KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said Malaysia’s policies towards Brunei have not changed, but admitted that the two nations had several issues which needed to be ironed out.
The issues he said, concerned the development of the Pan-Borneo Highway and the previously disputed Limbang oil concession agreement, which the prime minister had discussed with Brunei monarch, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah.
Dr Mahathir is currently in Brunei on a state visit.
“Regarding the construction of Pan-Borneo Highway, that’s one. Regarding Limbang, and our concessions can work together to produce petrol in two blocks, which were given by Tun Abdullah to Brunei,” he said, referring to former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“This Pan-Borneo Highway should actually have progressed a lot, but I don’t know how the Sabah portion was left out, though I believe the money for this development was given to the Sabah government.
“We will investigate to see where this money went. However, progress has been made in the construction. Maybe they were just delayed a little, but our intention is to build this Pan-Borneo Highway. However our plan is that the road doesn’t enter into Brunei,” he said, when asked to elaborate more on the discussion about the Pan-Borneo Highway.
He said such a route would make travelling vexatious as it would make the roads complicated.
“There is a route to enter into Brunei, but we want to avoid (entering into Brunei), so we can just go straight,” he added.
In 2010, then Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman had in his parliamentary reply said that Brunei is the rightful owner of the two oil blocks off the Sabah coast: Block L and Block M.
However, he said Malaysia would still have its share of revenue produced from the oil and gas exploration activities there, Bernama reported him saying.
He reportedly said that revenue-sharing was possible through a ‘Commercial Arrangement’ agreed upon by leaders from the two countries in the ‘Letters of Exchange’ signed on March 16, 2009, Bernama reported.
There has been long-standing disputes between Malaysia and Brunei over the ownership of the two blocks for almost 10 years.