ALOR SETAR, July 14 — Upgrading logistics facilities and infrastructures at the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao border are vital to spur bilateral trade and connectivity between the two neighbours, said Thai Ambassador to Malaysia Narong Sasitorn.
He said the improvement of linkages would support future traffic growth at the border and help the Malaysian and Thai communities there to conduct their businesses efficiently.
“The role of the governments of Thailand and Malaysia is to facilitate our business community – they are very strong, experienced and entrepreneurial.
“What we need is to provide good environment and we have to improve first and foremost the infrastructure connectivity to make sure that we have better road and linkages for our community to do businesses,” he said.
Narong earlier today paid a courtesy call on Kedah Menteri Besar Mohammad Sanusi Md Nor at Wisma Darul Aman here.
Narong said Kedah has a world class Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) checkpoint at Bukit Kayu Hitam while Thailand also looked forward to have an ICQS of the same standard.
“Our ICQS at Sadao is still in the process of installing machinery and computer and we hope to fully operate in a couple of months,” he said.
He stressed that the harmonisation of rules should also be implemented at the border to reduce time consumption during the immigration procedure.
“We have not started the discussion yet, but something like single clearance mechanism or single inspection (should be implemented), like when you have a commercial truck, once inspected at Sadao (Thailand) it goes all the way to Bukit Kayu Hitam or Penang.
“Likewise, once you have checked in (the vehicle) at Bukit Kayu Hitam you go all the way as well; you don’t have to go through too many inspections, but both countries need to agree on that first,” he said.
At present, Malaysia via Kedah, and Thailand are connected by two points namely Bukit Kayu Hitam and Durian Burung.
The ambassador also expressed his concern that despite their close relationship, Kedah and Thailand rarely had the opportunity to share what both were working on, in terms of developing infrastructure, industrial zone, special border or economic zone at the border.
“There are so many things taking place in Kedah and Songkhla. So we are going to set up a forum for our officials to share information on our current effort on both sides of the border to ensure that those projects will be coherent and synchronised to ensure that investment on both sides will spur economic activities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Sanusi said Kedah is the main gateway by land from Thailand to every part of the peninsula and Singapore and therefore relations in the economic fields must be enhanced from time to time to further benefit both countries.
“For the Kedah government, we see that there are still lots of potential to expand, to grow, especially in the field of agriculture and border development,” he said.