Sarawak eager to boost bilateral ties with Brunei

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, Jan 24 — Sarawak is keen to strengthen the Brunei-Sarawak Joint Committee at the ministerial level and be assisted by the Joint Working Group at the senior-official stage for bilateral relationship.

The Sarawak Premier’s Office said these were among the issues agreed upon at a pre-council meeting of the Malaysian delegation that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim chaired in Bandar Seri Begawan this evening.

It also said in a statement that these proposals will be raised during Anwar’s audience with the Sultan of Brunei in Bandar Seri Begawan tomorrow.

The statement said Sarawak would also like to request the extension of the Brunei-Malaysia Frequent Traveller Programme (BMFTP) to custom, immigration, quarantine and security (CIQS) checkpoints to the Sabah towns of Merapok and Sindumin to facilitate from travellers to Kota Kinabalu.

It added that Sarawak also wanted the CIQS checkpoints to resume their normal operation hours from 6am to 12 midnight.

“Both countries should explore digitising the process at both checkpoints to fast track movement of travellers,” the statement said.

It also said Sarawak would also like to expedite the demarcation and survey works on land boundaries between Malaysia and Brunei.

The statement said Sarawak would like to strengthen the collaboration in telecommunication to provide connectivity within Sarawak and Brunei as well as to international gateway.

It said Sarawak was prepared to assist Brunei achieve its target of 10 per cent renewable energy by 2035 under the Paris Agreement initiatives.

It added Sarawak will propose to collaborate with Brunei to further develop the tourism industry through joint tourism promotion and events as well as promote Borneo as a tourism destination leveraging on Brunei Airport as an international travel hub for the region.

“Sarawak is opening the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office (STATO) in Bandar Seri Begawan,” the statement said.

“Sarawak also wants to collaborate in the agriculture sector with Brunei through private sector initiatives focusing on paddy, livestock and fisheries leveraging on Sarawak capacity as the production hub and Brunei’s processing, connectivity and Halal brand for Middle-East markets.

“Sarawak welcomes investment from Brunei for the manufacturing activities in high-tech industries in Kuching, Halal related activities in Tanjung Manis, oil and gas industries in Bintulu and Lawas and heavy industries in Samalaju,” the statement said, adding that Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (PETROS) welcomed investment to develop oil and gas downstream activities.

The statement also said Sarawak welcomed Brunei for Joint Border Development along the highway for commercial property and industrial parks and as well as promoting local products globally.

It said Sarawak would offer to sell Brunei raw and treated water for industry, agriculture and domestic usage.

Anwar, who arrived in the Brunei capital this afternoon, is scheduled to have an audience with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Istana Nurul Iman, followed by a private meeting between both leaders.

During the meeting, the two are expected to use the opportunity to assess the progress of ongoing cooperation, to further strengthen relations and cooperation, as well as to venture new cooperation in common interest areas between the two countries.

The prime minister and the Sultan of Brunei will also witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA).

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor were among members of the Malaysian delegation on an official visit to Brunei.