SONGKLA – Thailand hopes Malaysia will cooperate in jointly building a concrete and barbed wire wall along much of the border to counter the insurgency and deter smugglers, according to the Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc).
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had earlier proposed to Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra the construction of a fence along the border with Malaysia, arguing that insurgents responsible for the southern violence were operating across the frontier and bringing in explosive materials. The fence would also help stop drug trafficking and the smuggling of illegal fuel and other contraband.
It would also allow security forces to reduce the manpower assigned to patrols along the border, he said.
Isoc spokesman Banpot Phupian said Malaysia had, in principle, agreed with the idea, so the topic might be considered in more detail at a later meeting of the Joint Border Committee.
Thailand has surveyed the border and determined that a total length of 156.7 kilometres of fencing would be needed.
A barbed wire-topped concrete wall of 6.5km was needed in Na Thawee district of Songkla province, and another 130.9km of barbed wire along the border in Sadao and Saba Yoi districts of Sonklha and Tak Bai and Waeng districts of Narathiwat.
In Yala, a 9.3km wall reinforced with barbed wire was needed.
In addition there is the natural forest fence stretching over the mountains for 400.7km in Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla and Satun.
Thailand and Malaysia have a total land border of 647km.
Malaysia’s Home Ministry in September said it would build a wall and perimeter fence along the banks of the Kolok River, which separates Malaysia’s Kelantan state from Thailand’s Narathiwat province. Thailand expressed no objection because the barrier would not encroach on Thai territory. ( See Story Here )