His Majesty values advice, lauds leadership of Agong
Siti Hajar

The State Visit of the Malaysian Royal Couple to Brunei Darussalam, said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last night "is an honour that also reflects how strong the Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia relationship is".

Delivering a titah during the Royal Banquet at Istana Darul Hana for Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Tuanku Alhaj Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah and Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, His Majesty said that the visit has provided the monarch with the opportunity to "reciprocate the hospitality that was accorded" when His Majesty travelled to the neighbouring country including visits that were made last month and in 2008 during the Golden Jubilee celebration for the Malaysian Agong in his capacity as Sultan of Kedah Darul Aman.

In praising the leadership of the Malaysian Agong, His Majesty said: "As a monarch who has ruled for more than half a decade, experience and advice from Paduka Kakanda (His Majesty the Elder) as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia is indeed respected and more so valued.

"Paduka Adinda," His Majesty said referring to himself as His Majesty the Younger, "still remembers the first time when Paduka Kakanda was installed as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia in 1970 during which time countries around the region were facing numerous challenges.

"But, Alhamdulillah, thanks to the wise leadership of Paduka Kakanda, Malaysia enjoyed progress.

"After three decades, Paduka Kakanda has once again taken over the position of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Malaysia in an era that is even more challenging.

"However, Paduka Adinda fully believes that Paduka Kakanda will continue to lead and carry Malaysia to the summit of glory whilst enjoying peace and prosperity."

Observing that the Brunei-Malaysia relationship continues to strengthen especially in the recent years, His Majesty stated that agreements achieved with Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak on several issues "has opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations".

"This has enhanced our network of cooperation in the fields of business, education and defence," said His Majesty. "Paduka Adinda is happy that both sides continue to shoulder further expansion of these areas of cooperation."

Recalling last year's economic progress, His Majesty highlighted that Malaysia was the biggest business partner for Brunei among other Asean nations and, as he expressed his contentment on this front, His Majesty said, "Inshya Allah, the relationships of our joint venture companies can generate economic growth for both nations."

His Majesty also took the opportunity to express his appreciation for the 30,000 Malaysians who are currently residing in the country in various levels of the demographic from skilled professionals to entrepreneurs, government and private sector employees and also students.

"Their effort and expertise significantly helps Brunei in nurturing her development and growth," said His Majesty.

In ending his titah, His Majesty expressed his confidence that the visit will further solidify the relationship between the people of both nations.

In his return titah, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong said the flourishing economic relations between both states is attributed to the "work and continuous initiative made by the two nations in venturing into and exploring sectors that are valuable and of mutual interest".

The Malaysian Agong, in expressing his confidence that trade figures will continue to grow, also shared that the bilateral business relations between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia had increased by 13.7 per cent in 2011.

As part of the Malaysian initiative in improving the economy, the Malaysian Agong explained that the government has introduced investment opportunities through a number of programmes including the Economic Transformation Programme that are "viable and valuable" and invited Brunei to intensify investments in Malaysia.

"At the same time, Paduka Kakanda is also encouraging Malaysian companies to continue cooperation with Brunei in her efforts to diversify the economy."

Sharing similar sentiments with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the agreement that was reached between Brunei and Malaysia particularly in settling the land and maritime borders is hoped to spark renewed cooperation especially in the areas of agriculture and fisheries, information technology, Islamic banking, infrastructure and so on.

The Malaysian Agong also expressed his delight in the roles that Malaysia and Brunei have played in overcoming important regional and international issues particularly in forums such as Asean, OIC, NAM and also the UN.

"Paduka Kakanda is confident that our commitment can be continued for our prosperity and also the region's stability."

Malaysia and Brunei, he added, should also continue to uphold the Islamic religion and support those who are in need "for the sake of the people's integrity".

Recalling the visit made by His Majesty to Malaysia last month, the Malaysian Agong said that not only is the memory still fresh, the presence of "Paduka Anakanda Pengiran Muda Mahkota Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah to Paduka Kakanda's Istiadat Pertabalan also made us (the Royal Couple) and the people of Malaysia very happy.

"Paduka Kakanda is grateful for the friendly and intimate relations between Malaysia and Brunei's people. The policies of both countries that are based on our similar histories, culture, religion, language and system of Malay Islamic Monarchy have brought peace and prosperity for our nations."

In extending the Royal Couple's appreciation for His Majesty's warm welcome, the Malaysian Agong said: "Paduka Kakanda," including Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong, "pray to Allah the Almighty to always protect Paduka Seri Adinda and Paduka Seri Adinda Raja Isteri along with other members of the royal family. May Brunei Darussalam be preserved and protected from Allah the Almighty and bestowed with blessings, mercy and guidance towards success." - Borneo Bulletin (11 May 2012)