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Phue Thai’s Pongsapat Pongcharoen’s pledge to expand Bangkok’s free bus service must not depend on national funding, says the Transport Minister, making it an instant campaign issue.
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Pheu Thai Party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen's campaign pledge to make all non-aircon bus services free of charge is likely to be popular with voters, but questions are being raised as to where the money will come from to run the project. APICHART JINAKUL
Campaign promises become an issue
The campaign for Bangkok governor is underway and the candidates have been out and about doing their best to gain public attention.
Thus, we have seen them visiting markets, riding bicycles, buses and boats, showing great concern for the young and old and even collecting a bit of garbage on the way.
Photos, not policies, seem to be the biggest attention-getters so far, but that may change – at least for a day or two.
Pheu Thai Party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen's campaign pledge to make all non-aircon bus services free of charge is coming under particular scrutiny.
Pol Gen Pongsapat has said his free bus fare scheme would be jointly subsidised by the Pheu Thai-led government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
Not so, says the man who would have to approve any national government funding.
Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said yesterday that taxpayers around the country could not be expected to pay for Bangkok's bus services. The BMA would have to use its own money if it was to provide free bus services for Bangkok residents.
"If City Hall wants to introduce a free bus scheme for Bangkok residents, it needs to pay the bus agency by itself. There are operational costs and expenses," he said.
Not surprisingly, the rival Democrats immediately made Mr Pongsapat’s promise a campaign issue.
Democrats are demanding an explanation of how candidate Pongsapat's 1200 baht per month living allowance for the elderly will be paid for. APICHART JINAKUL
Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called on Pol Gen Pongsapat to make it clear where he would find the money to fund his campaign promises, not just the free-bus scheme but his pledge to increase the monthly elderly living allowance to 1,200 baht per person as well.
Currently, the government provides a monthly allowance for the elderly, starting at 500 baht per person depending on age.
Adapted from a story in today's Bangkok Post by Amornrat Mahitthirook and Manop Thip-Osod.
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
pledge – a serious promise คำมั่้นสัญญา
popular – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
issue – a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
underway – happening กำลังเกิดขึ้น
gain – to obtain or win something, especially something that you need or want ได้รับ
public attention – interest from people in general ความสนใจจากผู้คน
concern – interest or worry ความสนใจ, ความกังวล
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
particular – specific เฉพาะ, จำเพาะ, โดยเฉพาะ
scrutiny – careful and thorough examination การตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
scheme – a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
jointly – done together อย่างร่วมกัน, พร้อมกัน, ด้วยกัน
subsidise – to pay part of the costs of something ให้ความช่วยเหลือด้านการเงิน
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) – the local government of Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
approve – to give official permission อนุมัต
funding – money given for a particular purpose การให้เงินสนับสนุน
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
City Hall – a city government, in this case, the Bangkok city government กรุงเทพมหานคร
operational – at the level where actions are carried out ระดับปฎิบัติการ
rival – of a person, group, team or business that competes with another ที่เป็นคู่แข่งกัน
immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
elderly – (of people) old สูงวัย, อาวุโส, อายุมาก
allowance – an amount of money that someone receives in order to pay for the things that they need เงินสนับสนุน, เบี้ยเลี้ยง
currently – at this time; now ในปัจจุบัน
depend on – according to; affected by things that happen ขึ้นอยู่กับ