University Construction Project Gets Legal Fast-Track From Junta

Prince Mahidol Hall, Mahidol University [Photo from University website].

BANGKOK — Thailand's military junta has exempted a prominent state university's construction project from a number of legal requirements without providing any explanation.

In a televised broadcast at 11 pm last night, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) explained that the construction of a new building by Mahidol University's Faculty of Medicine is needed to increase the efficiency of medical science research to provide better care to patients.

"Furthermore, it is meant to honour His Majesty the King on the occasion of His 7th Birthday Cycle," the NCPO announcement read.

The construction project was approved by the previous Cabinet on 12 February last year but was later stalled due to existing laws that prevented the university from building a high-rise structure in the area, the NCPO noted. 

Therefore, the NCPO stated, it is necessary to suspend a number of laws and legal requirements to allow Mahidol University to push forward with the project.

The laws suspended are the 1992 Building Safety Control Act, the 2013 Bangkok City Planning Ministerial Regulation, the 1991 ban on certain types of construction in the area west of Chao Praya River imposed by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), and the 2001 BMA Ordinance on Building Restriction. 

The 1992 Building Safety Control Act regulates a wide range of building codes, including the construction of fire exits, emergency sprinklers, restrooms, and sewage dispoal systems. 

The NCPO announcement also exempted the construction of the 27-floor facility from having to undergo an evaluation of its impact on the environment.

According to Mahidol University's Faculty of Medicine, which also supplies personnel to the state-owned Siriraj Hospital, the new facility will be located in Bangkok Noi district and span 3,037 square metres. 

The NCPO did not explain why the project pursued by Mahidol University was fast-tracked.

Since staging the coup against the elected government on 22 May, the NCPO has assumed full authority of the country's administration, virtually without any check on its power, and has outlawed any criticism of its missions. 

 

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