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PM Wong thanks Brunei sultan for 40 years of diplomatic relations, commits to strengthen ‘special relationship’


KUALA LUMPUR: In his first overseas trip after taking office as Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (Jun 11) thanked Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah for his steadfast support of diplomatic relations over the last 40 years.

The two countries formally established diplomatic relations in 1984.

Mr Wong reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to continue strengthening the special relationship between the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement.

“Singapore and Brunei enjoy a special relationship, which predates the formal establishment of diplomatic ties between our two nations,” Mr Wong said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

He added that both countries have stood by each other “through good times and bad” over the last four decades.

“As two of the smallest countries in the region, we share similar perspectives across many strategic issues. I value the close links with Brunei and that’s why Brunei is my first stop in my introductory visits to Southeast Asian capitals,” said Mr Wong, who is also the Finance Minister.

Earlier in the day, Mr Wong, together with his wife Loo Tze Lui and the Singapore delegation, was hosted to a welcome ceremony at the Brunei International Airport by Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, a senior minister at Brunei’s Prime Minister’s Office, and his wife Sarah.

Mr Wong was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations Grace Fu, National Development Minister Desmond Lee and Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Minister of State for Communications and Information.


Prime Minister Lawrence Wong inspecting the Guard of Honour at Brunei International Airport on Jun 11, 2024. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)

The Singapore delegation had a royal audience with the sultan and his wife Queen Saleha at the Istana Nurul Iman, and was hosted to an official lunch by the Bruneian leader.

Mr Wong thanked the sultan for his longstanding support for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training in Brunei, and expressed his appreciation for the deep and multifaceted cooperation between both armed forces.

He also reaffirmed the significance of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement which has bolstered bilateral financial and economic cooperation since it was established on Jun 12, 1967.

Co-chair of the Singapore-Brunei Young Leaders’ Programme (YLP) with Crown Prince Billah, Mr Wong said that Singapore looks forward to welcoming him and his wife for the 10th edition of the programme later this year.

Both leaders also reaffirmed the importance of platforms like the YLP in deepening the close friendships between the younger leaders on both sides.

Mr Wong had also made an official visit to Brunei in January last year, a few months after becoming Deputy PM.

In January this year, Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam also chose Brunei as the destination of his first overseas state visit, saying it reflects the “special relationship” the two countries share.


Mr Wong travels to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Tuesday evening for his introductory visit to the country.

He will be hosted to lunch by his counterpart Anwar Ibrahim. Malaysia’s DPMs - Minister of Rural and Regional Development Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation Fadillah Yusof - will also make separate calls on Mr Wong.

In Malaysia, Mr Wong will be accompanied by his wife, Dr Balakrishnan and Ms Rahayu.

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