Bangkok Post Beach Land Story Print and Be Damned
It's the day after the sensational headline which has stirred controversy alleging that '90% of beach front land in Phuket is controlled by Foreigners through illegal nominees.' Today the Bangkok Post has provided a follow up with quotes from the Phuket Land Office who has asked not to be named, but confirmed that all land on the island is legally owned by Thai's and land titles legally issued.
Based on the Thailand Research Fund who released their report on Sunday, it highlights that foreign land holdings are concentrated on Patong and Rawai beach. The Post spoke to Patong's Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukhabal who confirmed all land ownership in his area was legal. Most land in Patong he stated was owned by families including Ekwaniches, Yitengs, Pachanthabuts, Keesins, Somnams, Jirayus and Tantiwits.
We checked the Thailand Research Fund's website www.trf.or.th and the report has not been listed. The website of the fund details is activities as follows:
"The TRF was established in response to the 1992 Research Endowment Act. It is a juristic body that enjoys being part of the government system but outside the government administrative bureaucracy. This freedom allows great efficiency in research support.
Realizing the importance of research to national development, the Anan Punyarachun Cabinet in its April 23, 1991 meeting agreed to create a working board comprising the Minister of the Prime Minister's Office (Dr. Phaichitr Uathavikul), the Minister of Science, Technology, and Environment (Professor Dr. Sanga Sabhasri), and the Minister of Industry (Professor Dr. Sippanondha Ketudat) to investigate the overall picture of research in Thailand in order to promote useful research results.
The Cabinet approved the idea of Research Endowment Act in June 1991, and the Act was passed and published in the Government Gazette on April 2, 1992.
Later on, the Cabinet appointed the chairman and members of the TRF Policy Board. On March 30, 1993 the TRF Policy Board appointed the Director of the TRF and the operation of TRF started. A year later, the Cabinet appointed the chairman and members of the Evaluation Board which will follow-up and evaluate funded research projects."
As to exactly who the the organization is, it's listed under the Prime Minister's office as a Public Organization along with the Thailand Public Broadcasting Service, Designated Areas of Sustainable Tourism Administration, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau and The Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment.
Its interesting to note that another of these organizations DASTA (Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration) who were holding hearing in Phuket over the proposed Saphan Hin mega project made news headlines when quotes were made by an attendee that majority of land in Phuket was owned by foreigners.
For the Bangkok Post if appears they have taken a print and be damned approach to the tabloid cover story one day and a smallish follow up the next. Reading the furor of comments on both the Post's web site and local blogs this is a highly emotional issue which has continued to propel the issue into the media focus.