Malaysia, Thailand cross-border trading to be round-the-clock, says Dr M

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha hold a joint press conference in Bangkok October 24, 2018. — Reuters pic
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha hold a joint press conference in Bangkok October 24, 2018. — Reuters pic

BANGKOK, Oct 24 — Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to open up their borders for 24-hour cross-border trading, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced today.

Putrajaya will also be constructing two bridges connecting Kelantan to the border to encourage the trade, he told a joint press conference with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Thailand’s Government House here.

Pointing out that trade is an important stimulus for a country’s economy, Dr Mahathir said Putrajaya will ensure the project materialises despite the current problems with road alignment.

“We will work to see that borders, at Bukit Kayu Hitam, for example, will be made easy for access for Thai nationals and also Thai goods into Malaysia, and vice versa,” the told reporters.

“In order to ensure this is done, we will operate the border crossing for 24 hours a day, so there will be no delay when goods are transported.

“We will also construct two bridges in Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan and second, in Sungai Golok-Rantau Panjang, also in Kelantan.

“There are some little problems of alignment of roads, but this we can solve between us,” he said.

On October 13, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman reportedly said that the Thai government was not prepared to open its borders for round-the-clock trading activities, at the Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security complex.

Currently, the borders are open for 18 hours daily.

Malaysia had last year agreed to open its border to facilitate cross-border businesses beginning January 2019, to increase tourism activities, and to reduce traffic congestion at the complex.

Dr Mahathir arrived in Bangkok this morning, for a two-day official visit which ends tomorrow.

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