also an analysis of the outcome written by Michael H. Nelson.

While that was already a very interesting find, checking the website of King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI) I quickly found there are also some publications downloadable as PDF files, all on the local government structures. These have to wait till after my vacation to be read however, but I thought I should share them directly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thailand trip 2009

I will leave for the annual vacation in Thailand shortly, and thus will only be occasionally be able to respond to email or comments. I'll also switch on comment moderation, so I won't get surprise by any inappropriate comments later on. Also probably all the postings in the next weeks will be those I have prepared already and set to get public by automatic, but if I have time and internet I might post a photo blog like postings now and then.

Some places I plan to visit and which are related to the topics of this blog
In case  you have any last-minute recommendations to be added to this list, or want me to contact you in Thailand, you'd better hurry so I can get the message before I leave.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Numeric codes for local government units by DOLA

Once again I discovered something very interesting only by sheer chance. I was browsing a bit on the website of the Department of Local Administration (DOLA), and just downloaded an Excel file linked there without reading the description first.

The link to this file is titled "รหัสองค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่น สำหรับลงทะเบียนฝึกอบรม", which means "code of local administrative organization for register training". It contains all of the local government entities in Thailand (except of Bangkok), with the code (รหัสอปท.) in the first column, name and type (ชื่ออปท.) in the second, and province and district in the last two. The file is relatively recent, according to the file information stored by Excel itself it was created in October 2008.

The interesting part is of course the codes, which are created according to the following scheme
  • 1st digit: Type of the local government
    • 2 = Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO, อบจ.)
    • 3 = City Municipality (เทศบาลนคร), also including the special administration of Pattaya (อปท.รูปแบบพิเศษเมืองพัทยา)
    • 4 = Town Municipality (เทศบาลเมือง)
    • 5 = Subdistrict Municipality (เทศบาลตำบล)
    • 6 = Subdistrict (Tambon) Administrative Organization (TAO, อบต.)
  • 2nd and 3rd digit: the geocode of the province, as defined by TIS 1099:2548 and DOPA
  • 4th and 5th digit: the geocode of the district, in case of the PAO it is 01
  • 6th and 7th digit: simple counting of the entities
Just because it is the first in the table sorted by the Thai alphabet I am using the local government units of Mueang Krabi district as an example.

The number in the third column is the geocode as defined by DOPA for the subdistrict which corresponds with the TAO. I am not sure if this list is supposed to become the official geocodes for the local government units, but if they intend this I don't think it'd be a good idea. Especially including the type into the code is a bad idea, as all of the municipalities and TAO change their type with time. Then with an upgrade the code has to change, and even though the entity stayed the same it gets a new code. Making this code the first digit even makes it difficult to sort, unlike the DOPA geocodes geographically related units don't have numbers closeby. And additionally these codes don't fit together with the codes issued by DOPA, or the municipality codes I found earlier.

Due to the plain numbering of all entities of one kind in one district, the TAO also loose the connection to the corresponding subdistrict. Even though TAO and Tambon are two different things, it'd make sense to have a code for the TAO which make it easy to get to the Tambon code.

I also spotted one mistake in this list already - the city of Surat Thani has the code 4840101, however according to the scheme one would assume it to have 3840101.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Governors of Chaiyaphum province

I am still working through the governor names for the October 2008 province governor reshuffle, and while doing so adding the governors in the XML as far into the past as possible. Some provinces have complete lists of their governors from the setup of the province, while others only show the curriculum vitae of the current governor and I can only add the names I collected myself.

The governor list of Chaiyaphum so far is the longest one, as it goes back till the year 1817 (BE 2360), when the province was recreated by Laotian settlers led by Lae (แล). As the leader of a Mueang he then received a title from the King, so he was thereafter known as Phraya Phakdi Chumphon (พระยาภักดีชุมพล). Looking at the table, one notices that the first six governors were all named Phraya Phakdi Chumphon, only their forenames (in brackets) differs. Every new incumbent was bestowed with that name by the king. Though that list does not show it, but it is quite likely that all these six governors were in fact from the same family, as the post of a governor was an heredity one - not by law but by practice.

