Sultan lauds closer ties with Indonesia
By Azaraimy HH in Jakarta
Photo by Information Department



His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam called on Brunei and Indonesia to encourage the involvement of youths in the bilateral relationship between the two nations, including cultural exchange and education visits.

His Majesty delivered a titah during a State Banquet at Istana Negara in Jakarta last night, in conjunction with His Majesty's three-day State Visit to Indonesia on the invitation of Indonesian President Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

His Majesty said youths are the nation's most valuable assets.

His Majesty, accompanied by Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, arrived in Jakarta yesterday.

Also accompanying Their Majesties are His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Malik, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Muta-Wakkilah Hayatul Bolkiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hafizah Sururul Bulqiah, Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam and YAM Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Haji Idris bin Pengiran Maharaja Lela Pengiran Muda Abdul Kahar.

During the State Banquet, the royalty were treated to a cultural dance performance, which showed the diversity of the Indonesian culture.

His Majesty in this titah said, youths have to be given a clear direction so that they can understand and be aware of the importance of their roles and contributions for the nation and the people's development.

His Majesty highlighted several bilateral relationships between Brunei and Indonesia.

His Majesty said for more than 20 years Brunei and Indonesia have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder in developing bilateral relationships. This relationship is not only based on language and cultural ties, but also has strong and cordial personal relationships between the people of the two nations, His Majesty added.

The monarch expressed his satisfaction on the close cooperation between the two nations in various fields including trade, investment, culture, education and defence.

As for bilateral trade, there is improvement every year, His Majesty said, adding that this should be improved even further as he believed that there are much more opportunities left to be explored by entrepreneurs from both nations to further increase the bilateral trade between the two countries.

In the area of culture, His Majesty said, "We have taken a step towards enhancing the cooperation. The MoU signed earlier this afternoon hopes to provide an impetus to bilateral activities. I hope activities that will be organised would stress on the involvement of youths."

He said the participation of Indonesian youths in competitions organised by Brunei such as Asean Youth Football Championship and Southeast Asian Youth Al-Quran Reading Competition are examples of the involvement and cooperation that could provide a room for interaction and exchange of experiences for the youths.

His Majesty also said that Indonesia has expertise and experience in technical and vocational education, and His Majesty hoped that the bilateral relationship in this field will continue to be encouraged and improved.

In the defence, the current cooperation includes bilateral cooperation and exchanges. His Majesty said, the bilateral defence cooperation and exchanges enable military personnel to gain knowledge and experience that can increase the level of expertise that is needed in facing the current challenges.

His Majesty also noted the political stability of Indonesia and its economic growth that reached 6.2 per cent last year.

His Majesty said, without peace and political stability, there would be no economic growth, and without economic growth the sovereignty of the nation could be in danger. In the current challenging and uncertain global economy, bilateral cooperation between Brunei and Indonesia and among all Asean countries is most important.

"Therefore, it is the policy of Brunei Darussalam to maintain the peace and to increase the prosperity that has become the basis of stability in the region," His Majesty said.

His Majesty also touched on the issues of environment and said environmental issues do not know boundaries. His Majesty congratulated Indonesia for successfully hosting the Bali Conference on Climate Change last year.

The 'Heart of Borneo' Declaration, signed last year, is important not only for the current generation but also for the future generation, the monarch added.

His Majesty was also relieved to learn that the large part of humanitarian assistance in redeveloping Yogyakarta and Aceh from the devastating natural disaster several years ago has been fulfilled, whilst there are some parts that are still in the process of implementation.

His Majesty also acknowledged the 39,000 Indonesian workers working in Brunei, who His Majesty said have helped in the economic development of Brunei.

The Indonesian President in his remarks meanwhile highlighted the strong relationship between the two countries. He noted that the personal relationship between His Majesty and him has grown closer and that they both on occasions have always discussed on the strengthening of cooperation between both countries.

This cooperation he said does not only develop in the bilateral context but also through different regional and international forum.

Touching on the MoU that was signed, the Indonesian President said that they have agreed to improve economic relations especially in the field of business and investments. He further welcomed investment in the agro business and industries in Indonesia.

Also on the Heart of Borneo, President Yudhoyono said that both countries are committed on the issue of global climate change and towards preservation of the tropical rain forests of Borneo.

Earlier, His Majesty held a bilateral meeting with the Indonesian President.

At the meeting, both leaders underlined the increasing warm and friendly relations between the two countries.

Trade between Indonesia and Brunei has seen a steady increase over the years, with a total trade of US$1.9 billion in 2007 up from US$1.6 billion in the previous year, according to Indonesian figures. Indonesian export to Brunei was US$43.3 million and Brunei export to Indonesia US$1.6 billion.

In a joint press statement released after the meeting, the two leaders welcomed the encouraging progress in economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the progress made on bilateral defence cooperation, including areas of procurement, exchanges of intelligence, exchanges of information and other defence cooperation.

On energy security, the two leaders held discussions on the need to work closer to promote their common interests.

After the bilateral meeting, both His Majesty and President Yudhoyono proceeded to the Credential Hall to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cultural Cooperation between the two countries.

Signing on behalf of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Maj Gen (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Awang Hj Mohammad bin Hj Daud, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. Signing on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia was Ir. Jero Wacik SE, Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Republic of Indonesia. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd April 2008)