Created: 4/1/1969

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Intelligence Report

Geographic Brief on Thailand-Malaysia Border Area






The ThaUand-MaJaysia border area. long plagued by economic instability, contimies toenter of potentially dangerous insurgency on the MalayAttempts to strengthen the unstable economy have to date been unsuccessful and joint ccHjnterinsurgency eflorti have been rather ineffective

1intended for userief orientation aid bv persons concerned wftb events Or programs in theimilar report is available on the north Thailand-Ncvthuest Laos border area (ClA/BCl. Geographic Brie/ on North Thailand-Northwest Laos Border Area,.



and Dm mage
























.. 3

Figureforested terrainofU. Thailand

Figurewest of Hal Vat.

Figurecoast plain northwest of Narathiwat.

Figurepalm trees on the cait coast at Narathiwat,

Figuretown market






Figure 6 Thai Malaysell in front of the town mosque at


Figure 7. Buddhist

Figure S Housing along Penang waterfront, Ma11

Figure 9. Chineie temple near Hat Yai,12

Indian Sikh herdsman14

Figure II. Aboriginal people 15

Figure 12 Rubber plantation near Songfchln,


Rubber sheets at factory near Hat Yai.16

Palm oil estate in Perak, Malaysia16

Figure 16 Malay Eshcrmen near Kebntan. Malaysia

Figure 17 Tin mining in

Tin dredge near Ipoh.

ast coast raililes northwest of Sungai Kolok,. iles cast of Klitong Ng.ic.24


FollOtciilg Pogc

Map 1. Thailand-Malaysia Border 24

Map 2. Climatic Regimes

Map 3. Settlement

Map 4. Populationdo

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence9


Geographic Brief on Thailand-Malaysia Border Area


(Seehrough 4)

1 The territory encompassed by this report include* all or portions of tbe five southern changwatt of Thailand (Narathiwat. Pattar.i, Situn. Songkhla, and Yala) and thenorthernmost states of West Malaysia (Kedah. Kelantan. Penang.nd Pedis) Occupying0 square miles, the "border area" Is approximately the size of the state of West Virginia. Rugged, except along the coasts, it is generally hot and humid, densely forested, and largely underdeveloped. While it Is populated predominantly by Malays, tbe Thaisajority in northern SongkhU, and in southern Peral. the Chinevc are dominant.

The Thailand-Malaysia border extends irregularly from the Culf of Slam on "the east to the Strait ol Malacca on theoi tho most part traversing steep sided and densely forested mountains; only on the coasts docs it cut across narrow, low-Iying plains and mangrove swamps. Continuing into the Strait of Malacca, it separates the islands of Ko Tarutao (Thailand) and Pulau Langkawihe present border is the result of historical agreements negotiated between the Than and the British, followingh century expansion of (he latter into Malaya. By the terms of the final treaty, signedontrol of the four border area sultanates (Kedah, Terengganu, Perils, and Kelantan) was awarded to the British Although Thailand temporarily regained control of these sultanates during World War II, with the end of hostilities they reveited to Bntiih administration.7 they became states of the inoVpendeat Federation of Malaya, and subsequently,hey were incorporated into Malaysia.

Insurgency in the border areaesult of the armed revolt mounted by the Communist Party of Malaya (MCP)S against the BritishThe subsequent emergency, which officially lasted untilisaster for the MCP. the decisive blow coming7 when Malaya gained her independence and most of the support for the MCP. the "party ofisappeared. The paramibtary arm of the MCP. the Communistled across the border into Thailand, which it now usesafe-haven andase for the training of guerrilla forces.

roduced by CIA. Itpjrcd by the OIRcc ofCfo-grapliic Intelligence and coordinated will, the Office of Economic Itcicircl.Utc Office of Current Intelligence.

