Timor Leste visitors tour Brunei sights

, National 3 minutes, 5 seconds


TIMOR Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao explored Brunei’s oil and gas as well as tourism industries yesterday as he continued his official visit in the nation.

The leader of the former Portugese colony and his entourage headed for the Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK) in Belait District in the morning, where they were briefed on the park’s latest progress towards becoming a globally competitive petrochemical and industrial hub.

Energy Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar said their objective is to maximise economic spin-off from the industry.

He added that Brunei is producing around 400,000 barrels of oil daily with a target of increasing production to 650,000 barrels of oil daily by 2035. They are also working towards achieving a downstream economic output from $300 million to $5 billion.

The sultanate’s downstream industries are currently focused on liquefied natural gas, methanol and refinery.

However, YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin explained they plan to diversify into other downstream industries in the future, such as export refinery and petrochemical plant, ammonia and urea as well as methanol derivatives.

The visiting delegation from Timor Leste said they hoped to learn from Brunei’s experience as it develops its own oil and gas industry.

Afterwards, Prime Minister Gusmao, who is also the Defence Minister of Timor Leste, and his entourage visited Kg Ayer, a scenic water village and popular tourist attraction in the heart of the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.

They were greeted by Home Affairs Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Othman before embarking on a river cruise along the Brunei River.

Prime Minister Gusmao made his first stop at the cultural and tourism gallery, where he took a closer look at the history of the water village and its products as well as the traditional manufacturing method of weaving of Kain Tenunan. He also enjoyed a hands-on experience with some of the traditional games which was demonstrated at the gallery.

Prime Minister Gusmao’s charismatic character brought smiles to some villagers from Mukim Peramu when he visited the residence of Damit Omar, whose house was selected for the Kg Ayer Upgrade Pilot Project.

During their brief visit, they were served with traditional cakes and entertained with the playing of traditional musical instruments performed by the village youth.

The Timor Leste leader then met with the Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong, at The Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Meanwhile, the ministers of education from both countries also held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the visit.

Brunei’s Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong and Timor Leste’s Bendito Freitas shared their views, experiences and best practices on education during the meeting.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Abu Bakar gave an overview of the flagship National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21).

The ministers further discussed matters such as the School Leadership Programme (SLP) conducted by Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) for school leaders, teachers’ development and training programmes, technical and vocational education, student exchange, scholarships and higher institution linkages.

Brunei’s minister also shared the initiative undertaken by the government in revamping its technical and vocational education landscape, whilst highlighting the key components of SPN21.

Freitas is accompanying Prime Minister Gusmao on a three-day official visit, alongside Senior Minister and Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Dr Jose Luis Guterres, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Alfredo Pires, and Secretary of State for Promotion of Equality, Idelta Rodrigues.

The Brunei Times