Lauds special ties between Brunei and the city-state
Bandar Seri Begawan - Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives today in Brunei Darussalam for a three-day visit at the invitation of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
This follows recent high-level visits from Brunei, including the visits by His Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office to Singapore earlier this year, a press release from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Brunei and Singapore enjoy excellent relations. Prime Minister Lee and His Majesty will discuss how to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation further. Discussions are also expected to cover regional and international developments, particularly developments in Asean.
Prime Minister Lee and His Majesty will also commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement.
During the course of the visit, Prime Minister Lee will also meet senior members of the Bruneian royal family and Cabinet, including His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince. "
Prime Minister Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee; Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu; Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports and Senior Minister of State for Defence Chan Chun Sing; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and for Manpower Hawazi Daipi; Members of Parliament Associate Professor Fatimah Abdul Lateef and Mr Desmond Lee; and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
In a special op-ed written by the prime minister himself, which appears in Page 12, he touches on the historic relations between Brunei and Singapore dating back to 1960 when Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Al-Marhum Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan met when Singapore's Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Mr Yusof Ishak, visited Brunei.
Two of the smallest states in Southeast Asia faced similar strategic challenges.
"Both leaders were focussed on securing their countries' futures in a tumultuous and dangerous region. Both negotiated to join Malaysia. In the end, Singapore joined the new federation while Brunei did not, but in the process the two leaders got to know each other well, and nurtured an enduring friendship between our two countries," Prime Minister Lee wrote.
The Singapore premier will be here to "explore new opportunities for cooperation" and education will be one among them as Prime Minister Lee sees "we can do much more in education".
Prime Minister Lee feels that by enhancing our education links and promoting exchanges between our youth, "we will lay the basis for strong relations into the next generation".
Part of the Singapore premier's itinerary here will be a visit to Universiti Brunei Darussalam and interacting with the students.
Prime Minister Lee hailed Brunei's Chairmanship in 2013 Asean Summit. "Brunei practises a low-key but effective diplomacy, working quietly behind the scenes to foster Asean consensus" and added that Singapore would extend its fullest support to Brunei.
The Singapore prime minister also hailed another longstanding arrangement between Singapore and Brunei - the Currency Interchangeability Agreement (CIA).
"The CIA has made it convenient for Singaporeans and Bruneians to travel between our two countries, and facilitated trade, investment and tourism. The CIA reflects the longstanding friendship and mutual trust that our countries share. This year marks its 45th anniversary, evidence of its continuing relevance and value," he said.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin