Since June 18, Malaysia and Thailand operate have launched extended hours between Malaysia Bukit Kayu Hitam and Thailand Sadao districts. Valid only for goods and cargo, the measure could rapidly be extended to visitors’ movements.
For the first time in history, one of the most important border checkpoints between Malaysia and Thailand is open 24-hours a day, a measure deemed by both governments as a way to offer seamless connectivity between both countries.
The selected border checkpoint is between Bukit Kayu Hitam Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in the State of Kedah and the immigration facilities in Sadao district in the Province of Songkhla. The open-border facilities will first run on a three-month-trial service and is only for cargo and goods as some 60 percent of Thailand’s trade pass through this border on its way to Malaysia nearby ports including Penang. Travellers can continue to cross the border between both countries for eighteen hours as the facility is open from 6am to midnight.
The choice of Bukit Kayu Hitam hangs certainly to the personnality of the Chief Minister of the State of Kedah- Munzir Mahathir, son of Malaysia current Prime Minister Mohammad Mahathir.
Following the three-month trial, the borders would also be opened 24 hours around the clock for travellers. The opening to tourists would help facilitate the flows of tourists. Sadao/Bukit Kayu Hayam is the main border checkpoint to go to Penang from Hat Yai and inverted with many tourist busses crossing the border there.
The two countries share together eight border land-crossing points and this could be a start to further facilitate and streamline cross border travel between Malaysia and Thailand. Two other important cross border checkpoints are between Rantau Panjang (Kelantan) and Sungei Kolok (Narathiwat) as well as between Padang Besar Malaysia and Padang Besar Thailand as the checkpoint integrates also rail traffic.