Aswin insists he is not tied to any party

Aswin insists he is not tied to any party

First priority is to honour His Majesty

New Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, seen here (in grey suit) arguing with residents of Mahakan Fort, is to begin his first full day in office Thursday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
New Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, seen here (in grey suit) arguing with residents of Mahakan Fort, is to begin his first full day in office Thursday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

New Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang insists he is "not politically aligned to any party" and that his focus will be on managing traffic and providing shelter for people.

However, at the moment, paying respect to His Majesty will be at the top of his priorities.

Pol Gen Aswin replaces Sukhumbhand Paribatra who was suspended from work without pay on Aug 25 amid allegations of misspending state funds and then removed from his job on Tuesday.

The action followed an investigation by the Office of the Attorney-General into the expenditure of 39.5 million baht on a light show at Lan Khon Muang in front of City Hall from Dec 31 last year to Jan 31.

Pol Gen Aswin met Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon Wednesday.

The purpose of the meeting was to make preparations for the large crowds expected to flock to the Grand Palace this weekend, which is a holiday, to pay respects to the late King.

Pol Gen Aswin said after the meeting the prime minister expressed his concerns about traffic problems and the long queues of people expected at the Grand Palace to sign condolences to the King.

He said the City Hall would set up tents for people to shelter them from heat and rain.

Gen Prayut, in his capacity as chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Tuesday invoked Section 44 of the interim charter to remove MR Sukhumbhand from the governorship and appointed Pol Gen Aswin in his place.

Pol Gen Aswin said he would "not bring in politicians or those with political affiliations" into his team.

He said he was assembling a team of four deputies and insisted he would not bring in those with political affiliations amid reports that he met Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai Wednesday morning.

"I'm not tied to any political party," he insisted. "I've never applied for party membership," he said when asked if he sought advice from any senior members of the Democrat Party following his appointment.

Pol Gen Aswin said his team of deputies would be submitted to Prime Minister Prayut for approval "before Friday".

Pol Gen Aswin, also a member of the National Reform Steering Assembly, said he would not resign from the reform body, stressing he is dedicated to his work and "would not waste taxpayers' money".

On his farewell message on Facebook, MR Sukhumbhand, who was elected twice as the city governor, thanked voters and BMA administrators and workers for their support during his nearly eight years in office. He pledged to continue working for the public good.

"Most important of all, I would like to thank the people of Bangkok for electing me to work as Bangkok governor for two terms," he wrote. "At times of flood and political crises, all of you cooperated fully with the BMA. I will remember your kindness throughout my life.

"I would like to bid farewell to you all who gave me the mandate to run the city administration for the past eight years, but I will not abandon my intention to do good things for the Thai people, including Bangkokians."

MR Sukhumbhand said he has worked in the interest of the majority, both in public and private sectors.

"I remain committed to working for the public," MR Sukhumbhand wrote.

He also congratulated Pol Gen Assawin on the appointment and offered his moral support.

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