His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam last night upheld Brunei`s close and friendly relations with Malaysia while urging both the nations to work together for find opportunities in trade and investment in the region and around the world.
His Majesty, in a titah, also lauded the Heart of Borneo (HoB) project launched by Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia and hoped that it would be an example for other countries to follow.
His Majesty, Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha and Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar hosted a royal banquet at the Istana Nurul Iman for His Majesty Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Mahrum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah and Her Majesty Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah.
Also present at the banquet were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Hajah Zariah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bokiah, Pengiran Bini Hajah Faizah, HRH Prince `Abdul `Azim, HRH Prince `Abdul Malik, HRH Prince `Abdul Mateen, HRH Princess Hajah Masna, HRH Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam and other members of the royal family.
In a return speech, His Majesty Yang Di-Pertuan Agong called for closer cooperation as Brunei and Malaysia has a vast potential to grow in spite of an 11 per cent increase in two-way trade last year. He called on both countries to jointly explore potentials in the halal food market and Islamic banking and investment sector.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said His Majesty Yang Di-Pertuan Agong`s visit will further strengthen the friendly relationship between Brunei and Malaysia.
He said the exchange of visits is a good culture that can become a stimulator for the government and society to continue to enhance cooperation and understanding.
"The relationship all this while between Brunei and Malaysia has brought us cooperation in various fields, especially in education, defence, trade, health and culture. In trade and investment, both countries have shown potential and success.
"This is the time for us to work together to grab trade and investment opportunities, not only regionally but also internationally," His Majesty said.
At a time when the world is facing challenges in the depletion of forest resources, environmental pollution and climate change, we are thankful that the two countries are still rich in various biological and green resources.
Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia recently launched the `Heart of Borneo` project that has received support from all over the world, as well from organisations such as UNESCO and World Wildlife Fund. His Majesty hoped that this initiative would become an example for other countries in efforts to nurture tropical forests.
His Majesty also said that the initiative would hopefully become a catalyst for tourism cooperation, including transpor-tation, immigration, marketing and investment.
His Majesty also congratulated Malaysia for its role in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Non-aligned Movement (NAM). The monarch also to congratulated the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia`s government and citizens for achieving 50 years of independence.
"Malaysia`s success is a good example for developing counties in this region, as well as for other Islamic countries," His Majesty said.
The monarch also conveyed his appreciation to some 17,000 Malaysians that are working in Brunei currently.
In his speech, Yang Di-Pertuan Agong said Malaysia and Brunei have had a close and intimate relationship for a very long time in the aspects of history, culture, language, religion and nationality.
In recent years, the increase in cooperation has been achieved in various areas. The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong said he was certain that this cooperation could be further strengthened into other new areas, which would be beneficial for the two countries.
"A good relationship in economy between Malaysia and Brunei has a vast potential to grow. In 2006, the amount of two-way trade exceeded RM1.54 billion, which is an eleven per cent increase from the previous year," he said.
The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong also welcomed Brunei to raise its investments in Malaysia. The Malaysian government also encourages Malaysian companies to invest in Brunei to assist in the country`s efforts to diverse its economy, he said.
He also encouraged cooperation in defence by organising various trainings from time to time. He congratulated His Majesty`s government for successfully organising a defence exhibition for the first time in Brunei.
At the international level, he said, both countries share the same stance in many matters, especially in global issues in various organisations participated by them like the United Nations, Asean, Organisation of Islamic Conference, Non-Aligned Movement, Commonwealth and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
"I hope the aspiration and spirit of cooperation to fight for freedom, justice and sovereignty of nations will be pursued more actively towards global peace and balanced development," he said.
The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong arrived yesterday and are here on a three-day visit. This is their first visit to Brunei since Tuanku Mizan was installed as the 13th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on April 26.
Source: www.brunei-online.com (5 Juli 2007)