Friday, September 28, 2012

Province governor reshuffle 2012 delayed

On October 1st, a total of 19 province governors are set to retire, not sure if this number already includes the four province governor posts which become vacant due to the already approved promotions of governors. However, to be effective on October 1st, the reshuffle list would have to be considered and approved in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday - but it wasn't placed on the agenda because the Interior Minister did not attend the meeting. In fact, he was even slated to chair the meeting since the Prime Minister was at the United Nations and thus not available.
However, the Mr Yongyuth skipped the meeting and assigned Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung to chair the Cabinet session instead.
The meeting lasted only 45 minutes and did not consider the annual reshuffle of provincial governors as Mr Yongyuth had planned.
Phuket Gazette, Phuket Vice Governor to take the big chair on October 1, 2012-09-27
One could speculate that maybe the reshuffle list wasn't yet approved by Thaksin, but it seems the more obvious reason came public today. Interior Minister Yongyuth resigned as he was recently found guilty in a corruption case dating ten years back, but which was amnestied in 2007 already.
Mr Yongyuth sent a signal that he might resign when he did not attend the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. His move came after the opposition threatened to censure him.
Bangkok Post, Yongyuth resigns from cabinet, 2012-09-28
Thus until a new Interior Minister is in office, there are only unofficial reshuffle lists circulating, and the 19 provinces will be lead by one of their deputy province governors as acting governor.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bad TAO management style

Bangkok Post reported today about an incident in the TAO administration of Thaiyawat (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลไทยาวาส), Nakhon Chai Si district, Nakhon Pathom province, where the TAO mayor Somdet Suksomkit (สมเดช สุขสมกิจ) allegedly slapped his subordinate Rawipha Phuengporn (รวิภา เปิดเผยว่า), head of the finance department, into her face after she reported the bad news that his pet project was rejected. Since the whole incident was captured on video he will have a difficult stand to defend himself in the investigation - and as the video was uploaded to YouTube now everyone can judge for themselves.
It is quite likely that there will be early elections in Thaiyawat, as if found guilty he will get removed from his post and cannot fulfill his term which would have ended in September next year.
Deputy chief of Nakhon Chaisi district Yongyuth Suanthong said he had been assigned to investigate the incident. If found guilty the TAO chief could be permanently relieved from duty.
Bangkok Post, TAO chief accused of slapping subordinate, 2012-09-26
It is a funny coincidence that I am currently reading the book "Women and politics in Thailand", in which several chapters stress the different job attitude of female leaders compared to male. I cannot imagine any female TAO mayor to show such an unacceptable behavior to her subordinates...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Graphical license plate for Narathiwat

Yesterday the car license plate graphic for the province Narathiwat was announced in the Royal Gazette. As Narathiwat is located at the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, the symbolism of the sea and the typical Malay style boat in the graphic is obvious. However, I have no idea what is the symbolism of the branch with the three-colored leaves to the right - they look like Lotus leaves, definitely neither the leaves of the provincial tree Neobalanocarpus heimii nor the provincial flower Odontadenia macrantha.

What is interesting is that unlike the other graphical license plates announced recently, in this case it is not a new version of an already existing graphic - so far Narathiwat did not have any graphical license plaes. Or to be more exact, there was none announced in the Royal Gazette so far, not sure if the car registration office in Narathiwat used one before which was not officially announced. There are only very few provinces which have no such graphic announced yet - Bueng Kan as the most recently created province, Amnat Charoen, Mae Hong Son, Nong Bua Lamphu, Ranong, Samut Songkhram, Trat and Yala. And there is also the special case of Betong district in Narathiwat, which has a separate car registration, and thus might have a graphical license plate someday. Or it may now use the one from Narathiwat province.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Final set of provincial seal stamps

Last week the final set of the stamp series with the provincial emblems was announced in the Royal Gazette, published on September 14, signed on July 23, but already effective June 28 when the stamps were first sold.

This final 7th set of stamps now includes the provinces at the end of the Thai alphabet, and additionally Bueng Kan as that province did not exist yet when the set with alphabetical sorting was at the letter . Thus the provinces this time are Ang Thong, Udon Thani, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Amnat Charoen and Bueng Kan. But since these are only seven emblems and like all previous sets ten stamps are issued together, three additional motives at to be found. While I would have preferred historical emblems no longer in use - for example the provinces Phra Nakhon, Thonburi or those in the occupied areas during World War II - instead the three national symbols were chosen.

