Thailand: The Prime Minister proposes to relocate its capital from Bangkok

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Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha proposed the idea of moving Thailand’s capital to another province following the footsteps of Indonesia and Egypt so as to decentralise urban area around Bangkok and ease the heavy traffic congestion.

Just like Jakarta, Bangkok is also home to more than 10 million people, both cities are confronting challenges such as high population density, heavy traffic congestion, alarming pollution problems and rise on sea levels.

Bangkok is ranked as the eighth most congested in the world with some 10 million vehicles on the capital city’s road every day and according to the prime minister, relocating the government to the outskirts of Bangkok could help ease traffic.

The prime minister highlighted two possible approaches to moving the crowded Thai capital. “The first is finding a city that’s neither too far nor too expensive to move to. The second is to decentralise the urban area to outer Bangkok to reduce crowding,” he explained.

From his side, the National Economic and Social Development Council of Thailand, Thosaporn Sirisamphand, accentuated that for now it is just a mere idea at the stage. He explained that the prime minister did not ask the agency to seriously study the possibility yet, and that his recent suggestion may have been just a light thought.

“Capital relocation is a big issue and needs serious cooperation from various agencies,” he said. “I think General Prayut just threw an idea out to the public on how to tackle traffic congestion in Bangkok.”

As a reminder, this is not the first time the idea of relocating the capital has been brought up. The former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra also suggested to shift the capital to Nakhon Nayok, a province 100km from the capital. However, the idea was never implemented.

“Past governments were never able to pull this off, fearing it would cause irreparable conflict in society”. Said the current prime minister.