Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin has instructed the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC), the Ministry of Interior, and other relevant agencies in the deep South to accelerate the development of twin cities bordering Thailand and Malaysia.
Mr. Somsak, in his capacity as Chairman of the Southern Border Provinces Development Strategy Committee, recently inspected various projects in the deep South and followed up on the development of cross-border twin cities.
The Southern Border Provinces Development Strategy Committee, during its meeting on 23 November 2023, approved the framework to upgrade the development of cross-border twin cities between the southern border provinces sharing borders with Malaysian northern states.
The twin city policy aims to promote sustainable development, improve the living conditions of local people in the deep South, reduce problems concerning unrest, and create cooperation networks between the public, private, and people’s sectors of the two countries.
The four-year project is set to be carried out from 2024 to 2027. It involves cooperation in all areas, especially trade, investment, tourism, logistics, halal industry, education, human resource development, technological development, and drug prevention and control.
The development of cross-border twin cities will also facilitate transportation of goods and boost tourism between Thailand and Malaysia. SBPAC proposed the development of twin cities as a model of economic and social development in the southern border provinces.
Malaysians led the list of international visitors to Thailand in 2023, with 4.56 million visitors. The Thai government has temporarily suspended the T.M. 6 immigration form for foreign tourists entering Thailand at the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) Sadao checkpoint, from 1 November 2023 until 30 April 2024, to facilitate the entry of Malaysian tourists to Thailand. As a result, since the start of this measure, the number of Malaysian tourists has increased significantly at the Sadao checkpoint in the southern border province of Songkhla.