Friendship Bridge Linking Thailand and Malaysia

December 11, 2009

The second bridge across the Golok River linking Ban Buketa in Thailands southern border province of Narathiwat to Bukit Bunga in Malaysias Kelantan State has been renamed as the "Friendship Bridge. It facilitates the transport of goods and travelers and forms one of the links between the two countries.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on 9 December 2009 jointly presided over the ceremony renaming the bridge. The ceremony was part of the program for Prime Minister Najib, who paid an official visit to Thailand from December 7 to 9.

Located in Waeng district, the Friendship Bridge was originally inaugurated in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of Thai-Malaysian diplomatic relations. It is the second physical testament to the goodwill and close partnership between Thailand and Malaysia. The first bridge links Rantau Panjang in Kelantan to Su-ngai Kolok district, also in Narathiwat.

In celebrating the new name of the second Golok River bridge, Prime Minister Abhisit said that, with more people and goods crossing the border through this bridge every day, Thailand and Malaysia are strengthening their connections. He looks forward to seeing stronger economic growth and more local businesses flourishing in the area for both countries. As friendly neighbors, with shared prosperity and vision for sustainable development, and as fellow members of the ASEAN family, the peoples of the two countries are like relatives who enjoy warm affinities.

The Thai and Malaysian Prime Ministers also witnessed the signing ceremony of the Agreement on the Management, Maintenance, and Usage of the Friendship Bridge.

According to a joint press statement issued after the Fourth Annual Consultation between Thailand and Malaysia on December 8, both sides agreed to expedite the completion of Friendship Bridge Two and Friendship Bridge Three across the Golok River. They will link Su-ngai Kolok with Rantau Panjang and Tak Bai with Pengkalan Kubor respectively, thus enhancing physical connectivity between the two countries.

In order to facilitate cross-border movement, Thailand and Malaysia expressed their determination to conclude the signing of an agreement on border crossing by 2010 and to continue discussions on ways and means to resolve the technical problems on data linkage between Thailands Smartcard and Malaysias Mykad national identification card systems.

Both sides also agreed to convene a meeting to discuss a new framework on transit of goods and passengers from Thailand through Malaysia to Singapore and transit of goods and passengers from Malaysia through Thailand to Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, in February 2010. This will promote the free flow of transport services and greater economic connectivity between Thailand and Malaysia, as well as other ASEAN Member States.

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