Bangkok mayor suspended by Thailand’s junta

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Bangkok governor managing floods
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra (center) managing this year’s monsoon floods

The governor of Thailand’s eight-million-people capital Bangkok, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, has been suspended until further notice without pay amidst an ongoing graft case against him. The country’s prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha, also chairman of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order, has invoked Section 44 of the interim charter to suspend the governor.

Sukhumbhand is allegedly involved in a 39-million-baht ($1.1-million) corruption scandal over overpaid festivity expenses at City Hall last year and other cases of misspending of public funds for which the Auditor General said evidence has been found.

Sukhumband denies any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said that he would only step down if the national anti-graft agency found him guilty. However, General Prayuth cut short the mayor’s defiance by issuing the Section 44 order which grants him authority to take any action for the sake of “national security.”

In the order, Prayuth said it was “necessary to suspend bureaucrats accused of corruption” while their inquiries were underway. He added that he would “consider” restoring the twice-elected governor to his position only after he gets cleared of any wrongdoing.

The case has a bigger dimension since Sukhumband is the scion of an extended arm of the Thai royal family and as such a second-grade cousin of King Bhumibol. As a member of the Democrat Party, he was elected Bangkok governor in 2009 and again in 2013.

However, apart from his alleged involvement in corrupt deals, many Bangkok residents criticise him for mismanagement of the city’s infrastructure maintenance, his handling of the ever-recurring floodwater problems, of not delivering solutions for the dirty and clogged waterways and drainage systems, expensive but abandoned construction projects, and, as of late, millions of bahts spent on his own office renovation and the procurement of non-deployable vehicles for public services such as firetrucks.

In his reactions, he is usually rather undiplomatic and uncooperative. For example, in an excuse for the ineffective flood management in the city this year he simply remarked: “Bangkok is a water city. If you don’t want risky areas, go live on a mountain.”

He also became famous for his definition of floods in Bangkok as “water waiting to be drained.”

Meanwhile, canals in Bangkok remain clogged and their stench continues to attract myriads of mosquitoes. Damaged walkways are not getting repaired, and the garbage collection system remains improvised and residents keep dropping their rubbish bags on the streets were they lie waiting to be picked up by garbage trucks and in the meantime attract rats and other rodents and insects en masse.

There are very few litter bins, poor electrical appliances with wires hanging free overhead, a stray dog epidemic, no enforced hygienic standards for street food and very few public toilets at mass transport stations, just to point out a few problems. The air pollution gets more unbearable with humidity and there are no controls on vehicle emissions t speak of.

There also seem to be few public social services for homeless people, let alone street workers for the many drug addicts and those living in the spreading slum areas in the southern central part of the city.

And the list goes on. Residents say there would actually be a lot to do for a city administration that deserves its name in Bangkok.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra (center) managing this year’s monsoon floods

The governor of Thailand’s eight-million-people capital Bangkok, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, has been suspended until further notice without pay amidst an ongoing graft case against him. The country’s prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha, also chairman of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order, has invoked Section 44 of the interim charter to suspend the governor.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bangkok governor managing floods
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra (center) managing this year’s monsoon floods

The governor of Thailand’s eight-million-people capital Bangkok, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, has been suspended until further notice without pay amidst an ongoing graft case against him. The country’s prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha, also chairman of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order, has invoked Section 44 of the interim charter to suspend the governor.

Sukhumbhand is allegedly involved in a 39-million-baht ($1.1-million) corruption scandal over overpaid festivity expenses at City Hall last year and other cases of misspending of public funds for which the Auditor General said evidence has been found.

Sukhumband denies any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said that he would only step down if the national anti-graft agency found him guilty. However, General Prayuth cut short the mayor’s defiance by issuing the Section 44 order which grants him authority to take any action for the sake of “national security.”

In the order, Prayuth said it was “necessary to suspend bureaucrats accused of corruption” while their inquiries were underway. He added that he would “consider” restoring the twice-elected governor to his position only after he gets cleared of any wrongdoing.

The case has a bigger dimension since Sukhumband is the scion of an extended arm of the Thai royal family and as such a second-grade cousin of King Bhumibol. As a member of the Democrat Party, he was elected Bangkok governor in 2009 and again in 2013.

However, apart from his alleged involvement in corrupt deals, many Bangkok residents criticise him for mismanagement of the city’s infrastructure maintenance, his handling of the ever-recurring floodwater problems, of not delivering solutions for the dirty and clogged waterways and drainage systems, expensive but abandoned construction projects, and, as of late, millions of bahts spent on his own office renovation and the procurement of non-deployable vehicles for public services such as firetrucks.

In his reactions, he is usually rather undiplomatic and uncooperative. For example, in an excuse for the ineffective flood management in the city this year he simply remarked: “Bangkok is a water city. If you don’t want risky areas, go live on a mountain.”

He also became famous for his definition of floods in Bangkok as “water waiting to be drained.”

Meanwhile, canals in Bangkok remain clogged and their stench continues to attract myriads of mosquitoes. Damaged walkways are not getting repaired, and the garbage collection system remains improvised and residents keep dropping their rubbish bags on the streets were they lie waiting to be picked up by garbage trucks and in the meantime attract rats and other rodents and insects en masse.

There are very few litter bins, poor electrical appliances with wires hanging free overhead, a stray dog epidemic, no enforced hygienic standards for street food and very few public toilets at mass transport stations, just to point out a few problems. The air pollution gets more unbearable with humidity and there are no controls on vehicle emissions t speak of.

There also seem to be few public social services for homeless people, let alone street workers for the many drug addicts and those living in the spreading slum areas in the southern central part of the city.

And the list goes on. Residents say there would actually be a lot to do for a city administration that deserves its name in Bangkok.

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