I REFER to the New Straits Times report on Dec 19, titled “Thais flouting international circulation permit (ICP) rule”.
May I humbly point out that the action of “flouting” the ICP is not one-sided. In fact, every day a number of the so-called “excursion buses” have been offering scheduled services shuttling between southern Thailand and Malaysian cities, including to and from Kuala Lumpur, all serving beyond the 2km exemption as well, none of which have permits from the Thai authorities.
There are also many trucks operated by Malaysian companies registered both in Malaysia and Thailand carrying goods across the border into Thailand. Most of them serve beyond the 2km exemption, while some go even as far as the northern part of Thailand. Rarely have these “illegal” services been in the news, and for the benefit of people on both sides of the border, the Thai authorities have all along exercised leniency and been casual in the implementation of the rules.
I should also point out that these services, which flout the rules, have existed for decades and proved to be popular among tourists and locals alike. This shows strong spontaneous demand in cross-border services between Thailand and Malaysia.
It is hoped that we will find a mutually agreeable arrangement that allows the services to operate legally.
To this end, I should point out that since last year the two countries have been working on a memorandum of understanding on the cross-border transport of goods and another on the cross-border transport of passengers.
We hope we can conclude the MoUs, under which such cross-border services are duly recognised and legalised as soon as possible. We believe that they will contribute to cross-border trade and tourism activities and a much better understanding between the peoples of both countries.
Minister counsellor, Royal Thai Embassy, Kuala Lumpur