Brunei Sultan moots greater ties with S'pore

Brunei Sultan moots greater ties with S'pore
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam (C) and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha (2nd R), His Royal Highness Prince Hj ‘Abdul Malik (R) and Her Royal Highness Princess Hjh Masna (L), Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade together with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (3rd L) and spouse (2nd L) pose for a photo in Singapore.

The achievements of Singapore and its people have served to inspire Brunei as the sultanate pursues its own development plan and development vision, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said.

The monarch, in his titah at the state banquet hosted by Singapore's President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana (Presidential Palace), spoke highly of the bilateral relations shared between the countries.

Looking back to the beginning of Brunei-Singapore ties, His Majesty reminisced that the relationship between the two countries started when His Majesty's late father met Lee Kuan Yew in Brunei 54 years ago.

"Our bilateral relations have continued to flourish over the years. Trade between our two countries has progressed steadily and we appreciate the valuable contribution of Singaporean citizens and companies in Brunei's development efforts," said His Majesty.

"Our countries' respective currencies have been customary tender in each other's countries for more than 45 years. This arrangement has facilitated trade, tourism and investment, thus benefitting our people."

President Tony Tan also touched on the Currency Interchangeability Agreement which will be continued. He shared that Singapore looks forward to commemorate the agreement's 50th anniversary in 2017 by having a special joint stamp and artefact exhibition shelf in 2016/2017. This will also hold a special significance as it will commemorate the Golden Jubilee of His Majesty's reign.

In his titah, His Majesty said he was pleased that officials from both countries have agreed to work even closer together in the area of finance. "We certainly welcome the benefits of your knowledge in developing our financial markets," said His Majesty.

In his titah, the monarch also mentioned that "in terms of the way forward, I suggest our governments develop a future generation programme to further cultivate greater friendship and appreciation between the people of both countries, particularly our youth."

His Majesty said, "I therefore encourage more exchanges amongst our students, teachers, higher education institutions and think tanks."

His Majesty's call was supported by President Tony Tan that Singapore will host a new youth programme - Singapore-Brunei Youth Leadership Exchange Programme - for the benefit of youth from both countries.

"This evening, I am delighted to announce that the inaugural run of the Singapore-Brunei Youth Leadership Exchange Programme will be taking place in the second half of this year," the president said. "Singapore is pleased to host the programme's first run, which will bring together youth leaders from both our countries, who are between the ages of 19 and 35. I am confident that the personal ties fostered through this programme will strengthen our relations even further."

The state banquet was hosted by President Tony Tan and spouse in honour of His Majesty and Her Majesty's state visit to Singapore.

The previous state visits of His Majesty were in 1990 and 2003.

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