PHUKET: A group of researchers from the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) today argued in favor of Phuket being turned into a special administrative zone with an elected Governor.
At a seminar at the Phuket Merlin Hotel today, the Nida research team, led by Juree Vichit-Vadakan, said that results of a survey they conducted showed that 83% of 298 Phuket residents surveyed favored the province being designated a special administrative zone similar to Pattaya or Bangkok. In those cities, governors are elected instead of being appointed by the Interior Ministry.
Attending the seminar were Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr, Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwannasuppana and many other local politicians and officials.
The research team said they had studied several possible administrative models that would be appropriate, and which would be more helpful in meeting Phuket’s future development needs.
Such needs, including improved wastewater treatment, garbage collection and expansion of the road network, must all be met in order to accommodate projected increases in tourism arrivals, the researchers said.
“The current administrative system will be unable to deal [adequately] with Phuket’s problems in the future. It is too slow. Establishing a special administrative zone is the answer to controlling Phuket’s development,” K. Juree said, adding that it would help establish Phuket as an “international city”, and improve the economy and the lives of residents.
Fellow researcher Sombat Thamrongthanyawong explained that all of the administrative models they had studied had one common factor: allowing for an elected Governor whose powers would be held in check by a provincial council, which would replace the OrBorJor.
“This special administration of Phuket would report directly to the central government and would have the power to launch any activities it authorizes, apart from matters relating to the military, international relations or finance,” he said.
Though unrelated, the meeting came less than a week after Deputy Prime Minister Pinij Jarusombat proposed turning Phuket into a special economic zone under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office.
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