In 1897, when Prince Damrong was working on the thesaphiban administrative reforms, the first governor without a royal title was installed, Lieutenant Thoto (นายร้อยโทโต๊ะ). In most cases the removal of the old governor family was done when the last incumbent died and the post was vacant, and then instead of the son of the late governor an officer from Bangkok was appointed. In the following years most of the governors were member of the nobility, as can be seen by their titles Praya (พระยา), Phra (พระ), Luang (หลวง) or Khun (ขุน). The last governor with such a title was in 1954 - as the bestowing of these names ceased years before (not sure when exactly) he was probably just one of the last civil officers with such a title.

The current governor Thawon Phrommichai (นายถาวร พรหมมีชัย) is already the 59th governor of Chaiyaphum. Thus since 1897 in average a governor was only two years in office before being transferred to another post.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Number of administrative entities 2008

Just like last year, DOPA has now published the numbers of administrative entities as of December 31 2008. The one page PDF gives the following numbers:
  • Central administration
    • Provinces (changwat, จังหวัด): 75
    • Districts (amphoe, อำเภอ): 877
    • Subdistricts (tambon, ตำบล): 7,255
    • Villages (muban, หมู่บ้าน): 74,944
  • Local Administration
    • Provincial administration organizations (PAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด): 75
    • Cities (thesaban nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 23
    • Towns (thesaban mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 140
    • Subdistrict municipalities (thesaban tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 1,468
    • Subdistrict (Tambon) administration organizations (TAO or SAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล): 6,145
  • Special administrative entities: 2 (Bangkok and Pattaya)
The population number was already announced earlier as 62,828,706 citizen - 31,007,857 men and 31,820,849 women.

In the central administration there was no change at all, not even new administrative village. The only changes were with the municipalities, 140 instead of 129 towns, 1,468 instead of 1,124 subdistrict municipalities, and 6,145 instead of 6,500 TAO.

While the above numbers don't hide anything interesting I have missed so far, I tried Google a bit and found the same document for July 2006, and that showed there were 509 villages created in 2006 and 2007 - but I only have Royal Gazette announcements for 482. Don't know if the missing ones were not published, were wrongly indexed and therefore not found by my searches, or I made any mistakes working through those many PDFs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why no new district since 1997

I speculated before what is the reason for the stop of the creation of district as well as subdistricts in 1997. The timing suggested that it was related with the Asian financial crisis, but I had no proof for this assumption before. But now I found it, as part of the reply by the Ministry of Interior to the petition to create a new minor district in Phitsanulok.

