SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is visiting Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei from Thursday (Oct 5) to Saturday to attend the golden jubilee celebration for Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah.
The event marks the 50th year since Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah ascended the throne.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a press release that Mr Lee will have an audience with the sultan and attend the royal banquet on Friday.
“Prime Minister Lee’s attendance at the golden jubilee celebration underscores the excellent and long-standing special relationship between Singapore and Brunei,” PMO said.
Mr Lee previously attended the sultan’s silver jubilee celebration – marking the 25th year of his reign - in October 1992 as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry.
In a Facebook post on Thursday after arriving in Bandar Seri Begawan, Mr Lee said he was honoured to witness another milestone in the sultan's reign.
While in Brunei, Mr Lee will also meet the Singapore community in Bandar Seri Begawan and visit the Singapore Armed Forces training in Brunei, PMO said.
Mr Lee will be accompanied by Mrs Lee and officials from PMO and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During his absence, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be the Acting Prime Minister.
PRESIDENT HALIMAH, MR LEE WRITE TO CONGRATULATE SULTAN
PMO said both President Halimah Yacob and Mr Lee have also written to congratulate Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on his golden jubilee.
Mdm Halimah said Brunei had achieved “remarkable growth and success” under the sultan’s reign and noted that Singapore and Brunei share a “unique and special friendship built on close personal ties, mutual trust, and a common understanding of the challenges and insecurities of small countries”.
Mr Lee also said Bruneians had experienced “peace, prosperity and security” under the sultan’s reign, and highlighted the two countries’ “multi-faceted” bilateral relationship.
Their letters are reproduced in full below.
Mdm Halimah’s congratulatory letter:
On behalf of the people of Singapore, I would like to convey our heartfelt congratulations to Your Majesty on the historic and auspicious occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Your Majesty’s accession to the throne.
Brunei has achieved remarkable growth and success under Your Majesty’s visionary reign over the last five decades. Your Majesty led Brunei to independence in 1984 and, amidst challenges and uncertainties in the regional and global environment, built the peaceful and prosperous Brunei of today. Your Majesty’s wise rule has enabled generations of Bruneians to live in peace and harmony, and to pursue their aspirations and reach their full potential. This is an enduring legacy.
Singapore and Brunei share a unique and special friendship built on close personal ties, mutual trust, and a common understanding of the challenges and insecurities of small countries. Our two countries enjoy excellent collaboration in wide-ranging areas including finance and trade, and defence and security. It is Singapore’s honour to have hosted Your Majesty on four State Visits since Your Majesty acceded the throne in 1967. During Your Majesty’s most recent State Visit in July this year, Singapore and Brunei celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement. Our two countries also celebrated 40 years of defence cooperation in 2016. All these stand testament to the long-standing cooperation and level of trust between our two countries. With Your Majesty’s continued support, I am confident that Singapore and Brunei will continue to strengthen the firm foundation and special friendship between our two countries for many more decades to come.
I wish Your Majesty and Her Majesty the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha continued success, good health and happiness.
Mr Lee’s congratulatory letter:
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Singapore, I extend my warmest congratulations on the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Your Majesty’s Accession to the Throne.
Brunei has seen remarkable growth and development in the last 50 years. Bruneians have experienced peace, prosperity and security under Your Majesty’s benevolent reign. Singapore and Brunei have enjoyed a longstanding special friendship, founded on close friendships between our leaders, and sustained by our shared strategic outlook on many regional and international issues.
Our bilateral relationship is multi-faceted, with many collaborations on defence, where Your Majesty has provided steadfast support for our armed forces’ training in Temburong; on the economy, where Singaporean companies are supporting Brunei’s economic diversification; and in Government, where we have regular public sector exchanges. As small states with like-minded views, we also work closely in ASEAN to advance ASEAN unity and centrality.
Ho Ching and I fondly recall visiting Brunei in 1992 for Your Majesty’s Silver Jubilee celebrations. It was a majestic and memorable event. Twenty-five years on, we are deeply honoured to be invited to witness yet another historic milestone in Your Majesty’s reign and in Brunei’s history. We look forward to personally congratulating Your Majesty in Bandar Seri Begawan, and wish Your Majesty and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha continued success and good health.
LEE HSIEN LOONG