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Malaysia to build free trade zone at Thai border



Malaysia to build free trade zone at Thai border | Thaiger

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A free-trade industrial zone costing three billion ringgit (789 million dollars) is to be developed near the Malaysian/Thai border over the next decade, a senior official said today. The “ASEAN Industrial Metropolis”, covering 2,400 hectares (5,928 acres), will be built at Bukit Kayu Hitam in the northwestern Malaysian state of Kedah, the state’s chief minister, Syed Razak Syed Zain, said. The zone will include areas for heavy industry and small and medium industries, an Immigration and Customs complex, a commercial center, and housing, the Bernama news agency quoted him as saying. It is scheduled for completion in 2010. “When fully operational, the project will attract investments worth 20 billion ringgit and create 20,000 job opportunities for locals and Thais,” he told reporters. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is expected to preside at the ground-breaking ceremony early next month. Syed Razak said the project would be one of the most modern and largest free trade areas in an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member country. The Thai international resort island of Phuket, a half hour flight from the Malaysian border, has for years spoken of plans to create a free trade zone and/or “cyber port”. With today’s announcement here, Phuket’s aspirations are thrown into doubt. Three years ago, the Malaysian/Thai border town of Langkawi introduced incentives, including duty and tax free imports, for local and international yachtsmen. The move resulted in scores of large yachts vacating Phuket where the Thai levies on pleasure vessels exceed 210 percent.


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