The current Interior Ministry has promised to modernise its working process and complete a database of influential figures in the country within the next six months, according to Deputy Minister Chada Thaised.
In an interview with the Bangkok Post, Mr Chada, one of the three current deputies, said that he was ordered by Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to lead three main key missions.
Those were land reformation with the Department of Land (DoL), the "One Tambon, One Product (Otop)" promotion with the Community Development Department (CDD), and the highly anticipated local mafia-like kingpins list.
Pushing land reform
Speaking on the issue of land reformation, Mr Chada says the problem of encroachment by locals and investors is greater and messier than the public perceives.
Wrongful issue of land deeds is just one example, according to Mr Chada, and could cost the public sector about 100 billion baht in court and legal costs, "and we have not even talked about any building on the conflicted land yet", he said.
Forest encroachment was also on Mr Chada's mind, as he said that the problem mostly happened because authorities let it happen due to incorrect methods of boundary drawing, issuing deeds without proper investigation or not strictly enforcing laws.
"The Royal Forest Department should take full responsibility as it is part of the false authorisation when issuing land titles. One reason is because of a shortage of experienced cadastral field officials and tools to measure forest lands accurately," he said.
As a result, some land deeds are issued on reserved forest lands.
To solve the problem, Mr Chada said he would set up a working committee to revise every law and land measurement to solve the disputes.
It might take 3-6 months to solve the problems.
He also said that he would look into the establishment of a school to teach cadastral surveying to help support the need for trained officials.
"We need to do something, or else the problem will remain unsolved," said Mr Chada.
Otops for Soft Power
The Interior Ministry will work closely with the Community Development Department (CDD) to further promote the Otop project, said Mr Chada.
This promotion will be done not only physically but also digitally to reach out to a wider audience not only here but also abroad, he added.
As CDD has a core mission to oversee the development of communities and their people's wellbeing, Mr Chada said that he and the CDD's new director-general, Chaiwat Chuenkosum, would work together a lot in the coming months.
"There will be many issues to be discussed with the new CDD director-general," he said.
Masterlist of local mafia
Mr Chada is also working hard on concluding a list of influential mafia-linked figures.
He was assigned by Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to lead the mission, which began after the shooting death of a highway police officer at a dinner party at the home of Praween Chanklai, aka "Kamnan Nok", a local leader and construction business operator, on Sept 6 in Nakhon Pathom province.
The influential figures being added to this list, in his explanation, are the ones who use their reputations for power abuses of every kind.
It will take at least six months to compile, he said.
As for now, the ministry has lists obtained from the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) and police and is now waiting for a list of influential figures from the other ministries for a second check to prevent repetition.
The final list will consist of 700-800 names, including 100 names written in red to denote their high status, but more thorough checking is needed, he said.
"We will make sure to keep track of those names while preventing any newcomers from building their empire," Mr Chada said.
"We are also relying on the cooperation of local administrations, including village kamnans (tambon chiefs), local leaders and district chiefs to supply us with information," he said.
He will meet with those local leaders next month to discuss their cooperation.
When asked about a public perception that the Interior Ministry has appointed its own "mafia-like" figure in Mr Chada to address the crime issue, he said that he had no time to worry about critics focussing on bygone and irrelevant incidents from his past.
"I want to do this job, so I won't do anything [about critics] until I finish my work," he said.