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Malay Mail

BANGKOK, Aug 9 — Malaysia and Thailand are committed to intensifying the development of infrastructure at the border in an effort to boost trade and at the same time achieve the bilateral trade target of US$30 billion (RM134 billion) by 2025.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia and Thailand also want the construction of a road connecting the Bukit Kayu Hitam Integrated Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex and the Sadao Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Songkhla to be expedited.

“The ICQS and the CIQ are very important (in order) to improve road and trade links on the Malaysia-Thailand border,” he told Bernama.

In addition, Saifuddin said Malaysia and Thailand also held discussions on the construction of the Rantau Panjang-Sungai Golok friendship bridge and the Pengkalan Kubor-Tak Bai bridge.

“This project is still in the process of area assessment and topographic survey.

“We are grateful to the Thai government for their willingness to bear the cost of conducting land study and topographical survey,” he said.

Saifuddin, who is currently on a two-day working visit to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha here today.

In addition, he also held a meeting with his counterpart Don Pramudwinai, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

Saifuddin led the national delegation to the 14th Meeting of the Joint Commission (JC) for Bilateral Cooperation and the 5th Meeting of the Committee on the Joint Development Strategy (JDS) for Border Areas. The last time Malaysia and Thailand held the two meetings was in 2015.

Saifuddin said Malaysia is committed to playing its role to end the conflict in southern Thailand.

Currently, former national police chief Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor, who represents the Malaysian government, is acting as the facilitator for the peace talks in Southern Thailand.

Saifuddin said while the peace talks are likely to be seen as a sensitive issue, “Malaysia and Thailand are friendly neighbours that know it must be resolved with both parties having a deep understanding of each other.”

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said Malaysia is ready to offer scholarships for the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) to students especially in southern Thailand. — Bernama

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