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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Malaysian state to install security cameras to safeguard border with southern Thailand

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The Associated Press

Authorities in Malaysia's northernmost state will set up security cameras along the border with Thailand's volatile south to thwart smuggling and other threats, an official said Tuesday.

At least 6.8 million ringgit (US$1.8 million; EUR1.5 million) has been allocated to install closed-circuit television cameras at strategic locations along a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) stretch between both countries, said Shahidan Kassim, the chief minister of northwestern Perlis state.

The plan will be launched next month to bolster current patrols by Malaysian security forces, Shahidan was quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama, and the New Straits Times newspaper on its website.

Shahidan said officials were concerned about cross-border smuggling and other security risks, but he did not specifically refer to the ongoing separatist violence that has claimed more than 1,100 lives in Thailand's Muslim-dominated south since last year.

In August, 131 Thai Muslims illegally crossed the border into a northeastern Malaysian state, Kelantan, claiming they felt threatened by the Thai military's crackdown on Islamic insurgents.

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