In the document the following cabinet resolution
  • July 7 1998: decide to cease with creation of districts and minor districts from then one in accordance with the committee on administrative reforms (มติคณะรัฐมนตรี วันที่ ๗ กรกฎาคม ๒๕๔๑ เห็นชอบให้ระงับการจัดตั้ง อำเภอและกิ่งอำเภอขึ้นใหม่ ตั้งแต่บัดนี้เป็นต้นไป ตามความเห็นของคณะกรรมการปฏิรูประบบราชการ ตามที่สำนักงานคณะกรรมการปฏิรูประบบราชการเสนอ)
  • October 3 1998: approve measure to control expenses on state personnel by ceasing to create or enlarge administration (มติคณะรัฐมนตรี วันที่ ๓ ตุลาคม ๒๕๔๑ เห็นชอบมาตรการควบคุมค่าใช้จ่าย ด้านบุคคลภาครัฐ โดยมีประเด็นที่เกี่ยวข้องคือ ให้ส่วนราชการระงับการขอจัดตั้งหน่วยงานใหม่หรือ ขยายหน่วยงาน)
  • December 29 1998: approve to extend measures to control expenses on state personnel as of cabinet resolution from February 3 1998 till end of fiscal year 2001 (มติคณะรัฐมนตรี วันที่ ๒๙ ธันวาคม ๒๕๔๑ เห็นชอบให้ขยายเวลาการบังคับใช้ มาตรการควบคุมค่าใช้จ่ายด้านบุคคลภาครัฐตามมติคณะรัฐมนตรี เมื่อวันที่ ๓ กุมภาพันธ์ ๒๕๔๑ ให้มี ผลบังคับใช้ต่อเนื่องจนถึง สิ้นปีงบประมาณ ๒๕๔๔)
  • October 3 2000: approve to extend measures to control expenses on state personnel as of cabinet resolution from February 3 1998 and December 29 1998 till end of fiscal year 2003 (มติคณะรัฐมนตรี วันที่ ๓ ตุลาคม ๒๕๔๓ เห็นชอบให้ขยายเวลาการใช้บังคับ มาตรการควบคุมค่าใช้จ่ายด้านบุคคลภาครัฐ ตามมติคณะรัฐมนตรีเมื่อวันที่ ๓ กุมภาพันธ์ ๒๕๔๑ และวันที่ ๒๙ ธันวาคม ๒๕๔๑ ให้มีผลใช้บังคับต่อเนื่องจนถึง สิ้นปีงบประมาณ ๒๕๔๖)
So it was both the budget control measures after the financial crisis, as well as at first pending administrative reforms, probably the decentralization with the creation of the TAO since 1995 and the upgrade of the sanitary districts in 1999.

As the document is from 2003, I don't know if these measures where continued further on. In 2006, the only new district since 1998 was created, which is not a return to the old frequency of district creations with around 20 each year. Would b interesting to know if there are more in preparation. Otherwise, it'd soon have similar cost saving measures, as the state employee wages started to be discussed already again, and thus no new districts or even provinces.

The fact that no new subdistricts were created is probably related to the fact that now all of the subdistricts are administrated by a TAO or a municipality, so a new subdistrict would also mean to split the local government unit.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Province governor reshuffle - Update

After adding the newly assigned province governors into my XMLs I noticed that I wrote partial nonsense on Wednesday. I should have been more alert when noticing that the name mentioned in Bangkok Post did not correlate with the name of the governor as I knew it, because Bangkok Post in fact mixed up Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

So, to clean it up - the governor of Chiang Rai was Traisit Sinsombunthong (ไตรสิทธิ์ สินสมบูรณ์ทอง), and he was replaced by Sumet Saengnimnuan (สุเมธ แสงนิ่มนวล). So his removal was not linked with the demonstration in Chiang Mai, only to his administration style (if believing the official version) or his relation with the former PPP leadership as one can easily suspect. But also the governor of Chiang Mai has changed - Wibun Sa-nguanphong (วิบูลย์ สงวนพงศ์) replaced by Amonphan Nimanan (อมรพันธุ์ นิมานันท์), previously governor in Lampang. Here it has no word in the English press whether this change has anything to do with the January protests during Chuan Leekpai's visit.

While it is still accessible, take a look the report and presentation "Thailand and its CEO development system". It was written by Trisit when he was still vice governor of Uthai Thani, and as it is hosted at the website of Chiang Rai province it may get removed with the next website update, together with his blog.

And while working on the XMLs, I got the idea to automate the parsing of the governor list, especially to directly find those provinces where the governor has changed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2003 suggestion of district creation in Phitsanulok

Some time ago I listed several minor districts planned in Phitsanulok, but which apparently never were created. At least for one of these, Nakhon Bang Yang to be split off from Nakhon Luang, I could now find mentioned in the Royal Gazette as well.
The document is titled กระทู้ถามที่ ๖๕๕ ร. เรื่อง การแบ่งแยกและจัดตั้งอำเภอนครบางยาง ของ นายนคร มาฉิม สมาชิกสภาผู้แทนราษฎร (Petition No. 6555 ร. on splitting and setup of district Nakhon Bang Yang by Mr. Nakhon Machim, Member of Parliament), and was published in the Gazette on April 21 2003, however the petition dated from March 14 2002 already.

