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Timor-Leste looks to Brunei for conservation, oil and gas experience

Timor-Leste is seeking to cooperate with Brunei Darussalam in forest conservation and the oil and gas sector, said the country’s president during his four-day state visit, which concluded recently.

In an interview with the Weekend Bulletin Timor-Leste President Dr Jose Ramos Horta said, “Brunei is an oil and gas producing exporting country with more experience on how to manage the revenue from oil and gas export.

“We are newer and have a very successful sovereignty fund from oil and gas export. I believe that in the energy sector, Brunei and Timor-Leste can team up.”

The Timor-Leste president also said Brunei is one of the best examples in the world for forest conservation.

“Seventy per cent of Brunei is still forested, so this is absolutely to be congratulated,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the president believes there are more areas they can expand and deepen cooperation, including education, agriculture and health.

The president also noted that the memorandum of understanding signed during his state visit was about workers’ mobility. “It is so that Timor-Leste workers can come to Brunei for employement in areas like hospitality. Many of these workers are non-skilled workers, so they will have the opportunity to learn and be more productive.

“This is just the beginning of the labour mobility programme, and I hope that the first batch of people from Timor-Leste will come soon and many more will follow in the years to come,” he said.

The president also hoped that the Sultanate will look to invest in their tourism sector. “In the future, I hope Brunei would invest in our tourism sector, like hotels. I believe that Brunei could benefit a lot by investing and owning hotels in Timor-Leste, as we need hotels for our tourism industry,” he said. – James Kon

ABOVE & BELOW: Timor-Leste President Dr Jose Ramos Horta during a visit to the Bukit Patoi Forest Recreational Park in Temburong District. PHOTO: RAFI ROSLI