Politics may block popular MRTA incumbent's governorship bid

Construction News


Published on September 21, 2010

Prapat Chongsanguan’s prospects for returning as governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority look dim, as he seems to have failed to gain the support of key politicians, a source said yesterday.

The former governor has the backing of the MRTA’s staff, the source from the agency said.

“He has also won support from contractors such as Ch Karnchang and Italian-Thai Development. They know that with him as governor, the process in following the rules will be facilitated. The process could be complicated with a governor who has no experience in the job,” he said.

During his two terms as MRTA governor, Prapat established a strong bond and trust with employees, and this is crucial to ensuring the speedy implementation of ongoing mass transit projects, he said.

Ch Karnchang and Ital-Thai are the bid winners for the Purple Line. The MRTA also supervises the Blue Line from Bang Sue-Tha Phra to Bang Khae-Hua Lamphong. The authority has named the winners for the construction projects, but progress depends on budget disbursement.

Prapat left the MRTA in 2008 to join the Bangkok governor’s race. His move to run for governor under the People Power Party banner was the only blemish on his credentials, the source said.

“While at the party, he did not belong to the faction of Newin Chidchob. The chances for him to win the MRTA governor’s race is slim, unless contractors can convince Newin of this choice,” he said.

The People Power Party, now known as the Pheu Thai Party, was formed mainly by members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai party – an arch-rival of the government’s leading coalition party, the Democrats.

Newin, now a major sponsor of the Bhum Jai Thai Party, is known as the true power-wielder at the Transport Ministry, not its minister Sophon Saram.

Opas Phetmunee, director of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, has apparently gathered enough political support to lead the MRTA after the Bhum Jai Thai Party’s failure to push the Bangkok NGV (natural gas for vehicles) bus project through.

Applications for the MRTA chief closed last Friday. The other seven applicants are Chatkanok Ngarmpatanapongchai, 39, an engineer of the Rittha construction company; San Nuanon, 41, director of Bangkok University’s creative enterprise development institute; Boonsom Lerthirunwong, 57, dean of engineering at Chulalongkorn University; Sombat Nanuna, 53, vice president for operations at Transport Co; Opas, 53, of the BMTA; Chart Pruekpong-ammat, managing director of Water U; and Vikrom Wongnimmarn, assistant manager of Thai Copper Industries.

All candidates will be called on to present their vision tomorrow during the interview and screening of credentials by the committee chaired by Pol Lt-General Somyos Phumphanmuang, an assistant police chief.

Leave a Reply