Brunei and Singapore deepen relations with scholarship and training programmes
Chin Foo Fang | The Straits Times
SINGAPORE. The Straits Times (4 August 2022) - High-performing Bruneians will study in Singapore and Brunei's civil servants will take up attachments with the public service here.
These two initiatives announced on Thursday (Aug 4) will promote exchanges between the two countries' young people and future leaders as well as deepen relations and mutual understanding between their civil services.
The scholarship programme is for studies here at the pre-tertiary level, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Brunei's civil servants will also be able to take up training programmes with the Singapore public service under the agreement, it added.
The Ministry of Education and Public Service Division will work with their Bruneian counterparts on the details of both initiatives.
The announcement was made during Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah's official visit to Singapore from Wednesday to Friday for the 8th Singapore-Brunei Young Leaders' Programme (YLP).
The Crown Prince, who is also Senior Minister at the Brunei Prime Minister's Office, is here at the invitation of Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.
The YLP, which the two countries take turns to host, is a key platform for young leaders from both sides to interact and build ties with one another. Launched in 2013, it was last held in Brunei in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted lunch at the Istana for the crown prince and the Bruneian delegation on Thursday.
Brunei Crown Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah meets PM Lee Hsien Loong at Istana on Aug 4, 2022. Source: Lee Hsien Loong (Facebook)
He said in a Facebook post: "Our two countries share a unique and special relationship and cooperate in many areas.
"I visited Brunei three weeks ago for His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's 76th birthday, and am delighted to meet Crown Prince Billah again so soon after. These regular exchanges reflect and reinforce our strong interpersonal ties."
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Teo and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong took Crown Prince Billah and his family on a tour at River Wonders.
Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah and family on tour at River Wonders. Source: Teo Chee Hean (Facebook)
The two Singapore leaders both posted on Facebook about the outing.
Mr Wong said "everyone loved feeding the capybaras, and watching the antics of Kai Kai, Jia Jia and Le Le", referring to the pandas.
Mr Teo said the Crown Prince's children had "a great time watching the animal shows, interacting with the animals and learning about wildlife protection and education".
Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah and family on tour at River Wonders. Source: Lawrence Wong (Facebook)
The 8th YLP has been a fruitful and successful one, said MFA, adding that the younger generation of leaders on both sides had the opportunity to strengthen personal ties.
It added: "They also reaffirmed the close and special relationship between Singapore and Brunei. Both sides exchanged ideas on ways to harness the YLP to further expand bilateral cooperation."
At the last YLP in 2019, Crown Prince Billah and Mr Teo had announced the formation of a Singapore-Brunei joint working group for agri-food collaboration. The group facilitates collaboration between the two countries' public and private entities in areas such as investment facilitation, R&D collaboration, quality assurance and capacity building.
In June this year, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong met Brunei's Minister of Finance and Economy II Amin Liew Abdullah here to renew their commitment for the joint working group. They also discussed further bilateral cooperation on the digital economy, climate change and sustainability.
The 9th YLP will be held in Brunei in 2023.
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