Malaysia is keen to enhance cooperation with Brunei in the field of agriculture at the national level, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Noh Omar.
At the moment, agricultural cooperation with the sultanate involved mainly Sabah and Sarawak, the two Malaysian states on Borneo island, he said, adding that a memorandum of understanding on the matter was being planned.
“We at the federal level will seek to enhance the existing cooperation. We’ve agreed in principle to cooperate in a wider aspect in such sectors as fisheries, veterinary services and agriculture,” he said when met here.
The matter was among issues discussed at the 15th Malaysia-Brunei Annual Consultation attended by Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, at Nurul Iman Palace in Brunei on Monday.
Noh said Malaysia and Brunei also agreed to establish a joint working group so that officers of both sides could monitor the progress of any collaborative effort between both countries.
“We will study the memorandums to be signed, and set up the committee; we expect to get it going at the latest by next year,” he said.
Noh said that during the meeting with Brunei’s Industry and Primary Resources Minister Datuk Seri Setia Awang Yahya Begawan on Monday, they discussed among other things, the plight of traditional fishermen in Limbang, Lawas and Miri in Sarawak who were facing problems negotiating the sea boundaries there.
“Some of them don’t understand about maritime boundaries because they have been carrying out activities in the area for so long. For instance even when moving within the Sarawak waters, they will have to pass through Brunei waters,”
Among others he said, the ministry would appeal for some leeway for these fishermen. “We also hope that these fishermen are allowed time to understand the boundaries.’
Malaysia exported RM195 million worth of agricultural products to Brunei from January to May this year while import from Brunei during the period amounted to RM2 million.
Last year, export of such products to Brunei was RM495 million while import was RM2.3 million.