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Opinion

New Phuket governors and a bad case of deja vu

The Thaiger

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New Phuket governors and a bad case of deja vu | The Thaiger

OPINION

“Andrea Kotas Tammathin, who is to be officially appointed as Switzerland’s honorary consul for Phuket on Friday… Mrs Tammathin will be joining a group of honorary consuls from Europe who have asked questions for the past two years about scams among jet-ski operators on Patong beach and the continuing high fares demanded by Phuket tuk-tuk and taxi drivers.” – Phuket Wan, May 2012

“Governor Chamroen said. “Most of the concerns raised today were about tourist safety, jet skis, taxis and Patong over-charging tourists, which is already our top priority.” – Phuket Gazette, 2014

“…the European ambassadors called on Phuket authorities to ramp up measures against scams operating in Phuket; taxi and tuk-tuk drivers overcharging tourists; unscrupulous motorbike and jet-ski rental agents; and sea pollution, as well as improve beach and water safety and traffic congestion on the island.” – Phuket Gazette, 2013

“…the Honorary Consuls called for better control of the island’s jet-skis, sewage flowing into the beaches, tuk-tuk scams and taxis overcharging.” – Phuket Gazette 2011

New Phuket Governors come and go but the key issues never seem to change. Promises are made, commitments are given, lip-service is paid. And nothing seems to change. ‘Investigations’ are conducted, budgets are allocated but nothing ever seems to change with the same old issues.

As the song goes “Everything old is new again”.

And so Phuket’s new Governor struts onto the local stage and, we are sure, will proudly boast how he will ‘tackle the outstanding issues’ and ‘not let anyone stand in his way’ in fixing the issues other governors couldn’t.

But, please, prove us wrong.

Jet skis, whilst being pulled into line from time to time, are still a nuisance to tourists along with their para-sailing buddies who hog the beaches and take up swathes of space conducting their lucrative businesses.

Patong, despite many attempts to reign in the corruption, is still run by two or three ‘powerful people’ in concert with the local constabulary. Businesses in key tourist zones still have to fork out 10s of thousands of baht in tea money every month, just to keep their doors open.

The raw sewage flowing into the bays… sorry the ‘black water’ flowing into the bays… at beaches keeps flowing – Patong, Karon, Surin, Bang Tao, Kamala. ‘We are locating the source of the pollution and will prosecute them’.

No you won’t.

Or ‘we have applied for budget for new water treatment works and just waiting for approval before we start work’.

Blah, blah.

Taxis and tuk tuks, whilst the services have improved a bit over the years, are still extortionately high in price when compared to EVERYWHERE else in Thailand and almost three times the cost of the same services in Bangkok. That’s just a fact. But why?

‘We will form a working party to investigate the reasons for the high prices and take action.’

Even the full force of the military and police have tried to enforce restrictions and some price caps on the island’s taxis and tuk tuks. The edicts are announced, the photos are taken, three people are ‘prosecuted’, media releases sent out and everything just returns to ‘normal’.

Try getting a parking space in Patong, or heaven-forbid, taking on a tuk tuk driver who tells you not to park in ‘their’ spaces. And strangely, despite man going to the moon, the meters in Phuket taxis will never, ever work.

So, we wish our new Governor the very best for a pleasant time as the Government’s representative as the head of Phuket Provincial Hall.

Don’t worry about sending us any media releases. We’ll use all the old ones from 10 years ago.

 



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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Opinion

“Racial profiling and xenophobic” – a rant against Dual Pricing

The Thaiger

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“Racial profiling and xenophobic” – a rant against Dual Pricing | The Thaiger

The rules are applied in a lumpy fashion at various tourist hot spots around the country as well as some national parks. Sometimes it’s applied, sometimes, not, sometimes there are signs, sometime they make it up as they go, sometimes they will allow local expats in for the Thai price.

There are dual-pricing apologists who say ‘Hey, it’s cheap anyway, so pay up and shut up’. Whilst dual-pricing whiners say it’s unfair, racist and shows a lack of grace towards tourists and foreigners.