What I can make out of document for sure is the list of subdistrict which were supposed to form the new district - Ban Yaeng (บ้านแยง) and Huai Hia (ห้วยเฮี้ย). But what seems to be even more interesting is the second part of the document, which seems to be the reply of the Ministry of Interior, and contains the rules for setting up a minor district or district, or upgrade a minor district to a full district.
  • A minor district needs a population of 30,000, or alternatively 5 subdistricts. It also needs the approval of the Tambon Council (TC) or Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAO) concerned, the head of the administration of the district and the province and the Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO).
  • Alternatively a population of 15,000 or 4 subdistricts, the approval of the parties concerned and additionally the new district office must be more than 25 kilometers away from the old one.
  • A minor district can be upgraded to a full district once it has been existing for 5 years; or for 3 years and has the administrative necessity of an upgrade, and at least 30,000 citizens. Additionally, it needs the approval of the head of the provincial administration and the PAO.
The rules for creation a minor district I had found before, the rules when a minor district is qualified for an upgrade was new to me. But even more interesting is the following part, which answers why there were (almost) no new districts or subdistricts since 1997. Since this is so interested and this posting already long this will be covered in a forthcoming posting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Provincial governor reshuffle

Normally the annual reshuffle of provincial governors takes place in October, and it also normally hardly makes any news at least in the English press. So it is quite extraordinary that already now the retirement of the governor of Chiang Mai was announced. The Bangkok Post wrote:
The removal of Chiang Mai governor Traisit Sinsomboonthong from his job is not related to the activities of the anti-government United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) group, acting permanent interior secretary Wichai Srikwan said on Thursday.
The transfer of Mr Traisit, who was a close associate of former house speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat, was not politically motivated at all.
However, he said the governor’s style of working may not satisfy some people, but that was not unusual. He would retire from the civil service in October.
It's the normal denial of political reasons, especially when comparing to another news sniplet from January after a UDD demonstration in Chiang Mai.
Deputy Minister of Interior believes that Chiang Mai governor and the city’s security staffs need to have their performance re-evaluated after rotten eggs were thrown at Mr. Chuan Leekpai during his visit to the province.
The only thing strange is the spelling of his name - Bangkok Post writes Traisit Sinsomboonthong, while the province website spells him วิบูลย์ สงวนพงศ์ (Wibun Sa-nguanphong).

Interesting to see if the governor of Lopburi will be the next one to get an early retirement, as The Nation reported.
Lop Buri Governor Charupong Pholdet yesterday voiced concern about his job security should he fail to keep peace during today's inspection trip to his province by the prime minister.
"Frankly I fear for getting a job transfer since I have no way to guarantee how the situation will develop," Charupong said.
And a bit surprisingly, apparently there was a reshuffle already taking place few days ago, as just today user Oatz updated 21 province governors on the English Wikipedia, including Chiang Mai. So the Interior Ministry did not wait till October, the normal time for the reshuffle.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Municipal decisions for November 28 2008

The board meeting transcripts have received a small update, one new file from November 2008 was added. A bigger update should be overdue already, now there are three months of transcripts not yet online. I just hope they'll upload them soon, as I can process them before being away, and then have enough postings to auto-publish during my absence.

Anyway, in meeting number 89 from November 28 2008 two TAO were upgraded to subdistrict municipalities.
  • Huai Mai (เทศบาลตำบลห้วยหม้าย), Song district, Phrae province, effective July 28 2009. The TAO was created in 1997, covers 173 km², 17 villages and 8,635 citizen.
  • Hua Pluak (เทศบาลตำบลหัวปลวก), Sao Hai district, Saraburi province, effective July 30 2009. The TAO was created in 1997, covers 21.50 km², 12 villages and 2,558 citizen.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another salary increase

After the village and subdistrict headmen got their raise just two weeks ago, now the next group of government officials is due for a raise. This time it's the officers of the provincial administrative organizations (PAO) who are requesting more income.

