M'sia, Brunei reach several agreements on overlapping areas: M'sian premier

JOHOR BAHARU (Bernama) - Malaysia and Brunei have reached several agreements to resolve disputes on overlapping territories along the sea and land boundaries between the two countries, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.

The Prime Minister said both countries would state the matters concerning the overlapping areas in an exchange of letters which would be signed soon.

Abdullah said this at a media conference after a four-eyed meeting with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in conjunction with the 12th Malaysia-Brunei Bilateral Conference.

The problem of the overlapping territories between Malaysia and Brunei involved territorial waters which are rich in oil and gas deposits in the border areas between the two countries and the land boundary in Limbang, Sarawak.

Following the dispute in the sea boundary, oil and gas exploration works in the area concerned had been put off to allow for negotiations to be held between the two countries.

The Prime Minister hoped that the signing of the letters of exchange would be carried out very soon in Bandar Seri Begawan, or any other city in Malaysia.

He said specific suggestion on the matter would be presented to the Cabinet for consideration and approval.

Abdullah was also asked whether the exchange of the letters between the two countries would mean that problems over the border dispute had been resolved.

"If the letters were signed, it would be an indication that the matters discussed had received mutual agreement, so once they are agreed upon, we can say that they have been resolved," the Prime Minister said.

Asked whether the national oil corporation, Petronas, would be allowed to continue operations in the areas disputed by the two countries, the Prime Minister said it depended on what Brunei and Malaysia would agree upon.

Today, the Prime Minister will accompany His Majesty to attend a briefing on Iskandar Malaysia.

Abdullah said the Brunei government has indicated its willingness to consider any investment opportunity in the Iskandar Malaysia economic growth region.

The Prime Minister said this intention was expressed by His Majesty.

"The Sultan has indicated his desire to consider whatever investment opportunities that are available in the region. And his visit to the area also enables him to observe the development that has taken place in Iskandar Malaysia," he said.

"Insya Allah, His Majesty will be able to consider whatever cooperation that would be taken after visiting the area," said Abdullah, who is also the joint Chairman of Iskandar Malaysia.

The Prime Minister said that in addition, Brunei had also indicated its keenness to invest in the Sabah and Sarawak economic development corridors. - Borneo Bulletin (27th August 2008)