BANGKOK (July 21): Malaysia and Thailand will establish “strong villages” along the border with the aim of enhancing border security cooperation as well as boosting the socio-economic development of local people.
Army Chief General Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain said the proposal was put forward by the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, General Narongpan Jittkaewtae, at a meeting here.
Zamrose said that in addition to improving the socio-economic situation of local residents along the border, the “strong villages” – which are to be a joint effort of the Malaysian and Thai armies – can indirectly improve local community relations and bilateral relations through social activities and exchange visits.
“I think the program will be implemented in January next year,” he told Bernama on Thursday.
He added that the proposed plan will soon be presented to the defense ministers of the two countries.
Zamrose is currently on a five-day working visit to Thailand from Wednesday until July 24, which aims to strengthen defense diplomacy between Malaysia and Thailand. This is a reciprocal visit at the invitation of Narongpan, who visited Malaysia last month.
Additionally, Zamrose received the “Highest Achievement Award” from the National Defense Studies Institute here.
Zamrose – who went on to study at the National Defense College in 2008 here – received the award for being the college’s first foreign student to hold the highest post in the service.
The award was presented by the Commanding General of the Institute for National Defense Studies, General Siravuth Wongkantee, at a ceremony on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Zamrose said he had also informed Thailand that Malaysia would establish two more checkpoints – at 34 and 36 miles from the Malaysian-Thai border at Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah – in addition to the six existing checkpoints in order to maintain national security and prevent cross-border criminal activity.
“The Thai side took note and agreed. In fact, the Thai side will also build two posts as a (mark of) support and cooperation,” he said.