Brunei, M’sia to fast-track strategic alliance accords

PUTRAJAYA – Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia have expressed satisfaction with the progress of the implementation of the Exchange of Letters signed in 2009 to pave the way for a strategic bilateral partnership.

In stressing the importance of the Exchange of Letters, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato Laila Utama Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak urged their officials to intensify efforts to conclude the outstanding elements as well as other issues deliberated by both sides, the Malaysian news agency Bernama reported yesterday.

In a joint statement issued in conjunction with the 18th Annual Leaders’ Consultation held in Putrajaya, Malaysia, the two leaders welcomed the ongoing discussions to operationalise the provision of the Exchange of Letters relating to maritime access.

“In this regard, both leaders urged that efforts be intensified to enable the early conclusion of the discussion,” the statement added.

The statement stated that both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to maritime cooperation and urged the officials of both countries to continue discussions towards increasing collaboration in the area with a view to having a memorandum of understanding in maritime cooperation.

According to a press release issued by Brunei’s Prime Minister’s Office, His Majesty consented to attend the 18th Annual Leaders’ Consultation at Seri Perdana Complex, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Putrajaya.

His Majesty was greeted by Dato Laila Utama Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib and the monarch and the Malaysian leader proceeded to the Office of the Prime Minister for a four-eye meeting. After the meeting, His Majesty signed the Visitors’ Book.

His Majesty and Dato Laila Utama Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib then proceeded to the Blue Room to witness the signing ceremony of ‘Joint Announcement by PetroleumBrunei and Petronas’ between Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. Signing for Brunei Darussalam was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, who is also the Chairman of PetroleumBrunei Sdn Bhd, while Malaysia was represented by the President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Petronas, Tan Sri Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas.

His Majesty later joined in a photo session with Dato Laila Utama Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib and then proceeded to the Protocol Dining Hall for a luncheon hosted by Malaysia’s Prime Minister who was also accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and the Defence Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein, who is also the Minister-in-Attendance, and several Malaysian cabinet ministers and senior officials.

His Majesty was accompanied by the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim and Pehin Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that both leaders reiterated the importance of strengthening cooperation in the agriculture, information, technology, communication and taxation sectors, and expressed the hope for both sides to finalise related documents to further enhance bilateral relations.

The two leaders noted the steadfast cooperation and partnership between Petronas and PetroleumBRUNEI, which has extended beyond the Commercial Arrangement Area (CAA), and included progress in exploration activities under the Production Sharing Agreements for Blocks N and Q and in third countries such as Canada.

Both leaders also noted that the Brunei Darussalam and Petronas Unitisation Joint Working Group are progressing well with the formalisation of the unitisation agreement for Kinabalu West and Maharajalela North Fields as the priority, and smooth implementation of the provisional arrangement with regard to the Gumusut/Kakap and Geronggong/Jagus-East fields.

Both leaders also welcomed the signing of the joint announcement by PetroleumBRUNEI and Petronas progressing their collaboration in Myanmar.

The joint statement said the leaders recalled their discussion at the last Annual Leaders’ Consultation on matters relating to fisheries cooperation between Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, including traditional fishing grounds.

Both leaders noted that officials of both sides are currently discussing the matter and encouraged them to conclude the discussion expeditiously with a view to having a memorandum of understanding in fisheries cooperation.

The statement also said that the leaders reiterated their commitment to enhance economic cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Both leaders were encouraged by the outcome of discussions in facilitating the joint venture for the Keningau Integrated Livestock Centre (KILC) and exploring potential economic cooperation in new areas of mutual interest.

“The leaders also noted with satisfaction the continued efforts to further accelerate economic cooperation between Sarawak and Brunei Darussalam, particularly in the field of energy cooperation,” the statement said.

It said both leaders were pleased to note the enhancement of bilateral trade as well as investment flows between the two countries.

They urged the private sectors of both countries to further collaborate in accelerating bilateral trade and investment cooperation to deepen economic integration of the region towards the realisation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, the statement said.

The leaders agreed to hold the 19th Annual Leaders’ Consultation in Brunei Darussalam next year.

In the joint statement, the leaders also commended the excellent work of the joint technical teams in the joint demarcation and survey of the land boundary between Malaysia and Brunei and noted with satisfaction the significant progress in the demarcation of part of an identified priority area.

They also welcomed the adoption of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the joint hydrographic survey to determine the boundary from the Pandaruan and Menunggol rivers to their respective end points of the Sarawak (Definition of Boundaries) Order in Council (OIC), on 24 March 2014.

“In moving forward, both leaders called for the continued commitment of the joint technical teams in expediting efforts to conclude the joint demarcation and survey of the land boundary within the targeted timeframe,” it added. - Borneo Bulletin (4 November 2014)