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Malaysia, Brunei renew commitment to cooperation

By NNN-Bernama,

Bandar Seri Begawan : Malaysia and Brunei on Wednesday renewed their commitment to further strengthen close bilateral relations and cooperation, including in trade and investment.

Following a four-eyed meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei at the 13th annual consultation here, Malaysia applauded Brunei’s proposal to establish joint committees to facilitate and create a conducive environment towards promoting cooperation.

“Both leaders expressed pleasure in Brunei’s interest to participate in the economic corridors in Malaysia and recognised the potential for increased cooperation between both countries, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, in such areas as agriculture, halal products and palm oil production,” said a joint statement issued to Malaysian journalists at the conclusion of the closed-door annual meeting at the Istana Nurul Iman, here.

The annual consultation also saw the signing of an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) to facilitate greater bilateral economic collaboration, including in energy-related activities.

Under the treaty, the maximum rates of withholding tax are 10 per cent respectively on dividends, individual or company, royalties and fees for technical services.

The two leaders also underscored the significance of continuing cooperation in the transportation sector to further promote trade and investment linkages as well as tourism between both countries, including in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

In expressing satisfaction with current efforts to promote tourism, particularly between Brunei and Sabah as well as Brunei and Sarawak, they welcomed the recent code-share agreement between Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) and Malaysia Airlines, which underlies their commitment towards tourism development between the peoples of the two countries.

The joint statement also said that Najib and the sultan reiterated the significance of the Exchange of Letters, signed on March 16 last year, over overlapping maritime and land border issues, which marked a historic occasion for Brunei and Malaysia.

“Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together towards the expeditious implementation of elements agreed in the document,” it said, adding that the signing served as a testament to the strong ties between the two countries in elevating existing friendship and cooperation to a strategic partnership.

The meeting, which discussed a broad range of regional and international issues of mutual concern, reaffirmed the need to work closely in dressing the current global economic crisis and pandemic diseases, including the Influenza A(H1N1).

In commending the close partnership between the two countries in promoting peace, security and prosperity in the regional and international arena, the leaders expressed their satisfaction on the outcome of the consultation and believed that such a mechanism strengthened bilateral relations and cooperation.

The Malaysian delegation, led by Najib included International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat, Information Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman also attended the meeting.

The next annual consultation, the 14th, is scheduled to take place in Malaysia next year.