Thailand has a border with many neighboring countries such as Myanmar on the west, Laos and Cambodia on the east, and Malaysia on the south. Thailand and these neighboring countries have been dealing with a trade that we call "border trade" for a long time. This border trade has a huge value in the trillions of baht per year. For example, in 2021, the value of border trade with these neighboring countries totaled more than 924,081 million baht. The highest value of border trade is with Malaysia, Neighbors with borders adjacent to the southern border provinces of Thailand. This border trade value accounted for 36.36 % of the total border trade value of the country or about 335,996 million baht.
Hundreds of billions in value generated by border trade between Thailand and Malaysia is the value that arises from both the export and import values.
Five export products are computers and equipment, rubber, automobiles and equipment, video equipment, and circuit boards.
Five import products are magnetic tapes, magnetic disks for computers, computer components, electrical machinery, plastic resins, and diode devices.
Those border trades mentioned above will proceed through the nine border checkpoints between Thailand and Malaysia.
Currently, these nine Thailand - Malaysia border checkpoints are located in four border provinces, namely:
1. Songkhla Province has three checkpoints, namely 1) Sadao checkpoint, Sadao district and Bukit Kayuhitam checkpoint, Kedah State, Malaysia , 2 ) Padang Besar checkpoint , Sadao district and Padang Besar checkpoint, Perlis State, Malaysia, and 3) Ban Prakob checkpoint, Na Thawi istrict and Durian Burong Village checkpoint, Padang Terab District, Kedah State, Malaysia.
2. Narathiwat Province has three checkpoints, namely 1) Su-ngai Kolok checkpoint, Su-ngai Kolok district and the Rantupanyang checkpoint, Kelantan State, Malaysia 2) Tak Bai (Pier) checkpoint, Tak Bai district and Peng Kalangubo checkpoint, Kelantan State, Malaysia and 3) Buketa checkpoint, Waeng district, and Bukit Bunga checkpoint, Kelantan State, Malaysia
3. Yala Province has one checkpoint, namely Betong checkpoint, Betong district, and Bukit Bue Rapit checkpoint, Kedah State, Malaysia
4. Satun Province has two checkpoints, namely 1) Wang Prachan checkpoint, Khuan Don District and Wang Kleen checkpoint, Perlis State, and 2) Satun (Pier) checkpoint, Mueang Satun District, and Gua La Perlis State Port, Perlis, Jetty Port, Langkawi, Kedah State, and Plek port, Igua Langkawi, Kedah State, Malaysia
The main border trade value that occurred at these border checkpoints is both in the form of imports and export. The first four highest trade value were Sadao Customs checkpoint , Padang Besar checkpoint, Su - ngai Kolok checkpoint, and Betong checkpoint , respectively.
In addition to the nine Thai-Malaysia border checkpoints that act as a gateway of 100,000 millions of value. There is still another important mechanism, which is the “Thai - Malaysia Friendship Bridge that connects the land of both countries in the part where the river blocks.
Presently, two bridges have been opened, namely 1) Friendship Bridge connecting Rantupanyang city with Su-ngai Kolok district, Narathiwat province, and the Friendship Bridge connecting Bukit Bunga with Waeng district, Narathiwat Province.
Recently, between 24th-26th February 2022, Dato Sree Isma il Sabri Yacob, Prime Minister of Malaysia had an official visit to Thailand in which there were discussions with General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on four collaboration issues both in terms of economy and security, to benefit the people of both countries.
The issue related to the southern border provinces is the issue of a measure to open the Malaysia - Thai border and the construction of two bridges connecting the two countries at Su-Ngai Kolok - Rantau Panjang in Kelantan State and Tak Bai - Pengkalan Kubo in Kelantan State.
Both leaders agreed to expedite the relevant agencies of Thai and Malaysia, to rush the construction of both bridges to facilitate the people of both countries to travel and transport in a convenient and faster fashion.
Value of border trade between Thai and Malaysia, both import and export values, moved through nine border checkpoints, and the two Thai - Malaysia Friendship Bridge is worth hundreds of billions baht per year and it tends to be of greater value. This is due to the latest policy to connect the economies of the two countries, especially the urgency to build the 3rd and 4th Thai - Malaysia Friendship Bridge.
This increasing connection will help improve the quality of people's lives in the area along with the border through the expansion of border trade. And it will have a positive effect on solving problems in the southern border provinces.
The most important thing that contributes to the growth of economic activity along the border is confidence in life safety and property of the people involved.
These convictions will arise from a dedication to border surveillance under the close integration of practice among the relevant security agencies. These include thirty border patrol units operating jointly between Thai and Malaysia, border patrol police, and paramilitary rangers.
These agencies will perform various functions, whether it is patrolling/monitoring and border protection that must be carried out day and night, organizing border areas, solving security problems in border areas, as well as, collaborating with neighboring countries in protecting, and blocking illegal immigration through natural channels, smuggling of agricultural products. duty-free goods and drugs, compliance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID- 19, and assisting citizens at every opportunity.
After the economic activities on the Thai - Malaysia border were affected by the covid situation in the past. Now, these economic activities were bustling again from the measures of collaboration in opening the border between Thai and Malaysia.
Economic activities that had returned will produce good results at both the level of local and small traders, both Thai and Malaysian, who make a living on the shipping routes that have to pass through this border checkpoint.
And the most important thing is confidence in life safety and assets arising from surveillance along with the Thai - Malaysia border under the integration of Thai and Malaysia security agencies.