Quoting from the news article
Interior Minister Chaowarat Charnweerakoon said that the PAO Association had urged the ministry to raise their salary from 16,000 Baht to 25,000 Baht and the ministry accepted to consider the proposal.
Meanwhile the Sub-district Administrative Organization or the municipality may also ask for salary raise, [...]

So these officers - not sure if it's only the PAO chairman, or if it's about the officers within the PAO as well - are asking for a raise of 56%, frugal compared with the 100% raise for the headmen. What the article does not say is when they received their last raise, as for the headmen the raise was really overdue with no increase for 10 years.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Regions and Vice-Roys 1915 to 1925

One quite unknown historical subdivision were the regions created in 1915 after the resignation of Prince Damrong, officially due to health reasons but it was an open secret that the prince did not get along with the new king well. The only thing I know about these regions is the following paragraph in Tej Bunnags "The Provincial Administration of Siam 1892-1915".
Changes were also made in Prince Damrong's Thesaphiban system of provincial administration. Five months after his acceptance of the Prince's resignation, the King issued the Announcement of 13 December 1915 concerning the duties and powers of Viceroys. According to this Announcement, the country was to be divided into regions (phak), over which were to be placed Viceroys (Upparat) who were to be appointed by the King. The superintendent commissioners were to remain at their posts but they were to consult with the Viceroys before they undertook to deal with any emergency or any matter not covered by existing acts and regulations, before they submitted annual accounts of their monthons' revenue and expenditure to the Ministry, and before they appointed, transferred, promoted, recommended for decorations, demoted or dismissed officials upwards from the rank of district officer. In that year, the King placed Viceroys over the Phayap Region, which consisted of monthon Phayap and Maharat, and the Western Region (Phak Tawan-tok), which consisted of monthons Nakhon Chaisi and Ratburi. In 1916 and 1922, he placed Viceroys respectively over the Southern Region (Phak Tai) which consisted of monthons Chumphon, Nakhon Sithammarat, and Pattani, and the Isan Region which consisted of monthons Roi-et, Ubonratchathani, and Udonthani.
Map of the regionsAs in a footnote the author gave the title of the announcement mentioned in the text, I was able to find it in the Royal Gazette database - พระบรมราชโองการ ประกาศ ว่าด้วยหน้าที่และอำนาจอุปราช However I could not find anything on those regions introduced later, nor seem there be any list of the Monthon within the two regions established in 1915. But the whole system was rather short-lived anyway, since these regions were abolished in 1925.

As one can see in the map by the yellow parts, these regions with their vice-roys did not cover the whole country - the monthon Phuket and Nakhon Ratchasima were not part of the south or Isan region respectively, and for the whole central and eastern region there did not have regions applied at all.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Local administration law amendments

Two short news reports on the National News Bureau of Thailand posted on Monday.

PM to chair meeting to review local administrative organization laws
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will today (March 3rd) chair a meeting with local administration organizations to discuss amendments to the local administration organization decentralization laws. [...]

PM hastened the implementation of local administration organization law
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wanted to get 4 issues of local administration organization law finished within two years as stated in the constitution.

The Prime Minister said after meeting with the committees for local administration organization decentralization that now 4 organic laws which were plan and processes of decentralization act, local administration organization’s income act, local administrator regulation act and local administration organization code were being considered.

The Government would let representatives of local administration organizations make written comments on the issue and then compile them for further processing. And the government expected to get the laws finished within two years as stated in the constitution.
No details on what they plan to change in these laws. From the corresponding article in Thai I could find the Thai names of these laws as well.
  • Plan and processes of decentralization act (ร่าง พ.ร.บ.กำหนดแผนและขั้นตอนการกระจายอำนาจให้องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่น)
  • Local administration organization’s income act (ร่าง พ.ร.บ.รายได้องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่น)
  • Local administrator regulation act (ร่าง พ.ร.บ. ระเบียบข้าราชการท้องถิ่น)
  • Local administration organization code (ร่างประมวลกฎหมายองค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่น)
I tried to find these laws in the Royal Gazette, but was not successful.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Metropolitan areas

On Wikipedia over the last year several articles on metropolitan areas in Thailand have been created, something I haven't heard about before yet. Sadly the user who created most of them did not answer my questions about the character of these areas. The Thai name - ...และปริมณฑล (...and perimeter) - already suggests that these areas are not an administrative entity like the municipalities. Though I don't know it for sure, my suspicion is that these areas are in fact something like a regional planning board of the various entities around the central municipality, to avoid costly and nonsensical planning mistakes like two public sports centers just few kilometers apart, or bypass roads ending in the middle of nowhere.