4 The Government of Thailand agreed with the British6 to exchange intelligence, conduct joint patrols, and allow either party to penetrate up to M) kilometers into the territory of the other, when in hot pursuit of the enemy The agreement was continued by Malaya when she achieved independence, andoint border committee was formed to direct operations against the Communists. The Thai Government, however, hat never eomidered theeal threat, and tt has not seriously attempted to eliminate CTO influence. The agreement between the two countries was therefore permitted to lapse3 Shortly thereafter it was renewed, mostly because Indonesian policies wereas potentially threatening to border intelligence center was established at Songkhla for the Malaysian.Thai Regional Border Committee. Since then, however, the Thais have continued to make only desultory attempts to rout out guerrilla bands

he Malaysians, on the other hand, have been continuously currying on an active counter-terrorist program. In their attempts to control movement in the border zone (hey have cleared out almost all residentstrip of territory that ii atile wide, and in some places wider, along the entire boundary The few people who remainirtual curfew between the hours.. daily.order ambush inS. which resulted in heavy casualtiesalaysian patrol. Malaysia pressed anew, but with little success, for greater Thai security efforts.

he threat of subversion is aggravatedrecarious economy that is chiefly dependent on rubber, tin. palm oil, androgram of further economic diversification and expansion is clearly desirable, but this would require much planning, cooperation, and time. Meanwhile, large segments of theremain restless and dissatisfied.


(See Map I)

The terrain of the border area is predominantly mountainous, with four distinct interior ranges forming the "backbone" of the peninsula. Peaks near the border averageeet, and the highest elevations are recorded Mi the jouthrrn portion of Keiantan. The most important range on tlie Malaysian side of the border swings slightly to the west of (ha center of the peninsula; in its western foothills arc found the rich tin deposits of Perak. Paralleling thoare large numbers of rough limestone pinnacles that are honeycombed with caves (seen general, the rugged, heavily forested mountains of the border area are well suited for guerrilla.type operations and bases

The coastal plains arc generally flat, but in the transitional areasthe mountains they are undulating (seche western coastal plain in Thailand is narrow, swampy, and underdeveloped; the coastline is very irregular, and there are numerous estuaries and embayments Islands and islets, characterized by rocky shores and forested, hilly interiors, are scattered of! the coast at distances of up toautical miles. In Malaysia the western coastal plain

widen* to aboutiles; the coast is practically an unbroken succession or mangrove swamps and mudflats. Clustered offshore arc many billy islands similar to those north of tbe boundary.

he east coast (seendontrails distinctly with the west coast. In Thailand it is .smooth and regular, with few bays and many long beaches. The coastal plain isndiles wide, and river plains and basins extend fararge inland sea, Thale Luang, important for commercial fishing, lies north ofew hilly islets with rocky coasts lie a* far asautical miles offshore. In Malaysia the cast coast consist* of long sandy beaches, and sandbanks and bars have formed across !hc mouth* of most of Ihc rivers. Inland from the sandy shore are swamps and lagoons that limit settlement and economic development. The coastal plain near the border area Itiles wide, butarrow* toile* where the mountain* arc close to the sea in the south. Offshoreew hilly islands and islets with rocky or reef-fringed shores.

Streams throughout the border area commonly flow inhaped vaiieys through the mountains and in broad and unrestricted valleys on the plains; those on the west coast tend to be shorter than those on the cast, and many of them end in tidal estuaries. On the east coast, inhe itrcams are sisstiou* and slow moving, not unlike those of Louisiana, and commonly they terminate in coastal lagoons.

A number of programs arc underway in both countries to control and exploit streams in the border area. In Malaysia tbe Muda River is being harnessed near tbe Thai border to provide irrigation waterecond crop of rice and to control floods. Inydroelectric power and flood control dam has been proposed on the Pattani River at Yala. It and when completed, it may possibly supply electric power to Malaysia.

CLIMATE (See Map 2)

The border area is hot and humid throughout the year. Daily temperatures in the lowlands range betweenandthe uplands are somewhat cooler, ranging betweenandAnnual temperature ranges arc not significant.

Seasonal variations in rainfall arc caused by the shifting of the monsoons. From November to mid-March the moisture-laden northeast monsoons bring increased precipitation and cloudiness to the cast coast and the eastern mountain slopes, while the western slopes and the west coast are relatively less wet. The monsoon is strongest in December, the wettest month, when betweenndnches of rain fall on the east coast. The forty of this monsoon Is slowly dissipated after December, and by March the rainfall decreases to less thannches over moil of the peninsula.

Between mid-March and mid-May the border area is characterized by variable winds, as the northeastern flow of air shifts to the southwest. Because




the airstreams Over ihe peninsula fturtuale erratically at this lime, many interior locations experience increased precipitation.

