The two countries will jointly construct a barrier against cross-border crime.
BANGKOK THAILAND: — Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to build a wall along their common border next year amid growing concerns about human trafficking.
The 640-kilometer Malaysia-Thailand border has long been the site of transnational crime, including the rampant smuggling of weapons, drugs, and people. In May, the issue sparked international furor following the discovery of mass graves in jungle camps in Malaysia near the border used by suspected smugglers of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar (See: “Can Southeast Asia Tackle its Human Trafficking Problem?”). Similar graves were discovered in Thailand, which again received the lowest ranking in the U.S. annual trafficking report this year.
On Monday, Malaysian Armed Forces chief Zulkifeli Mohd. Zin announced that the two countries had reached a pact to build a border wall at the General Border Committee Meeting.
The idea of building structures to contain cross-border crime itself is not new to the two countries.
Most recently, in 2013 both countries separately proposed constructing their own fences along the border for this purpose. As Zulkifeli pointed out, this new agreement is different because both nations would embark on the initiative together rather than individually, thereby increasing coordination and reducing costs.
“From the aspect of patrolling, Thailand will inspect their side and we, on ours. It is more practical and saves costs for both countries,” he said following the conclusion of the 32nd Malaysia-Thailand High Level Committee Meeting.
The agreement will now be referred to Malaysia’s parliament for the provision of funds. Sections along the border have reportedly already been identified for constructing the wall by both sides.
By Prashanth Parameswaran
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