Blame Smuggling At Padang Besar On Curbs By Thais Says Mp


A video clip by MACC showing a person pushing goods through a hole in the security fencing at the Padang Besar border.GEORGE TOWN: The expose on the thriving cross-border smuggling between Thailand and Padang Besar comes as no surprise to a local MP as trading activities at the border town in Perlis have been gloomy in recent years
Padang Besar MP Zahidi Zainul Abidin blames this on curbs placed on imports of Malaysian goods by the Thai authorities. This has led to rampant smuggling across the border, he added
He said while Malaysians imported goods such as rice, vegetables, chicken and coconuts, the Thais had barred imports of sekam (padi husk), chicken feet and scallops, among others, largely from Padang Besar
“There is a severe trade imbalance between Padang Besar and Thailand. Many locals here want to trade legally, but the Thais have rejected many things
“One of the major banks has also left Padang Besar. If that is not a sign of bad times, then what is
“Many businesses are moving over to Bukit Kayu Hitam. The economy here has gone from bad to worse over the past eight to nine years,” he told FMT
Zahidi said chief among the reasons was the “notoriously slow” customs checkpoint in Padang Besar, compared to the larger Bukit Kayu Hitam checkpoint in Kedah
He said the Malaysian authorities were also reluctant to approve licences to import or export certain items across the border. This further discouraged local entrepreneurs wishing to trade goods across the border
“The Thais have approved the use of ketum. Why don’t we allow local farmers to sell ketum to Thailand as a source of income
“Of course, we must keep a close watch on subsidised items such as flour, oil and other goods from crossing the border. But something has to be done to boost the local economy.”Zahidi said the government should reopen the Wang Kelian free market zone to boost the economy. This zone allowed Thais and Malaysians to freely walk in without passports for a kilometre on either side of the border
“To counter the trade imbalance, the federal government must do something. They can consider imposing punitive tariffs, like what the US is doing to China, if all fails.”Zahidi said Putrajaya needs to meet Perlis leaders to see what can be done to help boost the economy in Padang Besar
Earlier today, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) revealed that corrupt border patrol officers were allowing smuggling of goods across the border
MACC also showed footage from security cameras at Padang Besar indicating officers were accepting bribes and allowing smugglers from both Malaysia and Thailand to move goods across the border

The popular smuggled goods included flour, cooking oil, fertilisers, diesel and petrol. - FMT

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