The southwest monsoon dominates circulation oier the peninsula from mid-May through September, but as rlie full impart of the monsoon from the Indian Ocean is fist released on Sumatra, much of the west coast of the border area initially experiences an actual decrease in lainfalL By August, precipitation increases to overonth at most west coast locations, and it remains at this high level through October. During this season the leeward cast coast is relatively less rainy.

The autumn transition from the southwest io the northeast monsoon occiiis in October. Winds at this time are variable, but monthly precipitation is still in excess ofnches over most of the peninsula.

the favorable influenceotreat variety ofvegetation grows in the border area Tropical rain forest prevailsbills, mountains, and on extensive parts of the coastal plain, varying inheight, and seasonal leaf-bearing patterns in consequence of theWherever the annual rainfall is sufficient and evenly distributed,no appreciable undergrowth, but in areas where trees lose their leavesdriest months of theaze of thorny bamboo, lianas, ferns,makes movement oft established routes difficult Jungles ofare also associated with secondarythat haveon abandoned land that was formerly cleared.eet thenot as (all. and the undergrowth is less dense Clearly, the extent andthe forests contribute to the suitability of the border area forand complicate counter insurgency activities.

IS. On the coastal plains there are numerous small areas of cleared land, patches of forest, and many swamps. Mangrove and mpa palm swamps are common, especially on the west coast where the wave action is not severe Here movement is restrictedense tangle of roots in the brackish muck. Inland from the mangrove and nipa palm swamps are freshwater swamps, many ol which have boon drained and cleared for cultivation.


Most of the bordereople are concentrated along the coasts, on the west in Malaysia and on tbe east in Thailand The mountainous interior is sparsely populated. Basically, there are three settlementstrip village, the cluster village, and the dispersed village

The strip village is the most common of tho settlement patterns in the border area. Such villages typically stretch along one or both sidesiver,


canal, ex roadway. Strip village* may be several mile* in length, and in densely settled areas, adjoining villages may coalesce toontinuous line in which there is no apparent demarcation between settlements.

In close association with the strip viKagcs are cluster visages, which ara usually set back several hundred yardsainriver, navigable canal, railroad line, branch road, or main highway. Villages of this type are ordinarily situated in androve of fruit trees or coconut palms. Cluster and strip villages are commonly found both on the coastal plain and in the mountainous interior.

The third and least common type of settlement pattern is the dispersed village, found inland from the coastal plains in the foothills adjacent to river valleys. Dispersed villages are commonly situated between rice paddies lying in the valley bottoms and the bclufcar (cutover jungle) and rubber trees on (ho upper slopes.


border area is peopled by various ethnic groups, but theMalay (secheChinese, Indian, Negrito,their influence on the multiracial society in varying degrees. Toextent religion differentiates tin- groupsut fine distinctions aro difficult to make because aamount of assimilation Into either the Thai or Malay society hasan attempt to hasten assimilation of the various groups within theirthe Thai and Malaysian Government* for statisi'ical purposes groupin terms of nationality rather than by ethnic group. However, usingon religion in the Thai census, it Is possible to determinehangwat Thus, as most Thai in Thailand arc Buddhists,number of Thaihangwat is indicated by the numberAlthough the Malaysian census purports to group the populationthe figures are not totally accurate because members of any ethnicregard themselves as assimilated into the Malay culture are referred tocensus of Malays.


alays are in the five southernmost changwafsalays are in the five northernmost states of the Thaihe southern provinces of ThailandKingdom of Pattani, one of the largest and most important of theand even now many Thai Malays are psychologically oriented toward

meat publication TW iio denote eilireni of ThiiW. wherwito all ethnic Tai. To.d ia this repoi!refer to

all Tii in (he peninsular area

FIGURE S. Typical lown mo'tcet. All ethnic lypei mingle in the 'own. eipecially in the morlceM- Note the variety ol fruit, including the ipiney durioni in the foreground. TKey or* highly priceddelico-dot by the locol population, but they ore nolorious for Iheir sullurous odor.

