Brunei: MoU signing with Sarawak signals more economic, technical cooperation

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The recent signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on economic and technical cooperation between Sarawak government and Brunei government marks the starting point for mutual cooperation and a road map for more partnership possibilities.

It also opens up opportunities for both sides to collaborate in energy, particularly in hydro-electric power generation and transmission linkages, with an offer for Brunei to take up equity in the HEP project in Limbang or Lawas.

Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management and Minister of Public Utilities Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan welcomed the signing of the MoU that also covered telecommunications, transportation, tourism, halal hub, agriculture and fisheries.

“We have offered Brunei equity participation in the proposed HEP projects under Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE),” he said, adding that the signing of the MoU was a culmination of the series of meetings both sides had with each other.

During the 15th Annual Consultation on Monday between Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economy and technical cooperation between Brunei and Sarawak was signed by Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Orang Kaya Lim Jock Seng (Brunei side) and Awang Tengah (Sarawak side).

It was witnessed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Najib, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and top officials from their respective governments.

It also covered the agreement to construct the proposed Pandaruan Bridge to link Limbang and Brunei that is the final cog in the Pan Borneo Road. Expected to be completed by April 2013, the bridge is seen as a catalyst to boost trade, tourism and transportation under the BIMP-Eaga framework.

Awang Tengah also believes the MoUs will open up opportunities for cooperation in developing the ‘halal’ brand, with the sultanate becoming the hub for packaging and export, and Limbang and Lawas providing the raw materials for the industry.

“For example livestock, we can market and process it in Brunei using your halal certification, and there is great potential in development of fisheries and aquaculture,” he said at the signing ceremony.

Awang Tengah pointed out that Brunei could also source its electricity supply and water from Sarawak through the development of a dam in Limbang, besides Bakun, Murum and Baleh dams, noting that upgrading of transmission lines in Brunei to receive power from Miri has been outlined by technical committees following the signing of an earlier MoU.