Candidates in the March 3 Bangkok governor election took part in three separate forums yesterday, promising to turn the capital into a better place to live and make it a regional hub. They also offered their views on dealing with the number of stray dogs in the city.
Among the candidates participating were former governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the Democrat Party, Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen from Pheu Thai Party, former national police chief Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, businessman Kosit Suvinijjit and DJ and businessman Suharit Siamwalla.
The events were hosted separately by the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science and Nation Channel at the Coast Bangkok condominium.
At the SET event, Kosit vowed to turn Bangkok into a “24-hour metropolis” in order to better respond to the round-the-clock lifestyle. He also wants to turn Bangkok into the “Hollywood of Asean”, making it a regional centre for art, culture and entertainment.
Pongsapat’s platform focuses on “returning happiness and smiles” to Bangkok by cutting the cost of living, ensuring safety and easing traffic congestion.
Sukhumbhand aims to turn the capital into Asean’s regional economic centre. He also called for a further decentralisation of power to allow greater authority to the Bangkok administration.
Sereepisuth’s focus is on making Bangkok a regional economic, tourism and culture hub. He also promised to get tough on graft.
Suharit pointed to the need for efficient city planning to turn all 50 of the city’s districts into tourist attractions. He also called for more independence for the city officials to improve its competitiveness among other global cities.
At the Nation Channel event, Sukhumbhand talked about the many projects started and completed over the last four years of his term as governor, including the extension of the BTS Skytrain to Soi Bearing, flood-prevention walls, wastewater tunnels and a new state-run hospital. If re-elected, he promised to immediately get to work on more projects, including more bicycle lanes, more tunnels under railroad crossings and more road shortcuts.
Sereepisuth promised to reduce crime by offering free meals to the unemployed at all city temples. There would also be vocational training. He would seek to put city police under Bangkok control, or train the City law enforcement officers to do police work.
Kosit said under his “Bangkok 24 hours” policy there would be fewer unemployed residents as well as fewer criminals. He would also set up a business incubation centre in every district to create new jobs and boost incomes.
Suharit said an efficient mass transit network was needed to solve chronic traffic congestion.
The focus of the CU veterinary faculty event was stray animals.
Pongsapat said he’d set up a new city agency to directly deal with the problem and vowed to make strays part of the “national agenda”.
Sereepisuth promised to set up animal shelters in every district. Registration of dogs would also help ease the problem, he said.
Kosit’s plan would involve the training of strays to become guard dogs, sniffer dogs and show dogs, plus shelters for older animals.
Suharit said he would start with sterilising strays and finding new homes for them, with the help of civil society and the public in order to save the state funds spent on feeding the animals.