Malaysia. The cohesion of Thai Malays and Malays in Malaysia is natural because of common religion, culture, and language. The Malays are rural,they tend to live in villageshich are the most important unit of society after the family. Most Malays in tbe border area are rubber planters, farmers, and fishermen They are distinguished from non-Malays by their Islamic religion (see

he Muslim (Malay) population in Thailand believes that it is notaccepted by the Bangkok Government on an equal basis with the Thai


Buddhists. While generally- [wmive, these are some Muslims who would like to see the five southern provinces under Malaysian control. Being represented chieflyandful of elderly conservative Muslims in Pattani, however, they appear to beinor problem in the border area

The Malaysian Government professes not to bennexing the Eve southernmost provinces of Thailand, and within the Kuala Lumpur Government there is some concern about contact between Thai Malays in Narathiwat and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PMIP) in Malaysia. The PMIP it strongest In the state of Kelantan. and this facilitates their overtures to Muslims in neighboring Narathiwat.

Several other Malay groups threaten border area security on the Thai side. Among the Thai Malays thereew bandits who operate in Pattani and several districts of surrounding provinces Their interest is money, not politics, but the Thai Governmentossible coordination of bandit activity with the efforts of the ethnic Chinese Commuruit Terrorists (CTs).



umerically the Thaiinority in the border zone. In the five southernmost provinces of Thailand they number;0 more of them are also concentrated in the four northernmost itates of Malaysia. In Thailandmall proportion of the residents of the border area are Thai, and most of these are found in theisproportionate number of Thai are associated with the military, police, and civil administration. This is not due to the direct exclusion of Malays from positions, but to employment jtandards that require fluency in the Thai language. In Malaysia the Thai are peaceable Buddhists who reside in villages, apart from the Malays.

elations between the Buddhists and the Muslims in southern Thailand arc not entirely harmonious because of Muslim (ethnic Malay) rescntmenl against official domination by the Thai Buddhist minority (seeof local government employeesommon complaint. Local Thai police

think that they are neglected by Bangkok, believing that their Malaysianarc better equipped, framed, and supplied, andtherefore lessto bribes by Communists and others.

Thai Government is working to improve its relations with thehasrogram of rural development and is now in theincluding in It health and sanitation workers as well as specialistsrogram to encourage the Mudim religioussystems of Thai public and Muslim religious schools exist) toThai language has had some success. Four teacher-training institutesbeen started in soutliern Thailand, as wellcneralCenter at Yala. In addition to the Government-sponsoredMuslims in Bangkok, the Southern Technical Institute is located inthe University of the South is to be opened soon in Pattani


to official figures, ethnic Chinese represent some 3the population in the Thailand portion of the border area and some ?Sin the Malaysian portion. These figures probably do not reflect theChinese who have been assimilated. In both countries there is aProblem" in that the Chinese operate andonsiderable portionbanking. Insurance, export, import, wholesale, and larger retailThey arc the chief shopkeepers and middlemen, and generallythe service industries wherever they arc settled They also supplyof the industrial labor force.onsequence, the Chinese havebeen regarded as exploitative and have been the target oflive predominantly rural, non-Chinese society {see

enerally, in Southeast Asia the Overseas Chinese have strongly resisted assimilation, but in Thailand they have often preferred assimilation in order to remove obstacles to their economic advancement. The Thai Government has imposed restrictive regulations on alien Chinese (those who have not become Thai citizens) such us excluding them from certain jobs or forbidding them to grow nee The small number of rural Chinese in Thailand arc, in general, lessthan their urban counterparts.

Inizable part of the Chinese populationenti-mental attachment to China, although some genuinely regard Malaysia as their home. All Chinese seem to share the nr* that although they are responsible for making the Federation of Malaysia possible, the Covemment operates for the benefit of the Malays.

The Governments of Thailand and Malaysia arc sensitive to the extent of the allegiance of the Chinese population to Mainland China and Ihe support of the Chinese of the CTO. CTs numberctives and are believed to be organized into three regiments and several thousand cadres. They are mostly ethnic Chinese, but in recent years Thais and Malays have also been subject to recruiting. Although the CTs may be conducting operations in Malaysia, their strategy is toafe haven in Thailand around Sadao and Belong until tt is possible to return to Malaysia. CTs refer to themselves as guests of the Thai Covemment. and they seek io maintain proper relations with local officials While there have been armed dashes between the CTs and the Thais, the former usually apologize to the local authorities when Thai officials have been killed. Largelyesult of Thai reluctance to move against the CTO, that


organization retains coniro'. over iho local Chinese population, particularly the youth Tbe Thai Cover:vTvrrrt is now concernedossible alliance'he CTO and the Tha: Communists.


