Thailand, Malaysia ink new pact on bilateral cooperation

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 – Thailand and Malaysia signed an agreement on Thursday to facilitate border crossing in an attempt to boost trade and investment the border provinces of the two countries.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited the Malaysian capital yesterday for a bilateral meeting with her Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.

She said the border crossing agreement will connect southern Thailand with the northern and eastern regions of Malaysia with both countries having a common objective of developing the areas as economic zones, including designating a special border economic region at Thailand’s Sadao, the border district of Songkhla, and Malaysia’s Bukit Kayu Hitam, the main border town of Kedah.

There are proposals to build two new bridges over the Golok River which separates Thailand’s Narathiwat province and Malaysia’s Kelantan state to promote trade, investment and tourism on the border.

Ms Yingluck said Thailand and Malaysia also agreed to cooperate in producing halal food and supporting the private sectors of the two countries to set up a Thai-Malaysian halal business association.

Other bilateral cooperation involves a joint development on radio frequency on the border to pave the way for a digital system and high-speed internet service, she said.

Operators of Tom Yum Kung, a Thai food chain with 7,000 outlets in Malaysia, called on the Thai prime minister later on Thursday, urging the premier to facilitate the hiring of  Thais from the three southern border provinces to work in Malaysia.

Ms Yingluck said she was assured by the Malaysian premier regarding reduced legal procedures for bringing Thais to work legally in Malaysia.