However it seems I have a lot of bad luck with collecting items on the administrative subdivisions. When my wife purchased this miniature sheet, the one published summer last year was no longer available - but since my last trip to Thailand was earlier that year I now have one sheet missing in my collection. Strangely, almost all of the older sheets were also still available. I hope it was just temporarily out of stock at the central post office and I can get it next year, but if anyone can get me one before I'd be grateful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New districts proposed

Recently, proposals for new districts showed up in the Thai news. As far as I know, at this time these are just proposals, and it is still completely open if and when these will get officially proposed by the Ministry of Interior to the cabinet, the usual step before an act to create a district is sent to the parliament.

In Chiang Mai, a new district named Nanthaburi (อำเภอนันทบุรี) covering the two subdistricts Mae Tuen and Mon Chong of Omkoi district, is requested by the citizen in this area. With a population of 15,388 and just two subdistricts it does not make the necessary preconditions for a new district, only its remoteness from Omkoi - 76km on a very bad road - may give the proposal more weight. The proposal was received by Chiang Mai governor Mom Luang Panadda Diskul, who promised to raise the topic at the Ministry of Interior. However, few days later his transfer to an inactive post was approved, so his support for the proposal won't help the citizen anymore. However, this district proposal isn't really new, already in 2009 I had stumbled on it and added it into my XML, but sadly didn't kept any of the sources at that time.

Just yesterday, the Board of Directors of the Southern Border Provinces Development Strategy (กรรมการยุทธศาสตร์การพัฒนาจังหวัดชายแดนภาคใต้) has proposed a new district to be created in the province Yala (hopefully my translation of the news report isn't that wrong).
ที่ประชุมยังเห็นชอบในหลักการให้ตั้งอำเภอใหม่ขึ้นอีกแห่งหนึ่งในจังหวัดยะลา โดยรวมพื้นที่บางส่วนของอำเภอเมือง กับตำบลโกตาบารู อำเภอรามัน จังหวัดยะลา ขึ้นเป็นอำเภอใหม่ เนื่องจากเป็นพื้นที่ที่มีปัญหาความมั่นคง มีสภาพเศรษฐกิจและสังคมที่ซับซ้อน รวมทั้งประชากรเพิ่มขึ้น ทำให้การแก้ปัญหา และการพัฒนาไม่เกิดประสิทธิภาพ และประสิทธิผลเท่าที่ควร ซึ่ง กพต.จะมอบหมายให้กรมการปกครอง กระทรวงมหาดไทยดำเนินการต่อไป
Conference approve in principle to set up another new district in Yala province. Some part of Mueang district and Kota Baru subdistrict, Rama district to be raised to a new district. Reasons are that the area have problems with stability, economy and social, which get more complicate with the raising population. To solve the problems and develop efficiently, the board proposes the issue to the Ministry of Interior.
Source: Manager, ทุ่มอีกมหาศาลเอื้อดับไฟใต้ กพต.อนุมัติซื้อ “ชางลี” โรงแรมร้างกลางเมืองยะลา, September 18 2012
Of course I will follow these proposals and report whenever they come closer to get implemented.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Province governor transfer 2012 (Part 1)

The annual province governor reshuffle has begun. In the cabinet meeting on September 4 the first part of the reshuffle list compiled by the Ministry of Interior was approved, moving four province governors to other posts within the ministry.

Most notable is probably the case of the Chiang Mai governor Mom Luang Panadda Diskul, a grandson of Prince Damrong, was moved to an inactive post as deputy permanent secretary. As he belongs to the Royalist faction and was appointed to this prestigious province by the Democrat led government in 2010, it is no big surprise he wasn't able to keep this position now Pheu Thai leads the government. As The Nation reports
In June 2011, Pheu Thai member Chalerm Yoobamrung said Pannadda would definitely face the axe if the Pheu Thai won an election and became a coalition leader.
This promise by the Deputy Prime Minister was kept, though it is a bit surprising it wasn't done in last year's reshuffle already. Note that it is not the fact that he did not stay in the province which is the punishment, it is the inactive position which he was assigned. It is quite normal that province governors receive new posts after one or two years in one province, only rarely a governor stays longer in one province.

