Thailand will in mid 2009 formalize its involvement in the coordinated patrols in the Malacca Strait which are so far being conducted by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Thailand had unofficially participated in the Malacca Strait patrols since two months ago, Major General Supiadin, operation assistant to the commander of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) said in Jakarta as quoted by Anatara news agency on Thursday.
"The Thai involvement will be formalized in the middle of this year, after all matters concerning Thailand's participation in the Malacca Strait patrols are fully discussed internally and externally together with Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore," he said.
Matters which needed to be clarified included the number of fleets and the patrol areas of the Thai military for the coordinated patrols of Malacca Strait, he said.
Limited military budget of Thailand and Indonesia which have been affected by the current global economic crisis, was also being considered, he said.
In a recent meeting with the TNI Chief, the commander of the Thai Military Defense Forces had expressed readiness to be involved in the Malacca Strait patrols officially.
The idea to involve Thailand in the Malacca Strait coordinated patrols raised by Indonesia in a meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2005.
However, due to the political situation in Thailand, it was decided to give an observer status to Thailand.
The Malacca Strait is bordered by Rondo Island and Pukhet in the north and Karimun island and Tanjung Piai in the south, with a total length of 500 miles or 926 kilometers.
Since July 2004, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have established cooperation to maintain security in the Malacca Strait.
The trilateral coordinated patrol scheme is codenamed MALSINDO Malacca Straits Coordinated Patrols.
Since the joint patrols began to be carried out, the crime rate in the 500-mile long strait has decreased by about 70 percent.
The control points of the coordinated patrols are at Belawan and Batam (Indonesia), Lumut (Malaysia), and Changi (Singapore). The control point will also include Pukhet (Thailand) when Thailand officially joins the coordinate patrols.