So far there are five such metropolitan areas covered in Wikipedia, though at least two further (Surat Thani and Phuket) seem to be forthcoming as there are already red links pointing to them. Whether these seven are all existing ones is beyond my knowledge.
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Area (not to be confused with the BMA, the administration of the city of Bangkok), covering  Bangkok and the five surrounding provinces Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.
  • Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area, covering the districts Mueang Chonburi, Bang Lamung, Si Ratcha, Sattahib and Ban Bueng.
  • Chiang Mai Metropolitan Area, covering 8 districts of Chiang Mai province and 2 of Lamphun province, i.e. Mueang Chiang Mai, Mueang Lamphun, San Sai, Mae Rim, San Pa Tong, Saraphi, San Kam Phaeng, Hang Dong, Doi Saket and Ban Thi.
  • Nakhon Ratchasima Metropolitan Area, covering 22 (of 25) subdistricts of Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima district, and two subdistricts from the each of the districts Sung Noen and Kham Thale So.
  • Greater Hatyai-Songkhla Metropolitan Area, covering 17 municipalities in the 7 districts in the corridor between Hat Yai and Songkhla.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Transfer of area between TAO and muncipiality Ram Masak, Ang Thong

Announced yesterday was the transfer of area from the TAO Ram Masak (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลรำมะสัก) to the subdistrict municipality Ram Masak (เทศบาลตำบลรำมะสัก) in Pho Thong district, Ang Thong. In fact there are two announcements, one concerning the TAO and one the municipality. The second one also contains the map with the new boundary, which can be compared with the map from the announcement on the creation of the sanitary district Ram Masak in 1992. Well, actually it cannot because the new map was scanned in such low resolution its impossible to recognize the line which is supposed to mark the boundary of the municipality.

The sanitary district (sukhaphiban) was created in 1992, and like all sanitary districts upgraded to a subdistrict municipality in 1999. The TAO was created in 1997. And interestingly there is no mention of it in any of the meeting transcripts (at least none indexed by Google) where I normally look for the municipality upgrades, the similar area change on San Sai one year ago was discussed in the board before.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Village headmen exception in Tak

Another Royal Gazette announcement related with the subdivisions, though not one of those I usually process for the histories of the subdivisions. So it was a bit of fluke that I noticed this one at all, when looking at the recent publications I just noticed the ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน (Phu Yai Ban, village headman) at end, and I took a closer look inside.

The full title of the announcement is "ประกาศจังหวัดตาก เรื่อง ยกเว้นหรือผ่อนผันคุณสมบัติของผู้ที่จะได้รับเลือกเป็นผู้ใหญ่บ้าน" which means "Announcement of Tak Province on the omission or exception of qualifications of a person who will become village headman". The village in question is Village 4 or Ban Mae Om Ki (หมู่ที่ ๔ บ้านแม่อมกิ), Mae Wa Luang subdistrict (ตำบลแม่วะหลวง), Tha Song Yang district (อำเภอท่าสองยาง).

The announcement actually only cites the laws which the decision is based on, and that the governor of Tak has the authority to make this exception. The only thing it adds to the title of the announcement is the word "พื้นความรู้" which means "background knowledge". I am not sure if I understand this correctly, I would think it means he does not have the educational degree necessary for the post.

I have checked quickly for similar announcements like this in the past - there were two in 2008, one in 2006, four in 2004, and a lot in 2001 and some other years, the oldest is from 1974.