BANGKOK, May 20 (Bernama): The full reopening of nine land and sea Thai-Malaysia checkpoints since early this month will help spur post COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery of both countries.
Malaysia's ambassador to Thailand, Datuk Jojie Samuel said the reopening of these crucial checkpoints after more two years would give a shot in the arm for the tourism sector and further increase border trade between Thailand and Malaysia.
"We expect the number of travellers (to Thailand and Malaysia via land and sea) to increase gradually. As far as I am concerned, Malaysia has eased all entry requirements, except the need to fill up the pre-departure form on MySejahtera,” he said.
He added that with some restrictions still enforced in Thailand, such as the Thailand Pass and insurance, many travellers might still prefer to "wait and see” until there were more easing of restrictions or entry requirements.
"However, border pass can now be used. I believe this will encourage economic recovery of both countries,” he told Bernama in an interview here.
He added that Malaysia has been the largest border trade partner of Thailand.
"I am confident this will continue,” he said.
At present, all the nine border checkpoints, including two ferry checkpoints have reopened namely Padang Besar (Perlis) -Songkhla, Wang Kelian (Perlis)-Wang Prachan (Satun), Bukit Kayu Hitam (Kedah)-Sadao (Songkhla), Durian Burung (Kedah)-Ban Prakop (Songkhla), Rantau Panjang (Kelantan)-Sungai Kolok (Narathiwat), Bukit Bunga (Kelantan) Ban- Bukheta (Narathiwat), Bukit Berapit-Betong (Perak-Yala), Pengkalan Kubor (Kelantan)- Tak Bai (Narathiwat), Kuah Jetty- Tammalung Pier (Satun).
In March 2020, the Thai government had closed all nine land and sea Thai-Malaysian checkpoints following the global pandemic to curb the spread of COVID-19.
During the closure period, all Thai nationals and foreigners were barred from entering or exiting Thailand via land or sea.
Thai nationals and Malaysians were only allowed to return to their respective countries by air.
Back then, one land or sea checkpoints in each designated territory bordering Malaysia will be opened for transporting goods across Thai borders.
In 2021, Thailand and Malaysia total border trade stood at 627.7 billion baht, with Thailand’s exports to Malaysia last year increased 42.62 per cent to 346.6 billion baht while its import from Malaysia rose 18.44 per cent to 281.1 billion baht.
Meanwhile, Jojie advised Malaysians travelling to Thailand to observe the latest entry requirements, including the need to apply for Thailand Pass, and have insurance that covers Covid-19 expenses.
"Plan your journey well and prepare all the necessary documents beforehand; keep the hardcopies with you, it will come in handy.
"I also advise Malaysians to continue to observe the existing public health measures. Thailand has yet to declare Covid-19 as endemic. Hence, I hope Malaysians can maintain good personal hygiene, wear face masks, wash your hands regularly, and avoid crowded places, if possible,” he said. - Bernama