Friday, August 25, 2006

Trans-Borneo highway may reach Kalimantan

By Rosli Zakaria and Sean Augustin

KEMAMAN: The Trans-Borneo highway linking Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah may be extended to the borders of Kalimantan.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the highway would foster closer relations between the people of Brunei and Malaysia.

"Extending the highway to Kalimantan will bring about more development in the hinterland." he said.

Plans for the project should be drawn up immediately, he added.

The Trans-Borneo highway was one of the topics discussed by Abdullah and Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah during an hour-long meeting.

The talks were the highlight of the two-day annual consultative meeting between Malaysia and Brunei.

The two leaders also discussed the feasibility of doing away with passport requirements for people of Sabah travelling to Brunei.

At present, this privilege is enjoyed only by the people of Sarawak.

On the outstanding dispute over an oil field off the coast of Sabah, Abdullah said the matter was under discussion.

Officials from both Governments have been instructed to work on a formula to settle the matter.

The dispute arose after Petronas discovered an oil field some 150km off the coast of Sabah in 2002, which has an estimated recoverable reserve of up to 700 million barrels.

Malaysia has long claimed the area as part of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) while Brunei, in 2000, also claimed sovereignty over the blocks as part of its EEZ.

Abdullah also said Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah had agreed to an exchange programme allowing officers from Brunei to observe the implementation of projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Courtesy of New Straits Times

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