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Phuket Governor to call in Bangkok crew to pave way for B450mn Provincial Hall

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket Governor to call in Bangkok crew to pave way for B450mn Provincial Hall | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut yesterday announced he would call in officers from Bangkok to help verify – or discredit – claims made by opponents to Phuket’s proposed new 450-million-baht Provincial Hall.

The debate over whether or not the new five-story building should be built at Sanam Chai (map here) continued yesterday with hundreds of local residents turning out at a public meeting chaired by Governor Maitri.

Rungsan Kongthong, one of the key opponents to the project, alleged that the proposed new building contravenes the Public Works and Town & Country Planning Act.

“Sanam Chai is designated a public recreation area where construction is prohibited,” he said.

“Also, the field is a part of Phuket’s history. So many things have happened at the site. It is even called Chai, which means ‘victory’. It is a place of auspicious beginnings. Phuket people have many good memories of the field,” he added.

Mr Rangsan also alleged that some of the land the government plans to build on is private land.

“Some of the land the field occupies is not government land, it does not belong to the Treasury Department. Some areas are privately owned,” Mr Rungsan said.

He also alleged that the size of the new building would not leave enough room at the site for the popular tennis courts to remain.

“Phuket residents are concerned about losing the football field and the tennis courts, which they use not only for sport, but also for social and community events,” he added.

Sanam Chai was used to host government-sponsored Chinese New Year celebrations as recently as February (story here), the Phuket Gazette notes.

“Once the construction is finished, it will become a government property, which means security will be set and Phuket people who used to go to the field will be prohibited, as the multi-million baht building will need to be protected,” Mr Rangsan added.

Former Rassada Mayor Suratin Lianudom, who successfully campaigned against buses using a u-turn when exiting new Phuket Bus Terminal 2 (story here), supported Mr Rangsan’s call to find an alternative location for the new Provincial Hall.

“The field belongs to Phuket people. Please build the new Provincial Hall somewhere else,” he said.

“Please reconsider this, do not build on our historical land that we always use for social and community events,” Mr Suratin added.

Patong Mayor Pian Keesin, a Phuket native, appealed for people to allow rational progress. “It is time for Phuket to move on. We all love Phuket, but please think forward,” he said.

“Phuket is growing and I believe this building is appropriate: it matches Phuket’s image, it’s a nice building and it will help alleviate the shortage of parking spaces in Phuket Town.

“It took years to get the 450mn-baht budget from the Cabinet. That much money being given to us means it makes sense to build the new hall,” he said.

Governor Maitri explained that the current Provincial Hall has been in use for 105 years.

“The building is showing its age and is too small. It is crowded when many people meet there at the same time,” he said.

Governor Maitri was very clear that he would do his best to make sure the new building goes ahead.

“Please be informed that I have been ordered by the Minister of Interior to finish this project. I have received the order and I will get it done,” he stated.

“I would like to hold another meeting to clarify matters. Five of the protestors will act as representatives. Officers from relevant central departments in Bangkok will join the meeting to clarify all the issues, including land ownership and where the building will be built,” the governor said.

“We need to resolve this conflict and move forward together,” Gov Maitri added.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.


Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund

Maya Taylor



Thailand’s Social Security Office forced to explain investment in Sri Panwa Phuket Resort trust fund | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sri Panwa Phuket Resort - Sri Panwa Phuket

The Social Security Office, a department under the direction of Thailand’s Ministry of Labour, is being asked to explain its investment in the trust fund of Phuket’s Sri Panwa Phuket Resort. The demand comes as members of the opposition and political activists call for an investigation into the property’s land rights. The owner of Sri Panwa Phuket, Vorasit Issara, has been condemned online recently, with his property attracting multiple negative reviews, after he criticised anti-government protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Thai PBS World reports that the Civil Society for State Welfare is calling on the SSO to clarify its investment in the Sri Panwa Hospitality Real Estate Investment Trust, thought to be worth around 500 million baht. Nimit Thian-udom says that, while the SSO’s investment does not break any laws, the board must explain the reasons behind the investment decision and clarify the return on that investment. In addition, he says the SSO should attach more importance to good governance when choosing where to invest.

The call for clarity is echoed by opposition MP Chirayu Huangsap, from the Pheu Thai Party, who calls on the Labour Minister to explain the investment. He adds that any discrepancies will be reported to both the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

The land rights of the luxury Sri Panwa Phuket resort, which sits on prime land atop Phuket’s Cape Panwa, overlooking the south-eastern tip of the island, are also being called into question. Veera Somkwamkid, from the People’s Network Against Corruption, says he is looking into the property’s land rights and will pass his findings to the Department of Special Investigations.

For his part, the Labour Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, says he doesn’t know if the property has been legally built, saying it’s up to the DSI to investigate and that a complaint does not need to be filed in order for them to do so.

Meanwhile, review site Tripadvisor has had to suspend reviews for the Sri Panwa resort, as anti-government netizens exact their revenge on the proprietor by posting negative feedback on the property.

“Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities

Caitlin Ashworth



Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chachoengsao join UNESCO’s learning cities | The Thaiger

3 cities in Thailand recently joined UNESCO’s membership of so called “learning cities” which are said to promote “lifelong learning” and sustainable development. Chachoengsao, Chiang Mai and Phuket joined the UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities. Altogether, 55 cities from 27 countries, adding up to 230 cities in 64 countries around the world, according to UNESCO.

“These cities are outstanding examples of how lifelong learning can become a reality at local level. They have proven that effective lifelong learning policies and practices can support the development of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and contribute to the 2030 Agenda.”

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning David Atchoarena says the recent new members have shown that they can make “lifelong learning a reality,” even after enduring the pandemic.

“With unprecedented urgency, the Covid-19-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity to build more resilient education systems for the future. With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities must be at the centre of this undertaking.”

David says he hopes it will inspire other cities in Thailand to follow.

“I very much hope that we will see many other cities from Thailand joining the network and working on providing lifelong learning opportunities for all to ensure a sustainable and peaceful future.”

The mayor of Chachoengsao, Kolayuth Chaisang, says his goal is to provide “effective education, thoroughly and equally to all citizens.” According to the Bangkok Post, the city is a key urban centre both economically and culturally.

The mayor of Chiang Mai, Tussanai Buranupakorn, says he wants to revitalise the city, while also maintaining the cultural significance. The city has a number of educational institutes, which goes along with UNESCO’s learning city principles.

Phuket is a hub of sustainable creativity, according to the Bangkok Post. The mayor of Phuket, Somjai Suwansupana, says he wants to preserve the city’s “identity, local wisdom assets and the charm of our multiculturalism.”


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Newborn baby found on bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth



Newborn baby found on bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

A newborn baby was found on a bench at a neighborhood by Phuket’s Patong Road. The baby boy was wrapped in cloth and left inside a reusable shopping bag. The bag also had a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing.

A woman walking by early in the morning heard the baby crying. She followed the cries and found the baby on the bench. She called police and calmed the baby, feeding him milk that was left in the bag.

Police took the baby to the Patong Hospital. The baby, about a week old, is in good health, police say.

“Police and rescue workers together rushed to the scene and called Patong Hospital to have a medical team meet us there … This baby is healthy and does not appear to have suffered any injuries. He is now safe and being cared for at Patong Hospital.”

Police are reviewing surveillance camera footage to see if they can track down the mother, or whoever left the baby behind.

Newborn baby found on bench in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Phuket News

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