Malaysia and Brunei to resolve issues in win-win situation

Jul 13, 2004 02:00 AM

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said that Malaysia and Brunei would be able to resolve some outstanding bilateral issues in a win-win situation.
Given the tremendous goodwill that existed between the two countries and between their top leaders, any bilateral issues still pending could be resolved in due course based on the principle of a win-win situation, Najib told during his visit in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei.

A dispute over an oil field found off the coast of Sabah is among issues discussed at a "four-eye" meeting between Najib and Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, in Bandar Seri Begawan.
"I raised the issue and the sultan responded by expressing the hope that the issue will be settled based on a win-win principle for Brunei and Malaysia," he said. He said that officials of both governments had been instructed to explore the details relating to the formula which can be employed to settle the matter.

The dispute arose after the Malaysian petroleum company, Petronas, discovered an oil field some 150 km off the coast of Sabah in 2002, which has an estimated recoverable reserve of up to 700 mm barrels. Not long after that, both countries hired prospectors to explore two nearby blocks.
Malaysia has long claimed the area as part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) while Brunei, in 2000, also claimed sovereignty over the blocks as part of its EEZ. Najib said the Sultan of Brunei was expected to touch on the issue when he would meet Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Malaysia in September for the annual consultative meeting between the two countries.

Asked about other pending issues between Malaysia and Brunei, Najib said: "Generally, his Majesty is happy with the state of affairs between our two nations. Of course there are other specific issues which will be taken up through the proposed meeting with the prime minister on a bilateral basis."
He said that creating a win-win situation would be a guiding principle for officials in discussing issues to be decided upon at the leaders' level of both countries.

The sultan also expressed his confidence that relations between the two countries could be strengthened through enhanced activities, particularly economic activities, investments, visits and greater interaction between the two countries, Najib said.
"I underscored the importance of Brunei in my speech yesterday that while we look at the world stage we shouldn't forget our neighbours. Although Brunei is a small nation, we consider the country a very important neighbour, our close friend and we respect Brunei as a sovereign nation," he added.

Asked to elaborate on economic cooperation between Malaysia and Brunei, Najib said the sultan mentioned several economic fields but mainly he wanted to see an increase in bilateral investments.
Brunei, an oil-rich nation on the north-western part of Borneo, is among the world's oldest monarchies. It has a total land area of 5,765 sq km and has a population of about 243,000 people ofwhich 74 % are Malays while the rest are Chinese and ethnic tribes like Dusuns, Muruts, Ibans and Kedayans. Although rich in oil resources, the sultanate is diversifying into industrialization, focusing on expanding its industrial base through small- and medium-scale enterprises.

Source: Xinhua News Agency
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