nile Indians conititute aboutercent of thealaysia, they -ire not numerically significant in the Thailand portion of the botder area. Other ethnic groups tend to dislike the Indians, partly because many of them axe businessmen and regarded as being exploitative. Malays regard Indians as being ethnically andnferior, and the feeling Is reciprocated.ho Indians are not active, and they do nottrong allegiance to their homeland that is comparable to that ol the Clnnese.

ndian society in the border area is both rural and urban in character Most Indians, originating in southern India (Tamils, Tclcgus. Chetis. andork on the larger rubber, coconut, and palm oil estates as tappers, "ceders, and harvesters Some southern Indians, however, have becomeworkers, clerks, and businessmen in urban areas. Very few have obtained prominent social or intellectual position by becoming doctors, lawyers, and teachers.

orthern Indians generallyumerically small and relativelygroup, exceptmalt number of professionals. Originatingin the Punjab, they are notlusively associated with the estate economy as are those from southern India, although many of them, especially the Sikhs, serve as estate watchmen and policemen (see

he Indians have retained part of their Hindu culture, particularly old religious forms. On each estate there is at least one temple dedicatedod derived from the Hindu pantheon, and in the towns there are usually Hindu temples Tho temples are maintained by Brahman priests who act as inter-mcdi-ities between the people and the godertain amount ofassimilation has occurred,ew Indians have become Muslims.

Aboriginal People

Although00 aboriginal people inhabitnt Is not known how many are in the border area (see. There are, however, two groups: tbe Negritoes (Semang) and the Scnoihe Negritoes inhabit both Thailand ond Malaysia, but the Senoi are found only in Malaysia.

Most of the Negritoes are hunters and gatherers, practicing no agriculture, except where they have interbred with agricultuial tribes and have adopted their habits. Each small community of Negritoes migrates within its triballiving in crude lean-to structures. The Senoi. on the other hand,hifting form of agriculture, known locally as latlang. Senoi families live together in longhouses near their fields where they raise dryland rice, millet,


tobacco, manioc, sweet poiatoes, and bananai. They also do some hunting and gathering.onsequence the subsistence and cultural levels of the Senoi are higher and more elaborate than those of the Negrito. Both groups are animistic and their religion involves numerous spirits andargebody of myths and legends,elief in innumerable deities.

raditionally the aboriginal people have disliked and feared the Malays, and during the emergency they assisted the Communist guerrillas as food gatherers, scouts, and guides. The Malaysian Governmentrogram of rrsettlement and acculturationnd eventually it won the support of most of the indigenous peoplewere under Communist domination.esult of this operation, which brought the aborigines into contact with many aspects of the Malay and European cultures, assimilation has been somewhat hastened.

ECONOMY Agriculture

Agriculture is the mainstay ol the economy of the border area where rice is the most important food crop,reat variety of fruits and vegetables is also raised, along with sugarcane and, on tho coasts, coconuts. Rubber is the most important cash crop, and oil palms, coconuts, spices, and Iruit are alsocommercially. In the, rubber accounted forercent of the total value of agricultural exports in Thailand, almost all of which wason the peninsula, andubber accounted forercent of the total export earnings of Malaysia.

Rubber is produced all along both coasts and. in particular, around Hat Yai (sec. In Thailand, holdings are usuallyew acies in sire, and the smallest units are occupied by Muslims; thereew large holdings, however, and those arc generally worked by the Thai-Chinese. Europeans own most of the large estates in Malaysia, where the British arc now subdividing and selling their estatesithdrawal program that may be com-


plctedere tho Malays own more than hail of iIiq smallestnd most of the medium-sizecres) are in the hands cf the Chinese

M The economy of the whole peninsula has been affected in recent years by the decline in price of natural rubber Thi*L'SSOer pound0 toer poundS-he improvement in and acceptability of synthetic rubber on the world's markets. In consequence thereof, all producers of natural rubber in the area have suffered, the small landowners of Thailand relatively mote than the owners of large estates in Malaysia, where the export earnings of the country have been seriously cut. The worsening fortunes ol the rubber industry haveumber of economic problems for tlie area and its underemployed labor force, which is an idea! target far Communistit is an unfortunate coincidence, therefore, that CTO activity isin that part of tho border area that is suffering most because of the depressed price of rubber.

