Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim said his visit to the Sultanate was important to mark a two-way discussion between both friendly countries.
The Malaysian Prime Minister spoke in an interview with the Bulletin following his audience and luncheon with 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 yesterday.
“I was impressed and moved because His Majesty has repeatedly spoken as a personal and a family friend, and wants to increase cooperation to a higher level,” said Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Both leaders emphasised the need to not only continue bilateral relations but enhance them, with the monarch saying he is looking forward to working with the Malaysian Prime Minister as well as settle unresolved issues and speed up some processes and implementations.
“I think 70 to 80 per cent has been resolved but implementation takes time,” said Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He added that issues of investments both ways were also touched on, as well as matters on general bilateral relations that cover cultural, educational and religious issues that are common to both.
“I think that covers quite a bit, but more importantly, matters have been resolved – both foreign ministries and my predecessors have done their part.
“What comes to my mind is the special treatment between both countries, and we must enhance the level of cooperation.”
Asked on the potential opportunities for Malaysian investment in Brunei Darussalam, the Malaysian Premier said these include the oil and gas sector, tourism and also the food security industry.
He also noted some areas which are just being explored such as information technology and digital industries.
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim also touched on how the ‘Malaysia Madani’ concept can strengthen and deepen Malaysia’s relationship with foreign countries, including Brunei Darussalam.
He said that Madani stresses on the priority of the economy as a way of life but also emphasises the issue of kindness, the issue of mercy, the issue of humanity and of course includes what he highlighted as an effort to empower culture.
Hence, coming from a relatively similar culture, in the context of the understanding of the country or society, Madani certainly has an advantage there, he said.
“I was moved because His Majesty also mentioned the Madani concept,” he added.
In the interview, the Malaysian Prime Minister also shared his views on the relocation of the capital city of Indonesia to Kalimantan and he noted its close proximity to Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah.
“This is going to be a huge investment. Of course it is still a bit too early and premature to determine the extent but certainly it will propel growth in this region particularly in Kalimantan and it is up to Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah in particular to make full use of these new opportunities.
“I have given instructions to both Sabah and Sarawak to prioritise and determine areas they could collaborate on, probably the energy sector, and my task particularly in the Ministry of Finance is to provide enough support and allocation.”
In addition, he noted potential benefits for the Sultanate in terms of tourism but also because Brunei is a global hub due to the international flights from Brunei, and mentioned that there is a need to facilitate and expand the domestic flights into Sabah and Sarawak.