Thailand, Malaysia make border demarcation progress

Picture courtesy of Suara Ampera Melayu Patani

Thailand and Malaysia are making strides in demarcating their shared border, as outlined in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

The border between Thailand and Malaysia spans 647 kilometres, stretching from Thailand’s Satun province and Malaysia’s Perlis state in the west to Thailand’s Narathiwat province and Malaysia’s Kelantan state in the east.

Nathapol Khantahiran, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, recently led a group of journalists to the Tak Bai immigration checkpoint in Narathiwat, where a forum was held to discuss the progress of the border demarcation.

Representatives from several government organisations, including the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs and the Royal Thai Survey Department, participated in the event.

The Anglo-Siamese Treaty, also known as the Bangkok Treaty, was signed in Bangkok on March 10, 1909. This treaty established the modern border between Malaysia and Thailand. The areas of modern Pattani, Narathiwat, southernmost Songkhla, Satun, and Yala remained under Thai control. Decades later, the southern insurgency would erupt in this region.

Nathapol stated that the first border demarcation pole was erected during the reign of King Chulalongkorn the Great. Between 1910 and 1911, a total of 109 such poles were erected, marking the first phase of Thai-Malaysian border demarcation cooperation.

The second phase began in 1973 and concluded in 1985, during which 12,169 border demarcation poles were erected. According to Nathapol, no new poles have been erected since then; only damaged poles have been repaired and missing ones replaced, with joint efforts conducted in 1993.

From 2000 to 2009, both countries made further progress by using the Kolok River as a reference line and identifying 1,550 spots for new demarcation poles. However, floods caused significant changes to the landscape, including the riverbanks, which stalled the demarcation work until recently, reported Bangkok Post.

A proposal has been made for the Thai government to form a new negotiating team to resume cooperation with Malaysia and complete the demarcation process, Nathapol said.

This proposal will first be forwarded to the cabinet for approval. Despite changes in the governments of both nations over the past few years, which halted demarcation progress, the work needs to restart and be completed for border security, transboundary crime suppression, and the protection of the interests of both Thai and Malaysian people, he added.

Thailand, Malaysia make border demarcation progress | News by Thaiger
Picture courtesy of SEA Heritage and History

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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