Malaysia and Thailand are now- seeling to cope with the pricing problem by replanting higher yielding trees and by improving the quality of the rubber produced. It is also hoped that new or Improved techniques of processing the latex obtained from older trees will enhance the competitive position of the natural rubber producers. While these programs are essentially necessary to the rubber industry, it is improbable that they can, by themselves, correct all of the area's economic ills.

Both Thailand and Malaysia now plan to substitute other crops for rubber. One of tbe most common alternatives being considered is the oil palm, already being raised in increasing quantity (see. In theears, how. ever, the price of palm oil has declined, and increased production has only partially compensated for the lower price. One advantage of the oil palm is thnt it bears harvestablc fruit from the fourth toheriod of yield that begins earlier and lasts longer than that of rubber. Plantations must be large and well organized, however,eavy capital investmentarge labor force are essential. Hence, small landowners are virtually excluded from such operations, unless the Government assumes responsibility forprocessing facilities (as Malaysia has done in Sabah).

he coconut palm offers another possibility for agriculturalWhile replantation has already been carried outegree, there isajorcoconut palm matures moie slowly than the rubber tire. Cultivation of upland crops, such as com and sorghum, or fruit, such asand bananas, may also be expanded, but these efforts would be dependent on the improvement of transportation in the area and the development of export markets

4S. The main food crop on the peninsula is wetland rice, grown on the coastal plains of both countries (seeevertheless, the entire peninsulaice deficit area, despite elTorts to increase production. In Malaysia, various pilot


ncluding the introduction of new varieties of rice, hive been tried with some success. Of the Urge quantity of rice that is brought into the peninsula from the Central Lowlands of Thailand, much is smuggled into Malaysia, and Thai Covemment attempts to prevent this smuggling appear to be largelyMuch publicity is given to the "ant army' of small boys who smuggle small bags of rice across the border, but more significant are the bulk shipmenls that are regularly smuggled into Malaysia by wealthy and powerful individuals with government connections. Within Thailand. Bangkok is trying to control the distribution of rice, but the local Chinese population continues to supply it to the insurgents.


Part-time fishing, one of the traditional bases of the area's subsistence economy, provides the Thais. Malays, Chinese, and Indians with their main source of animal protein and their second-ranking staple tcod (see Figureaken from both fresh and salt waters, the catch is distributed, sold, andin fresh, dried, and salted forms.

Maritime fishing is largely dependent On the extensive exploitation of shallow (seldom in excesseet) waters of limited potential. Such waters along the west coast are more productive than those that are on the east eoait. where fishing efforts are handicapped from December to February by the north-

east monsoononsequence of small and declining catches, the east coast consumer has been increasingly supplied in recent years with kembong. or mackerel, caught on the west coast.

resh water fishing is not as important as maritime fishing In Thailand such activity is more or less restricted to the northern limits of tbe border area around



Thalc Luang In Malaysia, on (he other hand, frcih water fishing is somewhat more widespread and it contributes considerably lo tho diet of people living in the interior.

Maritime fishing methods vary considerably. Fixed traps along withtypes of nets and lines are used inshore, while offshore, lines and drift nets are employed. As the fishing gear is generally hand operated, catches are never large. The industry isransition, however, and in recent years motorized vessels base been widely introduced. Nevertheless, the range of fishing operations has not been extended as much as might be expected, probablythe fishermen, especially the Malays, are reluctant to remain at sea for moreayime. Thai fishermen, perhaps in an effort to increase their catch, have been fishing recently in Malaysia's territorial waters The Thaihas warned them of the risks involved, but with little success, and Malaysia has now started selling Thai Ashing boats.

Fishing has always been an uncertain occupation, with fluctuations in catch from day to day, season to season, and year to year. Becausearked downward trend in the availability of kembong in waters accessible to village fishermen, particularly in the east, and becauseecrease in the net income, fishermen are developing an interest in agriculture. In this respect their attention is directed more toward the production cf rubber and oil palms than to the coconut palm This is explained by the fact that most of the land suitable forcoconut production is already occupied, while vast tracts suitable for rubber and oil palm production are available in the sparsely populated interior.


