Brunei denies Limbang story
By Azlan Othman

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Awg Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II, yesterday said claims on Limbang were never discussed during Monday's deliberations between Brunei and Malaysia.

He was responding to YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa bin Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin's query on the contents of the "Letter of Exchange" signed between Brunei and Malaysia, which also touched on Brunei's claims over Limbang at the Legislative Council meeting yesterday.

Pehin Lim said there were certain press reports yesterday claiming that Brunei has dropped claims over Limbang.

"In actual fact, the claim on Limbang was never discussed. What was discussed was the demarcation of land boundaries on the whole," he said.

"The joint press statement issued yesterday mentioned that the demarcation of the land boundaries between the two countries will be resolved on the basis of five existing historical agreements between the Government of Brunei and the State of Sarawak, and, as appropriate, the watershed principle.

"After that a working group comprising general surveyors of the two countries will follow with the technical aspect to solve the land border issue," Pehin Lim added.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi held a four-eye meeting at the Istana Nurul Iman on Monday and signed the Exchange of Letters to mark the successful conclusion of negotiations.

The negotiations have been ongoing for many years on outstanding bilateral issues between the two countries with regard to historical, legal and other relevant criteria involving both sides.

Both noted the agreement of their respective governments on the key elements contained in the Exchange of Letters, which included the final delimitation of maritime boundaries between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia, the establishment of Commercial Agreement Area (CAA) on oil and gas, the modalities for the final demarcation of the land boundary between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia and unsuspendable rights of maritime access for nationals and residents of Malaysia across Brunei's maritime zones en route to and from their destination in Sarawak, Malaysia provided that Brunei's laws and regulations are observed.

Meanwhile, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan, the Minister of Home Affairs, said an allocation has been made in the budget to upgrade the Kuala Lurah Control Post.

After the border issue between Brunei and Malaysia is resolved, work will be carried out to identify the site.

He was responding to a query by YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa on the long queues that border hoppers normally experience during school holidays, Hari Raya and other public holidays and the need to upgrade Pandaruan ferry services and Puni Control Post in Temburong.

YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa added that the opening of a new bridge soon in Trusan, Lawas will further aggravate the situation should these control post projects are not carried out. - Borneo Bulletin (18th Mar 2009)