KUALA LUMPUR: Trade between Malaysia and Brunei experienced a significant increase last year, which is proof of the growing cooperation between both countries, said Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.
He said between January and August alone, a total trade volume of RM2bil was recorded and this was a 31% jump, compared to the same period in 2012.
“In addition to that, Malaysian companies had been very active in the construction sector in Brunei comprising 11 main development projects with contracts totalling around US$600mil (RM2bil),” he said here yesterday in a closed-door meeting with top officials from the civil service of both countries.
Dr Ali led the Malaysian delegation while Permanent Secretary from the Brunei Prime Minister’s Department, Mohammad Abdoh Dato Seri Setia Abdul Salam, spearheaded the Brunei side.
He said Malaysia was appreciative of the role Brunei had played in the Malaysian economy, with its involvement in projects listed under the National Key Economic Area and the Economic Development Corridors, especially in the tourism, real estate, oil and gas, hospitality and halal product sectors.
Citing the example of Grand Hyatt Hotel where the meeting took place, he said Brunei invested US$234mil (RM780mil) in the hotel.
Dr Ali also pointed out that the recent opening of the 60m-long Friendship Bridge across Sungai Pandaruan bordering Brunei’s Temburong district and Sarawak’s Limbang district showed how strong the relations were.
He said with this bridge and the Pan-Borneo Highway, it would enhance the social and economic development between the northern Sarawak and southern Sabah regions, as well as Brunei and neighbouring Indonesia.
Later, Dr Ali said the discussions between the delegations would focus on the Malaysian Well-Being Index concept as the well-being of a nation depended on its economic progress and social development.
It was learnt that Brunei had shown interest in the Malaysian concept on improving the quality of the people’s lives.
He also expressed Malaysia’s hope to host the First Asean Meeting of the Chief Secretaries and Heads of Civil Service on the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Malaysia next year.