Minerals in the border area may offer the best basis for economicMining of tin and,esser extent, iron ore already contributes importantly to the economy. Furthermore, it is possible that petroleum production maysignificant in the future if offshore prospecting is successful

Tin is currently the major mineral exported. Produced in Chinese- or European -owned mines located in the central portion of the Thailand sector of the border area and on the slopes of the westernmost mounlain range in Malaysia, the ore is usually obtained by dredging or gravel pumping (see Figures. Smellers are located at Butterworth and Penang. Malaysia, and at Phuket in Thailand

producers, although plagued by fluctuations, have In periodsprices been able to maintain their incomeore or lessby increasing production. However, as member countries of theCouncil have imposed export quotas on each other, increasing ttnMalaysia is restricted. Some profits are realized through the sate ofthat were formerly considered waste. The most important ofare ilmenlte (ironn demand in the paint industry,used in metal alloys, color television tubes, and electronic systems.

One Malaysian producer, in fact, now mines monazite and produces tinyproduct

ron ore is mined in the Malaysian portion of the border area where the mines are nor ai profitable or as extensive as those located farther south. The bulk ol the output of these mines is exported to Japan; most of it is taken to the east coast whete it is loaded on large vessels anchored offshore, and theis shipped from Butterworth.

alaysia has granted an international mining firm prospecting rights to offshore tin deposits up toiles at sea opposite the coasts of the states of Pening, Perak. and Selangor, and oil prospecting rights along the entire eastern Continental Shelf were granted to Esso Exploration Malaysia and Continental Oil of Malaysia Thailand, also concerned about offshore deposits, has granted international penoleum companies prospecting concessions in the Gulf of Siam.


FIGURE IB. Tm dredge neor Ipoh, Moloyjio Much of She iin on the peninsula it mined by'ed bucketmuollyd byi- most such diedget ore foreign owned. Dredging it the only practical method of working tin sands In iwompy or wet ground, ond it ollowi working ol low-grade deposiJs ot the loweii possible covt.


(See Map 1}

transportation grid in the border area connect* the important lectorscoasts ot* botheast coast in Thailand with the west coastMajor transport arteries also pass through the mountainousvalleys that parallel tho north-south grain of (he land.


Inland waterways are important to transportation, especially during the wet season when roads and trails may become impassable. Many streams arc navigable only by native craft, however, because they are quite shallow and. on the east coast, choked with sandbar* downstream. On the west coast, steep stream gradients confine boats to those parts of streams that are within the narrow coastal plain.

More significant is maritime coastal transport. Both Thai and Malaysian ports on the east coast funnel goods into Bangkok and Singapore, while west coast trade from Thailand and Malaysia goes to and from Penan g. Portand Singapore. The Thais are currently considering the needeep-water port in Phuket.


ontroversy still surrounds the proposed Km Isthmus Cnn,il acrossidea which has been periodically advanced since World War It Two schemes have been advanced: one proposes to build the canal across thepart of the Kra Isthmus,orth of the Equator, startingthe town of Jtanong (the original plan) and the other advocates cutting across thenorthwest of the city of Songkhla. Much of Ihe objection to building the canal comes from Singapore, whose prominence as the main port of Southeast Asia would be threatened. Thailand, coo. has its anxieties over the canal, since it would tend to isolate the Thai Muslims from Bangkok and tie thcin mora closely to Malaysia.


railroads and roads of the peninsula generally complementeasonably good overland transportation net. Pailioadigageeetnches) in both countries and cross the border inthe eastern coastal plain between Pasir Mas. Malaysia, andThailand (seend on the west coastidePadang Besar. Malaysia, and Khlong Ngae. Thailand. The twoat Cemas. Malaysia, and continue southwardingle line tonorth of the border they mergeingle line at Hat Yai.continue northward to Bangkok and points beyond.


Malaysia the highway system is excellent, except along thoeast coast. The roads here are generally all weather and hardroad system is not as good, but efforts to convert mainall-weather roads continue (see. Several roads and trailsborder. In thooad between Changlun, Malaysia, and Khlongpasses through the same wide valley that accommodates thethe mountainous center of theoute traverses the borderMalaysia, and Belong. Thailand; on the cast coait several trailsthe border, but there are no major highways. Elsewhere, footpaths andthrough the dense vegetation along the border.


transport, international and domestic is available Thai Airlinesregular connections between the border area and Bangkok, and it alsoan international connection between Songkhla, Thailand, and Penang.Currently, an airport to accommodate large jets is being constructed atit will also be used for international traffic to Penangprovides international service at well as domestic connectionsLumpur and other major Malaysian airports and to the smaller townstin and rubber production areas. Charter service to remotealso available.



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