Report: Thailand, Malaysia agree on border wall in Songkhla

PETALING JAYA: A meeting between the defence ministers of Malaysia and Thailand in Bangkok yesterday saw a number of issues ironed out pertaining to border control, dual citizenship and counter-terrorism, The Bangkok Post reported.

The 54th Thai-Malaysian General Border Committee (GBC) chaired by Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his Thai counterpart Prawit Wongsuwon, saw the two countries also agreeing to build a 11-kilometre wall along the border in Songkhla.

According to the report, it is not the first time that the border wall was discussed but there was a “perceived lack of enthusiasm by Malaysia” in the past that has delayed the project from getting started.

The English-language daily quoted Prawit as saying that the proposed 11km border wall will be built at Dan Nok-Dan Sadao in Songkhla with details to be worked out later.

Though only covering a small part of the 640-km border that both countries share, it is expected to help to stem the flow of drugs, weapons, illegal petrol and human trafficking between the two countries.

The location of the border wall covers the Sadao district where 20 illegal Uighur migrants broke out of an immigration detention centre last year and fled to Malaysia.

Prawit also told reporters that a memorandum of understanding will be signed on the issue of dual citizenship.

Malaysia does not allow its citizens to have dual citizenship, however authorities in both countries admit that they have no idea how many people hold dual citizenship.

“The move is needed to enhance security and surveillance in the restive South.

“This is because dual citizenship is often regarded as a legal loophole allowing people suspected of carrying out attacks in the deep South to easily slip across the border into Malaysia to hide,” The Bangkok Post quoted Prawit as saying.

Prawit told the daily that he had also informed his Malaysian counterpart that there are no Islamic State-related jihadi activities taking place in Thailand, but that more information-sharing will be done in future.