July 13, 2012
-- Malaysia and Thailand are close in relationship and geography; their borders are joined. These two countries have a good history together in term of benefits and exchange visits to royal families, government relations, and local citizens in the area borders. In many border areas, families cross over to visit relatives. This shows how close the culture and brotherhood is in the south of Thailand with Malaysians. There is also trade in the southern area between Malaysians and Thai southerners.
Cooperation between the two countries is not limited to trade but also permission to each other’s citizens in the border areas to use a passcard issued by the local governmental ministry as a substitution for a passport. The citizens living in these areas can conveniently cross the border.
In February, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingrak Shinawatra, made a formal visit to meet with Najib Tun Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia. Together, the two prime ministers held a press conference to announce that Thailand and Malaysia will cooperate economically to develop the well-being of the local citizens on the border, in the south of Thailand and the east of Malaysia. Moreover, the two governments will develop a strategy called JDS to cope with the problems on the Thailand–Malaysia border.
The strategy will build stability and security along the Malaysia–Thai border. The plan is to build two bridges across the Golok River in the district of Suhaikolok and district of Takbai. This strategy will support Malaysia's proposal for business and economic support between the two countries’ private companies in nine main sectors of industry: oil, natural gas, energy, automobiles, rubber, sugar, rice, and tourism.
During February’s formal visit, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak stated, “Malaysia supports the solutions to Thailand’s problems on its south border in a peaceful way and opposes all acts of violence in every form, including terrorism and suppression. Malaysia supports the citizens of Thailand to be loyal to the Thai monarchy.”
Mr. Razak also asserted that he wants to see the Thai government understand the feelings of local citizens by giving more support for their education, religion, and culture. The Thai government should allow local citizens to have a voice in economic plans that affect them. The Thai government should hold the principle of trust given to the people. Malaysia is not supporting the dissidents in the south of Thailand.
The Malaysian prime minister added, “We accept that the problem in the south of Thailand is an internal problem and believe that most people in the area don’t want to leave their country.”