RANTAU PANJANG: Residents living along the Kelantan-Thai border have welcomed the Thai government’s move to set up an electric fence and 357 close circuit television (CCTVs) cameras to stop illegal cross-border activities.
Many have expressed their hopes that the Malaysian government would follow the decision made by its Thai counterpart.
Trader Afida Hasan said she believes the Thai government decided to build the electric fence and set up CCTV cameras as they want to put a stop to all the illegal activities carried out along the border.
“As we all know, various types of smuggling activities have been found happening along the border of the two countries for years.
“They can only reduce it a little bit but cannot totally end it. The smuggling (and other illegal activities) still happen rampantly,” said the 34-year-old.
She believes the move by the Thai government is the best solution to address all the border issues.
Businessman Faizuddin Ismail, 48, said the Malaysian government should do the same if it wants to put a stop to the smuggling of goods and contraband items across the border.
“The government has suffered huge losses over the years due to smuggling activities and therefore, l believe this is the right time for the government to take the same move,” he said.
It was reported in the Bangkok Post recently that the Thai government is set to tighten its border with Malaysia, utilising an electronic fence and an extensive CCTV system.
Starting in Narathiwat, the Thai authorities will construct a fence that will be built in stages, the first at a cost of 600 million baht (RM79.26 million).
It said 357 CCTV cameras would be installed along the 106km border, including the 80km Sungai Golok (river) bank, which passes through the Narathiwat districts of Waeng, Sungai Golok, Sungai Padi and Tak Bai.
The report said work is due to begin in Tak Bai first because some sections of the river running through the district are narrow, making illegal entry or smuggling of drugs or contraband goods easy.
The commander of the Thai 4th Army, Santi Sakuntanak said security officers would be stationed along the border to protect the CCTV cameras from vandalism, while local officials and villagers will also be asked to assist.
Thai defence minister Sutin Klungsang said the project would enhance border security and aid in the prevention of illegal smuggling of weapons, narcotics, entry of undocumented migrant workers and contraband.
He added that local officials should also help look after these cameras because they are paid for by taxpayers.