By Waleed PD Mahdini
The 13th Annual Leaders' Consultation between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia began in earnest yesterday morning when His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam received in audience the visiting Malaysian delegation, led by Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, at Istana Nurul Iman.
Upon their arrival at the palace, the Malaysian delegation was first introduced to members of the royal family. On hand to greet them with His Majesty were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar, as well as His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah.
Also present were Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other members of the royal family.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is in the country on a three-day official visit, with his wife, Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor, Tun Hajah Rahah Haji Mohd Noah, the prime minister's mother and Encik Nor Ashman Dato' Sri Mohd Najib, the prime minister's son, were also accompanied by a high level delegation, which included Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Anifah Aman; Minister of Transport Dato' Sri Ong Tee Keat; the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Dato' Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim; the Minister at the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop; Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato' Mustapa Mohamed; Minister of Health Dato' Sri Liow Tiong Lai; Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob; Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, as well as the State Minister of Sarawak Pehin Sri Dr Hj Abdul Taib Mahmud and Sabah's State Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman.
Following the introductions, the two sides proceeded for the audience ceremony at the Cheradi Laila Kenchana, before the two leaders were left alone to begin their closed door meeting.
During the meeting, both leaders renewed their commitment to further strengthening the already close cooperation and friendly relations that are shared between Brunei and Malaysia.
As neighbours, each recognised the bond that exists between the two countries through their common heritage and culture.
A broad range of regional and international issues of mutual concern were also discussed during their 45-minute meeting, which further reaffirmed the two leaders unanimous agreement on the need to work closely in addressing the current global economic downturn and pandemic diseases.
Following the four-eye meeting, His Majesty and the prime minister adjourned to another room for the official signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA).
The warm, friendly and jovial atmosphere as the guests took their seats belied the close relationship that both countries share in common. As the Malaysian delegation and their Bruneian hosts, which included the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as the Cabinet Ministers took to their seats on opposite sides of the room, to witness Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman, Second Minister of Finance and his counterpart, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry inked the agreement that is hoped to pave the way for greater facilitation of bilateral economic collaboration.
- Borneo Bulletin
(6th August 2009)