ALOR SETAR: The Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint is now expected to operate round-the-clock for cargo movements from June 17.
Kedah Industry and Investment Committee chairman Tan Kok Yew said he hoped everything will proceed smoothly this time.
The checkpoint had been scheduled to open on April 1 but this was put off as the Thai side was not ready.
Tan said with this move, he hoped it would make it easier for cargo to be taken in and out of the country.
“There had been many times when lorries had to wait for hours until the border gates on both sides opened.
“With the round-the-clock crossing, they will not need to schedule their trips. I hope this will stimulate economic activity, and even attract more investments.
“We want to see if this works first. We have not thought about people crossing the border 24/7 for now,” he said.
Kedah Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Tang Eng Kiang said the plan to open the border round-the-clock for cargo was a good move for both countries.
“It will boost cross-border trade. Cargo lorries can enter and leave our country anytime and this will help both Malaysia and Thailand,” he said.
On the prospects of allowing people to cross the border round-the-clock, Tang expressed reservations.
“If at some point they do implement it, security will need to be tightened,” he said.
The Star reported in March that the plan to open the CIQ checkpoint round-the-clock from April was delayed.
A Thai Embassy official had said that the Thai government needed more time to work on “internal processes”.
Both governments had been working on extending the border’s daily 18-hour operations for several years without success.
The extra hours are aimed at reducing the infamous bottlenecks during rush hour.
The border now opens at 6am Malaysian time (5am Thai time) and closes at midnight (11pm Thai time) for both passengers and cargo.