MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra accepts he is likely to work under fierce pressure during his second term as Bangkok governor because of much higher expectations from city residents.
‘‘ Actually, I never thought I would be defeated in this election. SUKHUMBHANDPARIBATRA
"I know there is much more expected from me [in the next four years], I will do my best to serve and meet the expectations of those who elected and those who didn't vote for me," said MR Sukhumbhand in an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post.
MR Sukhumbhand will not be confirmed as governor until the Election Commission gives its endorsement.
The Bangkok governor-elect has acknowledged criticism that he won the Bangkok election because people voted for his party in its battle with Pheu Thai rather than for him.
"For me, it does not make a difference [votes for the party or him]. My mission is the same," he said.
"I have to put my campaign promises into practice to serve millions of Bangkok people without concerning myself where the votes came from," he said, adding that the criticism has not disheartened him.
Responding to the charge that his first four years in office lacked a tangible outcome, MR Sukhumbhand said his only problem was in public relations.
MR Sukhumbhand said because of the poor public relations, people failed to understand the results of his efforts.
City Hall's budget for PR is divided up for each department so putting public relation schemes into practice was inefficient, he said.
"Did you know deputy Bangkok governors have their own PR budgets but the governor does not?" he said.
As a result, the PR budget would be centralised during his second term, the governor-elect said.
MR Sukhumbhand insisted that all campaign promises made to voters during his campaign in the 2009 election were met in spite of unfavourable situations. "No Bangkok governor in the past faced as many problems as I did," he said.
During the past four years he had to struggle through both political disputes and flood crises, he noted.
He said people tended to judge his performance based on physical outcomes, such as construction projects, while ignoring intellectual ones such as education development.
He claimed that during his first term, education development in Bangkok had progressed with learning standards and students' welfare in Bangkok schools now higher than those under the Education Ministry.
MR Sukhumbhand said he was ready to work with the Pheu Thai-led government to improve Bangkok and believed the government is willing to work with him.
"It is a step in the right direction that both Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and I have announced we intend to cooperate with each other," he said. "Only time will tell."
MR Sukhumbhand said he felt he was not under pressure during the election campaign despite polls showing he was trailing Pheu Thai candidate Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen.
"Actually, I never thought I would be defeated in this election," he said. "I felt the polls were not correct."
He said he paid no attention to exit polls on election day because exit polls in Thailand are unreliable. "Unlike foreign voters, Thai people tend not to say who they voted for."
He denied asking candidate Suharit Siamwalla to be a deputy Bangkok governor, saying that the selection of four deputy governors and nine advisers is expected to be finalised next week.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the party would select the deputy Bangkok governors early next week. Potential choices include Democrat MPs Ong-art Klampaibul and Samart Ratchapolsitte, Deputy City Clerk Chumpol Sampaothong and Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut. MR Sukhumbhand said his immediate goals, which will be completed in six to 12 months, include cutting fares on the BTS's On Nut-Bearing section and the Wong Wian Yai-Pho Nimitr section from 15 baht to 10 baht and BRT bus fares from 10 baht to 5 baht. He also intends to complete the installation of 27,000 CCTV cameras and 20,000 WiFi hot spots, and open two out of three planned new large public parks.
He said the five light electric rail routes would begin if their environment impact assessments are approved.
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Writer: Soonruth Bunyamanee & Supoj Wancharoen