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M’sia, Thailand to set up ‘strong villages’ for border security

M’sia, Thailand to set up ‘strong villages’ for border security

BANGKOK: Malaysia and Thailand will set up ‘strong villages’ along the border with the aim of strengthening border security cooperation as well as boosting the local population’s socio-economic development.

Army Chief Gen. Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain said the proposal was brought up by the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army General Narongpan Jittkaewtae during a meeting here.

Zamrose said besides improving the socio-economy of local residents along the border, ‘strong villages’ – to be a joint effort of the Malaysian and the Thai armies – can indirectly improve local community relations and bilateral relations through social activities and exchange visits.

“I think the programme will be implemented in January next year,“ he told Bernama here today.

He added that the proposal for the plan will be presented to the Defence Ministers of both countries soon.

Zamrose is currently on a five-day working visit to Thailand starting yesterday until July 24, which aims to strengthen the defence diplomacy between Malaysia and Thailand. It is a reciprocal visit at the invitation of Narongpan, who visited Malaysia last month.

Also, Zamrose received the ‘Highest Achievement Award’ from the National Defence Studies Institute here.

Zamrose – who continued his studies at the National Defence College in 2008 here – was conferred the award for being the college’s first foreign student to hold highest position in the service.

The award was presented by the Commanding General of National Defence Studies Institute, General Siravuth Wongkantee, at a ceremony today.

Meanwhile, Zamrose said he also informed Thailand that Malaysia will establish two more checkpoints – at the 34th and 36th mile of the Malaysia-Thailand border at Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah – on top of the existing six checkpoints in an effort to maintain national security and prevent cross-border criminal activities.

“The Thai side has taken note and agreed. In fact, the Thai side will also build two posts as (a mark of) support and cooperation,” he said.-Bernama