Thaksin-Era Creative Organisations Threatened Closure by Government

 | Tue 17 Nov 2015 03:07 ICT

CityNews – Thai netizens have raised concerns on social media after reports went viral last week about the imminent closing down of the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (OKMD), Thailand Creative and Design Centre (TCDC), Thai Knowledge Park (TK Park), and Museum Siam, a proposal which was to be discussed at the cabinet meeting on November 10th.

These organisations, each and every one founded by the governments of previous Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are all involved with the design, arts, crafts and the more creative arms of society, aimed to help support creativity, offering resources and knowledge and creating a vibrancy in arts and design in Thailand.

However, after the meeting, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, prime minister and head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCOP), insisted that the junta hasn’t yet commanded the closure of OKMD, TCDC, TK Park, and Siam Museum. The Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC) have been asked to evaluate these organisations’ works and employees’ roles within the next three to six months to check whether the budgets have been used as proposed or not. If not, the organisations will be closed down, like other funded organisations which had earlier been examined. The prime minister added that this will help manage budgets effectively.


This announcement was confirmed by Duangrit Bunnag, a famous designer and architect, who posted a flurry of message on his Facebook on November 11th:

“I unofficially talked to employees of TCDC last Sunday and learnt that OPDC has intended to close down OKMD, which will be listed on the first range of public organisations to be closed down (see documents in a clip of Voice TV).”

“Bringing organisations like TCDC, TK Park, and Museum Siam to be a part of the bureaucracy system might cause a limitation of providing effectively private services to residents. TCDC, TK Park, Museum Siam, working perfectly now, might be gone or changed due to the limitation of the bureaucracy system. Lower budgets might be used, but in the meantime, it will cause a lack of effective [services] for residents. (Take a look at organisations close to you as an example.)”

At the end of his post, he had revealed that the government were having second thoughts:

“TCDC employees told me the result of the cabinet meeting that the prime minister kindly removed this agenda from consideration.”

“I believe that OPDC won’t offer the consideration of closing down OKMD to the cabinet meeting again. The prime minister clearly won’t close down TCDC, TK Park, and Museum Siam as this matter has been monitored by the press already. If OPDC had this thought [of closing down OKMD] in mind, they had to have more reliable reasons to prove as this matter has been buzzed in public already.”