PHUKET: Construction of Phuket’s International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) will begin in three to four months no matter which party forms the next government, a Democrat Party candidate said yesterday.
Raywat Areerob, incumbent MP candidate for Phuket constituency two, told the Phuket Gazette the election results would not affect existing plans to build the ICEC in Mai Khao.
“[If the ICEC is not built by the next government], tens of thousands of Phuket residents would surely march upon Bangkok to demand their rights,” said Mr Raywat said with a smile.
Construction of the ICEC would begin in no more than three to four months, he said.
“The architectural plan for the ICEC is done. We are trying to find and hire the construction company and contractor. Moreover, the project’s budget has already been approved,” he said.
Questioned about the controversial Patong Tunnel project, which rival party Pheu Thai are advocating on their campaign posters across Phuket, Mr Raywat said, “We have to wait for the public hearing process to conclude.”
Mr Raywat announced dealing with traffic congestion, lack of police manpower, drug abuse and unregistered migrant workers as the cornerstone issues of his reelection campaign platform.
Increasing the size of the local police force to improve security for local residents is another major issue in his campaign.
On the drug problem, he identified Pa Khlok in Thalang as the locale in Phuket where drug abuse was most widespread.
The final issue he raised, which was not previously a focus in his campaign, was about the number of children being born in Phuket to migrant workers from Burma.
“No one ever talked about this issue before. I will ensure these Burmese children are sent back to their home [country]. Otherwise, who will take responsibility for them when they grow up?” he asked.
Mr Raywat claimed that competition had grown so fierce going into the final week of campaigning that unnamed forces had launched a disinformation campaign involving his candidacy.
“There were many handouts trying to discredit Anchalee [Vanich] Thepabutr distributed among residents in Phuket 1 constituency yesterday.
“The handout said Mrs Anchalee forced me to be a candidate in Phuket 2 constituency. In fact, no one ever forced me. I wanted – and volunteered – to be the candidate for Phuket 2,” he said.
He will take legal action against those responsible, he added.
Mr Raywat said he was also awaiting CCTV footage that will serve as evidence to prosecute people who destroyed his campaign billboards and posters.
— Janpen Upatising
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