The other notable change is that the province governor of Nakhon Ratchasima will become new director-general of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA, strangely abbreviated by The Nation as PAD). Also the other two transfers are promotions to become heads of departments within the MOI.

The full list of transfers approved found in the cabinet meeting transcript now consists of seven transfers, of which only four are province governors. All the transfers will be effective October 1st.
  • Mom Luang Panadda Diskul (ม.ล.ปนัดดา ดิศกุล), governor of Chiang Mai to become deputy permanent secretary in the MOI.
  • Chuan Sirinanporn (นายชวน ศิรินันท์พร), governor of Nakhon Ratchasima, to become director-general of DOPA.
  • Kaenphet Chuangrangsee (นายแก่นเพชร ช่วงรังษี), governor of Udon Thani, to become director-general of the Department of Local Administration (DOLA).
  • Chatchai Phromlert (นายฉัตรชัย พรหมเลิศ), governor of Lopburi, to become director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fun with election posters

As there are now a lot of local election, also some odd or funny election poster can show up. Two of them were posted recently on the Thai fail blog.

The poster of candidate two of Phu Khiao district for the PAO council of Chaiyaphum was placed next to an advertisement for a concert - with the one of the concert date printed large like a candidate number. Wonder how many voters got confused and tried to elect that celebrity.
Even funnier is this poster, a parody on election posters. It announces Darth Vader (ดาร์ธ เวเดอร์) as Mayor of the Galaxy Administration Organization (นายกองค์การบริหารส่วนแกแลกซี), running with the number 99 on the ballot sheet.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Board meeting transcripts for July

A new set of board meeting transcripts was uploaded last week, adding several more new municipalities to be created this year - or to be exact right now, as most of those TAO had ended their term end of August or beginning of September. I am still working through the transcripts to update the data within my XML files, so here is just a short summary with the links to the more detailed summaries which I already finished. Sadly, not for all the meetings the transcript is available, thus there are probably some more changes which I didn't notice this way.
  • July 31, Meeting 54 of board two, 5 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript]
  • July 23, Meeting 49 of board one, 2 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript, Summary]
  • July 18, Meeting 51 of board two, 3 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality, and the upgrade of Ko Samui. [Transcript, Summary]
  • July 17, Meeting 50 of board two, 4 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript]
  • July 16, Meeting 47 of board one, 2 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript, Summary]
  • July 10, Meeting 48 of board two, 7 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript]
  • July 9, Meeting 45 of board one, 2 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript, Summary]
  • July 4, Meeting 47 of board two, 6 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript]
  • July 3, Meeting 46 of board two, 10 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality. [Transcript]
  • July 2, Meeting 43 of board one, 3 TAO upgraded to subdistrict municipality, and 2 TAO transferring area to the neighboring municipality. [Transcript, Summary]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Municipal area changes

On Friday, two area transfers between a subdistrict administrative organization (TAO) and the neighboring municipality were announced in the Royal Gazette. They were published rather fast - published on September 1, signed one month ago on August 6, and discussed in the board to consider draft laws on July 2. In fact, the board meeting transcripts from July were just uploaded last week, and I am still busy to work through them.
  • Ban Phue TAO (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบ้านผือ), Ban Phue district, Udon Thani province, ceding area to Ban Phue subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านผือ). [Gazette TAO, Gazette Municipality]
  • Nam Suai TAO (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลน้ำสวย), Mueang Loei district, Loei province, ceding area to Nam Suai subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลน้ำสวย). [Gazette TAO, Gazette Municipality]
As usual, only the announcement on the municipality includes the boundary definition and a map, and this only shows the location of the municipal office and not the TAO office.

I didn't have the time to look into the details of the which areas where transferred, but for Nam Suai already last year a boundary adjustment was done [Gazette, Blog posting]. For Ban Phue, until now the boundaries were still those dating back to the creation of the sanitary district Ban Phue in 1957 [Gazette], when the precursor of the municipality was defined by a plain rectangular area - thus in this case the area of the municipality was enlarged significantly.