Governor candidates unveil Bangkok master plans in Nation debate

Five leading candidates running for governor revealed their master plans for developing the capital.

The Nation

The Nation



May 17, 2022

BANGKOK – Laying out their visions for Bangkok were Chadchart Sittipunt and Sakoltee Phattiyakul (independents), plus the Democrat Party’s Suchatvee Suwansawat, Move Forward’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn and Thai Sang Thai’s Sita Dhivari.

‘Generate revenue from tourism, hotel tax’

Sakoltee said he would collect tax from hotels that would generate more than 10 billion baht in revenue to improve Bangkokians’ quality of life.

“In 2016, Bangkok received the most tourists in the world, but we didn’t take advantage of this,” he said.

Meanwhile Suchatvee said he would boost tourists’ confidence in Covid-19 safety and hold festivals across all 50 districts of the capital to attract them.

Wiroj echoed Sakoltee in vowing to collect guest fees from hotels to power Bangkok’s overall development.

Increase welfare for the disabled

Sita said disabled Bangkokians must be given more access to welfare and jobs. All Bangkok agencies must offer positions for this group, he added.

“Government agencies ignore human rights, especially for the disabled,” he said.

Sakoltee also promised to improve the lives of disabled people and give them job opportunities in Bangkok agencies. He said he would also boost their labour skills so they could live with dignity.

Using state land to help vendors

Chadchart said he would ensure all street vendors were registered and made hygiene-aware. A committee would be set up to oversee vendors, who would be allowed to sell goods on state land. “We now have 84 areas [in Bangkok] where hawkers can sell goods, but more than 10,000 have gone,” he said.

Sakoltee said he would also assist hawkers and allow them to sell goods on government agency land.

Using technology to tackle floods

Sita said he would deploy hi-tech ways of forecasting rain to strengthen Bangkok’s defences against flooding.

Wiroj, meanwhile, said the flooding problem had been worsened by budget cuts for pumping stations and dredging.

“Only 8 per cent of the budget has been disbursed [this year], showing that those responsible for this issue cannot work, so we have to deal with this,” he said.

Suchatvee said he would launch a flood-defence project to protect Bangkok from high sea levels while also deploying the internet as an early-warning system.

“Using WiFi to combat flood problems will change Bangkokians’ lives,” he said.

Tackle city-planning chaos

Chadchart said Bangkok pavements must meet modern standards and be built to last.

“We will not allow contractors to work on their own,” he said. “At least 1,000 kilometres of pavements must be improved.”

He added that environmental impact assessments (EIA) must be conducted on all condo and other high-building projects.

Meanwhile, Sita vowed to amend “outdated” laws covering high-building projects to give local communities a say in their construction.

Smart city development

Suchatvee said he would deploy hi-tech to develop Bangkok into a smart city within four years.

“Technologies will solve many issues and boost citizens happiness and safety,” he said.

He added that all Bangkokians would be given free internet, which would also increase accountability and help eliminate corruption.

Wiroj said technologies and digital governance must be transparent and able to tackle corruption.

Boosting revenue for city and citizens

Sakoltee vowed to ensure Bangkokians could generate revenue and use their income wisely. He added that income would be distributed more evenly, reaching communities to improve people’s quality of life.

Wiroj, meanwhile, said tax revenue would be used to subsidise Bangkok’s small companies.

He added that tax revenue would be used to boost welfare for the elderly, children and disabled people.

Right to protest?

Wiroj said he would prepare stages to allow protesters to hold rallies in line with their constitutional rights while ensuring their safety.

He said he was ready to support rallies in line with the law, vowing that he would listen to citizens’ problems and generate revenue for them.

Suchatvee said he would also protect protesters’ right to free speech in line with laws, adding that he considered Bangkokians his family members.

Chadchart said he would facilitate protesters by providing them with drinking water, toilets and medical aid. He also vowed to make Bangkok a dynamic place to live for all people.

“For Bangkokians who are desperate, I am ready to offer hope,” he added.

Meanwhile, Sita said he would take care of protesters in all aspects in line with the law. He also vowed to use his experience and budget effectively.

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