Kelantan-Thailand border stretch to be 'security area'
NO ENTRY: 121km wall, fencing part of plan to deter arms and drug smuggling
KOTA BARU: THE Home Ministry plans to gazette areas connected to Kelantan's border with Thailand, which spans 121km, as a security area to prevent cross-border crime.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the plan would involve constructing a wall and perimeter fencing along the banks of Sungai Golok, which separates Kelantan from neighbouring Thailand. He said the programme should be speeded up, as the problems in Kelantan were worse than that faced in other states.
"The idea was proposed by the state police, and I agree that it should be gazetted quickly.
"I will apply for a special allocation from the Prime Minister as he understands the limitations faced by the police and other enforcement agencies.
"I think a long-term solution to the problem is to build a wall and gazette the border as a security area."
He said this after visiting the Kelantan police contingent headquarters yesterday.
Zahid said that by having the wall and perimeter fence, it would deter drugs and firearms smuggling activities besides stopping criminals from fleeing across territories.
He said residents living along the river would not be relocated, but all illegal jetties would be destroyed and more policemen would be assigned to the area.
On whether the state government would be informed of the matter, he said security issues were under the ambit of the federal government, but Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob would be kept fully-informed.
"I realise the livelihood of people living along the border will be affected by the proposed plan.
"But we have to stop the smuggling of firearms and drugs andprevent criminals escaping across the border.
"We cannot take into account only the economic factors involved, as the country's security must also be a priority."