FINALLY the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or popularly known as Pak Lah has called it quits! Pak Lah will step down officially in March next year but his Deputy, Datuk Seri Najib is expected to take over as early as end of this month.
Thus, the premonition or rather the prediction that the spelling of the second name of Malaysia’s first Premier, Tunku Abdul Rahman i.e. RAHMAN which form the first initials of six succeeding prime ministers of our closest ASEAN neighbour-nation may just turn out or to be more precise has turned out to be true:
1. R for Tunku Abdul RAHMAN; 2. A for Tun ABDUL Razak; 3. H for Tun HUSSEIN Onn; 4. M for Tun MAHATHIR Mohamad; 5. A for soon-to-be Tun ABDULLAH Ahmad Badawi and last but not least, N for Datuk Seri NAJIB bin Tun Abdul Razak (who is the eldest son of Malaysia’s 2nd Premier).
The past few months since the last Malaysian 12th General Elections in March, the country has been embroiled with tumultuous political wrangling due to surprising stiffest challenges by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat parties of PAS, PKR and DAP led by controversial former Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI). DSAI is still fighting tooth and nail to clear his name of latest sodomy charges against him and to topple the current UMNO-led Barisan Nasional government. It has been quite interesting development in Malaysian politics which is beyond the understanding of outside observers like us.
However, to Bruneians, any change in leadership or transition of power in Malaysia should be followed with keen interest because it may directly affect bi-lateral relations between the two friendly nations. Most outstanding issues still yet to be mutually agreed on and resolved are territorial claims issues. During the last official visit by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the New Straits Times (NST) – a leading Malaysian newspaper – has reported as per extracted below:
Malaysia, Brunei agree on border solution
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and their officials arriving at the Pulai Spring Resort to attend the 12th annual leaders’ consultation between Brunei and Malaysia yesterday.
JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Brunei have agreed on a solution to determine their overlapping land and maritime borders.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who met Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, here yesterday, said the agreement would be formalised in an exchange of letters at a later date.
“The sultan and I had agreed that any overlapping claims of interest over the border should be settled in an amicable agreement in view of our countries’ good relations,” he said.
Abdullah said details of the overlapping border claims would be made known later.
The borders in question were those along the sultanate’s boundaries with Sarawak.
Abdullah said the agreed solution on the matter would be brought to the cabinet for further discussion before the exchange of letters, probably in Bandar Seri Begawan.
A joint statement on the agreement will be issued today before the sultan ends his visit here.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Abdullah are here for the two-day 12th annual leaders’ consultation between Brunei and Malaysia, held at the Pulai Spring Resort.
Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Minister Datuk Abdul Shahrir Samad.
On relations between the two countries, the prime minister said Malaysia and Brunei continued to enjoy close ties with various cooperation programmes on both sides of the border.
Citing the Frequent Travellers Card (FTC) launched last year as an example, he said the FTC had expedited travel between the two countries.
“The sultan had conveyed his wish for more cooperation programmes such as the FTC to be initiated and those already in place to be further improved.
“He also told me that Brunei was keen to take a more active part in economic cooperation with Malaysia, especially in Sarawak and Sabah.”
Abdullah said Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah had expressed a keen interest in the development corridors initiated by the government and was also here to have a closer look at the progress of Iskandar Malaysia.
“We are hopeful that the business community in Brunei will invest here after the sultan’s visit,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Abdullah was briefed on the progress of Iskandar Malaysia by Abdul Ghani and officials of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority.
“I am happy with what I heard and feel very confident that more investors will be interested to be part of the development corridor.”