Putrajaya undecided on wall plan at Malaysia-Thailand border

The area bordering Malaysia and Thailand has often been linked to drug and human trafficking activities. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has not decided whether to go ahead with a proposal to build a border wall between Malaysia and Thailand, a year after both governments reached an agreement on the plan as part of efforts to fight transnational crime.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the cost of building such a wall is high, and that even President Donald Trump’s much-publicised plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico has yet to take off due to cost issues.

“It is the same here. The cost to build a wall is high. For each kilometre, it will cost RM1 million,” she told the Dewan Rakyat today, in response to Nur Azrina Surip (PH-Merbok) who asked if the wall project would be seen as wasteful.

The plan to build a wall in Thailand’s Songkhla province was agreed on by both countries during the 54th meeting of the Thai-Malaysian General Border Committee in Bangkok last year.

Malaysia was represented by then-defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Bangkok Post reported at the time that the border wall, about 11km long, would be to stop the smuggling of drugs, weapons and petrol, as well as human trafficking activities between the two countries.

Thailand and Malaysia share a 640km common border.

Wan Azizah said Putrajaya would have to study if the wall should be built along the boundary.

“Both countries will need to look at several issues on building the border wall.”

She said the plan would be further reviewed after Thailand’s general election, adding that the National Security Council and the Prime Minister’s Department will also look at technical specifications and financial implications.