Here’s the story from ‘Despondant Foreigner’. You can have your say on the post at our Facebook page

“I would like to share my story with you that happened to me this morning. I visited Promlok waterfall in Nakhon Si Thammaratt with my Thai wife, child and wife’s family. Upon arrival two soldiers approached our car and my wife began talking to them. They explained to her that as today is Songkran all Thai’s get to go to the waterfalls free of charge but I had to pay. Then a woman dressed in yellow approached the car who confirmed what the soldiers said and told my wife that this is a new law. Well we were all disgusted and proceeded to drive back down to the bottom of the waterfall where we could all swim for free.

I am absolutely disgusted by this. Yet another example of Thailand’s racial profiling and xenophobia towards foreigners. The fact that I am married and have children here doesn’t make a difference. Because I have white skin I must pay the fee whilst all Thais go in free.”

SOURCE: ThaiVisa

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Opinion

Fox News fake news, Phuket gets a bullet

Bill Barnett

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Fox News fake news, Phuket gets a bullet | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett, C9Hotelworks.com

As Phuket moves slowly into low season, a story published in the international media by the US-based Fox News about how tourists could face the death penalty over taking photos at the island’s airport is a highly flaw piece of sensationalist fake news.

Clearly there is no likelihood that the Thai authorities will apply a legal maximum penalty under the Air Navigation Act for tourists posing for selfies as airplanes land. More likely would be a  charge of trespassing and a fine.

Clicking into Google this morning the story is now running with the New York Post, MSN and other news outlets abroad.

What is distressing is to see how news providers sensationalize Thailand and Phuket with little regard as to the consequences of the economic impact of such a story.

For most readers, what they will remember when reading such a piece is only the headline about Phuket, Mai Khao Beach and the death penalty.

What a sorry state of affairs mainstream news has become.

To read the Fox News article clock HERE.

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Election

Is Thanathorn the new Thaksin? Will the ‘establishment’ tolerate his new political vision?

The Thaiger

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Is Thanathorn the new Thaksin? Will the ‘establishment’ tolerate his new political vision? | The Thaiger

Is Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit a popular fad or does he, and his party, have the staying power to make him a sustainable threat to the entrenched Thai political elite?

Many analysts are comparing Thanathorn to Thaksin in his early days. They say there are clear similarities. First off, Thanathorn is facing the kind of legal trouble that Thaksin faced when Thailand’s political crisis started to brew.

After becoming Thailand’s PM, Thaksin faced a share transfer scandal in which he moved his company shares to poor servants, allegedly to avoid stock market restrictions imposed on people owning big lots of stocks. Now, 40 year old Thanathorn is facing a legal controversy over his previous ownership of media shares, which could still doom his election candidacy.

The allegations are yet to be considered by the Election Commission.

Thaksin, in spite of repeated denials, was always alleged to have controversial political ambitions. Thanathorn, meanwhile, is seen in an increasingly similar situation. The list of complaints is growing, many to do with his perceived unorthodox ideology that contrasts with the conservative political ‘Thainess’ that includes non-negotiable support for the Army and Monarchy.

Thanathorn has been criticised for something he said about the Khana Ratsadon Party, which played an instrumental role in changing Thailand’s system from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy in 1932. The secretary-general of Thanathorn’s party has also been forced to deny making highly-controversial comments about Thailand’s political culture.

Future Forward did very well on March 24, surpassing pundits’ predictions for the new party. Analysts say the success is due to three main factors — Thanathorn’s youthful image that attracted the majority of first-time voters, the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart Party that shifted a lot of votes to Future Forward, and the new party’s fresh ideology and perspectives.

He, and the party, attracted a lot of newer voters along with a core of disaffected voters who are looking for change.

But Thanathorn’s looming legal trouble is described as a potential banana skin. It concerns a large number of shares he had in a media company, which were transferred to his mother so that he could qualify as an election candidate.

One apparently-private document, which he is relying on, showed he transferred the V-Luck Media Company shares on January 8, before he applied for election candidacy. Another document, which his accusers are relying on, apparently showed the transfer was brought to the authorities’ attention after he became an election candidate.

Controversy continues to build around the young billionaire and chances are it will grow.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger

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