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October 8th, at 09.30, Deputy Prime Minister Vissanu Kruangam was the conference chairman of the Office of the Decentralization to the Local Government Organization Committee (ODLOC) meeting 2/2014 at the cabinet room at The Secretariat of the Cabinet Office (the new building), second floor, the Government House. The officers from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public and Health, and Ministry of Finance, along with qualified persons and officers from the Department of Local Administration (DLA), attended this meeting.
Mr. Vissanu Kruangam said before the meeting started that the information about dissolving the Department of Local Administration is not true. He also explained that it’s the ODLOC’s responsibility to decentralize power from the central, which is the Ministry of Interior, to the DLA, and that demolishing or dissolving the DLA is not for the ODLOC to decide. He also verified that the government has no thoughts of dissolving the DLA.
“The Prime Minister said someone spread the news about dissolving the DLA, but please know and understand that it’s not true”, said Mr. Vissanu Kruangam.
After the meeting ended, Mr. Vissanu Kruangam said again that everyone was aware and had considered important issues which concluded the allocation of general subsidies for local government officers and employees’ medical treatment expenses for 2,000 million baht.
Mr. Ramnet Jaikwang, the mayor of Koh Samui, Surat Thani, said he is glad the government is pushing Koh Samui to have a Pattaya-like city status because the people in Koh Samui will gain a lot from it. Also, he has been studying and discussing with the locals about it for over 10 years, so they can get it started right away.
“What the people in Koh Samui want is full decentralization in local government, not 50 percent from election and the other 50 percent from appointment because that’s not decentralization,” Mr. Ramnet Jaikwang added, “some are worried the power will be taken back to the Ministry of Interior which is like walking backwards.”
Mr. Senee Phuwasetthawon, president of the Tourism Association Of Koh Samui, stated that Koh Samui having a special city status can be done right away for the people and entrepreneurs have agreed with the idea since the beginning. Plus, it will help with the development, and the city will develop faster.