Thailand, Malaysia to discuss border issues in Phuket


BANGKOK, Dec 13 – Thailand and Malaysia will hold two meetings on Thailand’s resort island of Phuket this week to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul was interviewed today in his capacity as foreign minister about the third Ministerial Meeting of Joint Development Strategy for Border Areas (JDS) between Thailand and Malaysia and the twelfth Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JC), scheduled here tomorrow and Saturday.

The meeting will deal with bilateral cooperation in all matters, the Thai minister said, adding that Malaysia is ready to coordinate in resolving problems, particularly the issue of dual nationality.

Malaysia has a civil registration database ready but Thailand has not yet linked its data base.

Mr Surapong also said killings in Thailand’s southern border provinces this week will be raised at the meeting as Thailand needs to explain the situation to its neighbour.

Asked if the insurgency in Thailand’s far South will be on the agenda, the Thai foreign minister said it is Thailand’s domestic problem. Malaysia expressed its concern over the issue and is ready to help if Thailand asks for cooperation to tackle the problem as it used to help the Philippines.

Mr Surapong also said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries should be peaceful before the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as foreign investors need confidence to do business in the region.

According to a press release on the Foreign Ministry’s website, the Third JDS Meeting is aimed at promoting physical, institutional and people to people connectivity along the border areas between Thailand and Malaysia.

On infrastructure, expediting construction of two proposed bridges across the Golok River linking Narathiwat province with Kelantan state at Sungai Golok-Rantau Panjang and Tak Bai-Pengkalan Kubor, and integration of a development plan and special economic zones of CIQ Sadao-Bukit Kayu Hitam will be discussed.

The meeting will also request agencies concerned to speed up agreeing on new Framework on Inter-State and Transit Transport of Goods and Passengers between Thailand and Malaysia.

The 12th JC Meeting will emphasise cooperation on dual citizenship, trade and investment promotion, convening a Second Joint Trade Committee Meeting (JTC) in March in Chiang Mai, and cooperation on rubber matters.