Four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are scheduled to be signed during His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s first ever state visit to Bangladesh, said Bangladesh High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Nahida Rahman Shumona in an interview with the Bulletin.
“People in Bangladesh have great interest in the Sultanate. Bangladesh, a country with the majority of its population being Muslims, admire Brunei’s beautiful mosques and its religious lifestyle. This is the reason why His Majesty is respected in Bangladesh and the state visit is a huge event,” the high commissioner added. The first MoU signing is an agreement for establishing and operating air services between and beyond the territories of the two countries. It is set up in recognising that efficient and competitive international services will enhance economic growth, trade, tourism, investment and the welfare of consumers.
It also acknowledges the importance of air transportation as a means of creating and fostering friendship, understanding and cooperation between the two countries and designing to facilitate the expansion of international air services opportunities.
Another MoU signing between the Government of His Majesty is to be represented by the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD), and the Government of Bangladesh, represented by the Department of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping.
This signing is on the recognition of certificate issued under the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers.
The MoU between the Government of His Majesty and the Government of Bangladesh will also cover the employment and recruitment of Bangladesh workers, taking into account cordial ties and existing cooperation between both countries in various fields.
This will include the strengthening of the existing ties and cooperation based on principles of mutual benefits, mutual respect, fairness and transparency and recognising the need to ensure rights and obligations of both workers and their employers are respected in accordance with the laws and regulations of both parties.
On the air services, it will help Bangladesh as currently the only route to go home or to come to the Sultanate is through Singapore, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, which is time consuming and costly.
On the cargo side, it will hasten the process of bringing in imported goods from Bangladesh directly to Brunei, especially agro-based produce such as fresh fish, as the usual period is between 24 to 72 hours.
The high commissioner also hopes to follow up with the signing of the agreement on direct sea connectivity from Bangladesh to Muara Port for the import of fertiliser from Brunei to Bangladesh to save costs and time through a direct sea connectivity.
“I personally feel that this visit will open up more areas of cooperation. We will work on more agreements and more memorandums. Agriculture is one area I think is promising.
“I believe there have been virtual meetings between agriculture departments of both countries. In a few months I will be able to bring in a high level delegation from Bangladesh,” the high commissioner said.
Education is another sector that the two countries have opportunities to cooperate in, especially technical education, medical science and nursing. Bangladesh also offers scholarships to Bruneians.
She shared that a Bangladeshi has composed an English song about Brunei upon hearing about His Majesty’s state visit, despite never having visited the country, which has been shared on social media.
“This shows how the people are looking forward to the occasion.”
A press release, issued in Bangladesh, stated that His Majesty will make a state visit to Bangladesh from October 15 to 17 at the invitation of President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
His Majesty will be received at the airport by the President of Bangladesh and will be accorded with a ceremonial Guard of Honour along with a 21 gun salute. The monarch will meet with President Md Abdul Hamid at the Bangabhaban, who will host a state banquet in His Majesty’s honour.
His Majesty will also hold official bilateral talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during which the two sides will review the entire gamut of the bilateral relations.
While cementing further the existing excellent bilateral relations between Brunei and Bangladesh, His Majesty’s visit will usher in a new chapter in bilateral relations, stated the press release.