Thailand, KL plan wall to halt illegal flow of goods, people

Thailand and Malaysia will discuss plans to build a wall along their shared border, Thai officials said, a day before Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is set to meet his counterpart in Bangkok.
The customs checkpoint in Kelantan (Malaysia) with Thailand at Rantau Panjang (Image: Wikimedia)
The customs checkpoint in Kelantan (Malaysia) with Thailand at Rantau Panjang (Image: Wikimedia)
People-trafficking and the smuggling of drugs and weapons are among the transnational crimes that have flourished along the 640-km (398-mile) Thai-Malay border, until a crackdown by Thailand last year disrupted regional trafficking routes. 
Najib is to meet Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on an official visit that will focus on security cooperation and investment. The wall is on the agenda for the meeting, said a Thai foreign ministry official. “It is still at the memorandum of understanding phase,” said Colonel Yutthanam Petchmuang, a spokesman for Thailand’s Internal Security Operations Command. Najib’s visit follows three deadly bomb attacks in southern Thailand over the past month, including a wave of bombs in tourist towns in August that Thai police have linked to Muslim separatists operating in the country’s south. 
After taking power in a May 2014 coup, Thailand’s junta promised what it called a “zero tolerance” policy of human trafficking and launched a nationwide crackdown. In January 2004, a separatist insurgency by ethnic Malays resurfaced in Thailand, after simmering for decades. Since, 6,500 people have been killed, says Deep South Watch, a body that monitors the violence.

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