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HomesingaporepoliticsPM Lee hosts visiting Prince Mateen to lunch, reaffirms special ties between...

PM Lee hosts visiting Prince Mateen to lunch, reaffirms special ties between S’pore and Brunei

SINGAPORE – Brunei and Singapore enjoy ties that are multifaceted and special, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said as he hosted visiting Brunei Prince Abdul Mateen to lunch on Wednesday.

Working together with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – who is Prince Mateen’s father – both nations have stood shoulder to shoulder through various crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, PM Lee said a key pillar of the partnership between both nations is defence. In March, Sultan Bolkiah attended the commissioning ceremony of the first of two Fearless-class patrol vessels, which the Singapore navy will transfer to the Royal Brunei Navy, he added.

PM Lee said: “We are also very grateful to Brunei for allowing Singapore Armed Forces personnel to train there. Many Singaporean soldiers have indelible memories of their jungle training in Temburong.”

Singapore and Brunei, he added, are the two smallest South-east Asian nations. He said: “Given the uncertainty and volatility in the world today, we must continue to work closely together on shared challenges and help keep Asean a cohesive and effective organisation.

“I am confident that the next generation of leaders on both sides will take our relationship forward.”

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Prince Mateen, 32, is visiting Singapore as a Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow from Monday until Thursday. On Wednesday, he visited ITE College Central with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Maliki Osman, who is also Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Dr Maliki said he and Prince Mateen discussed likely areas of collaboration between Singapore and Brunei in technical and vocational education training, among other things.

The prince also joined Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong for breakfast, and was hosted to dinner by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

The Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow programme was set up in 1991 to invite outstanding people from around the world for high-level visits to Singapore. Prince Mateen is the 75th fellow and the sixth from Brunei to take part in the programme.

The fellows are chosen on the strength of their track records and extraordinary potential to contribute to their nations and bilateral relations with Singapore.

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