KANGAR, May 9 — The Perlis government has expressed the hope that the free-flow zone in Wang Kelian at the border with Thailand can be reopened soon to revitalise the local economy.
Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man said this would bring economic benefits to the local population and inject life into the area, which has become increasingly gloomy.
Azlan said many quarters could carry out business in the area but existing policies prevented them from tapping its full potential.
“Ultimately, we will be faced with a situation similar to that at Bukit Kayu Hitam-Danok, and that is why our policy must be right in this matter.
“I hope what is happening in Wang Kelian can be corrected, as we can see that Wang Prachan in Thailand started to develop after we closed this free-flow zone,” he told reporters at the state government’s Aidilfitri open house at Dewan 2020 here today.
The Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, and Raja Perempuan of Perlis Tuanku Tengku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid graced the event.
Also present were the Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail, and Raja Puan Muda Perlis Tuanku Hajah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil.
Tuanku Syed Faizuddin had recently suggested that the Immigration, Customs and Quarantine (ICQ) Complex in Wang Kelian be upgraded immediately.
Azlan said the state government had raised this matter of reviving the free-flow zone with the federal government several times.
“The state government is sensitive to issues of security, human trafficking and smuggling, but it does not want many quarters to suffer because of any particular issue,” Azlan said.
He said the state government had asked for security in Wang Kelian to be stepped up.
“I believe Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is seriously studying this matter, and we hope a decision can be made for the benefit of our country,” he added.
The free-flow zone in Wang Kelian was abolished in 2015 for security reasons.
Under the free-flow zone, Thais were allowed to enter Wang Kelian without the need for a visitor pass and passport while Malaysians could enter Wang Prachan in Thailand without passports.