Brunei to resolve sea issues
Malaysia and Brunei have begun
the first tangible steps towards resolving their
overlapping maritime claims in the South China
The two countries have agreed to
conduct an exchange of letters ceremony soon
to resolve the dispute.
An exchange of letters is a form
of understanding between disputing parties to
move forward and decide some kind of mechanism
towards resolving any conflict.
The ceremony will be held in Bandar
Seri Begawan as soon as Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gets the Cabinet's
green light on the proposals to resolve the
Yesterday after his bilateral meeting
with the Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah,
Abdullah said both leaders had agreed that any
issue relating to territorial claims must be
“We felt that whatever we
have agreed on be included in the exchange of
letters which will be signed as soon as possible
in Bandar Seri Begawan. But we are also prepared
to host the event.
“However, I have already
informed the Sultan that any specific suggestions
on the matter will have to be tabled to the
Cabinet for consideration and approval,”
The dispute surfaced in 2003 when
Malaysia and Brunei awarded production-sharing
contracts to four overlapping deepwater exploration
blocks in the South China Sea, close to where
a 440 million-barrel discovery had been made
the year before.
Petronas awarded its two blocks
to US oil firm Murphy Oil while Brunei awarded
one of its blocks to France's Total, BHP Billiton
and Hess Corp and the other to Shell, Mitsubishi
and ConocoPhillips. Following the dispute, both
countries agreed to stop drilling activities
in the area.
The leaders yesterday also discussed
the free travel card (FTC) launched last year
to provide movement convenience for citizens
on both sides of the border.
“We hope to improve it even
more as it has benefited the people a lot,”
He said the Sultan expressed an
interest to invest in Malaysia, especially in
the development corridors.
“I hope the Sultan will consider
investing in Iskandar Malaysia,” he said,
adding that the Sultan would be given a special
briefing on the project and also taken on a
site tour today.
He added that both countries agreed
to increase economic cooperation and that the
Sultan expressed interest in cooperating in
trade and investment, especially in Sabah and