SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah discussed ways to grow bilateral collaboration during a meeting in Brunei on Saturday (Jul 16), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Sunday.
This includes building close personal ties between the next generation of leaders of Singapore and Brunei.
Mr Lee and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah met over breakfast and a morning walk. Brunei’s Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah also attended the meeting.
Mr Lee and Madam Ho Ching were in Brunei from Thursday to Saturday to attend the sultan’s 76th birthday celebrations.
“Prime Minister Lee conveyed birthday greetings from Singapore and reaffirmed the special and unique relationship between Singapore and Brunei,” MFA said in a statement.
“Prime Minister Lee and His Majesty discussed ways to grow bilateral collaboration, including fostering close personal ties between the next generation of leaders.”
Later on Saturday, Mr Lee had a lunch meeting with several Bruneian ministers – Minister of Health Isham Jaafar, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Amin Liew Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs II Erywan Yusof, Minister of Home Affairs Ahmaddin Rahman, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Manaf Metussin and Minister of Education Romaizah Salleh.
During the meeting, Mr Lee “discussed ways to expand cooperation between both countries across various sectors”, MFA said.
During their visit, Mr Lee and Mdm Ho received awards from the sultan.
Mr Lee received The Most Esteemed Family Order (Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama). The order is awarded to members of royalty, foreign rulers and individuals who have rendered important services to the sultan of Brunei.
Previous recipients of the order include Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Mdm Ho received The Most Distinguished Order of Paduka Seri Laila Jasa (Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa) – First Class. This order is awarded to individuals for outstanding service to the sultan and the state.
Mr Lee also visited Singapore Armed Forces troops in Temburong during his trip.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Mr Lee said that he had returned home after “a short but memorable” visit to Brunei.
“Had an eventful day yesterday. Met His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah for a morning walk and breakfast, followed by lunch with Bruneian Ministers,” he said.
“In the evening, I was deeply honoured to receive The Most Esteemed Family Order from His Majesty during a formal banquet.
“Singapore and Brunei have deep and multi-faceted ties, anchored by a mutual trust developed over many decades. May our partnership continue to strengthen in the coming years.”