A Thai envoy is expected to travel to the Malaysian border state of Kelantan to seek approval from the sultan for the construction of a road tunnel under the Kolok river to link Narathiwat province and northern Malaysia.
The <i>New Straits Times</i> newspaper in Kuala Lumpur reported that a special delegation from Thailand is expected to travel to Malaysian state of Kelantan to meet Sultan Muhammad V.
They would ask for his permission to construct an underwater tunnel linking the the southeastern coastal district of Tak Bai in Narathiwat, Thailand, and Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan, Malaysia.
Tak Bai district chief Somsak Sithiworakarn said the proposed 400 metre tunnel has been under discussion for years, but planning has never gone any further until now.
The Thai government has agreed to shoulder the construction cost, estimated at 1.5 billion baht, as a gift to the sultan and the people of Kelantan, he said.
Mr Somsak hopes the meeting will speed up the project. When completed the tunnel would ease the problems faced by people on both sides of the border who are currently crossing the border river on boats and ferries.
There is a bridge over the river from Sungai Kolok, further inland.