BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Feb 13 — A proposal to establish a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) by air between Malaysia and Brunei will be among matters to be discussed during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s official maiden visit to Brunei beginning tomorrow.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Datuk Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah said the visit would also provide opportunities for both countries to discuss bilateral issues and cooperation as well as explore new cooperation post-Covid-19.

Also on the table are cooperation in the field of health diplomacy and promotion of closer economic cooperation, he said in a media press conference with Malaysian journalists here today.

He said during the visit, the prime minister will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Muhaini Zainal Abidin, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Ismail Sabri, who is scheduled to arrive in Bandar Seri Begawan at 8.20pm tomorrow, will be given an official welcoming ceremony by Brunei Crown Prince Pengiran Muda Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah, representing the government of Brunei Darussalam.

On Tuesday, Ismail Sabri and the Malaysian delegation are scheduled to have an audience with Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah before both leaders sit for a four-eyed meeting. The prime minister and his entourage will then be feted at an official luncheon.

Raja Reza said during the two-day visit, the Prime Minister is also scheduled to attend a tea event with the Malaysian diaspora in Brunei, which, taking into account the current Covid-19 situation, will be held with strict compliance of standard operating procedures enforced in the country.

He said there are almost 25,000 Malaysians living in Brunei, including students and professionals.

On trade between the two countries, he said last year, total trade between Malaysia and Brunei was RM8.03 billion, up 70.4 per cent from RM4.71 billion in 2020.

“Malaysia is the fourth largest trading partner for Brunei Darussalam,” he said, adding that Malaysia exports more goods to Brunei, including petroleum and food products.

Ismail Sabri’s official visit to Brunei is the first since he was appointed prime minister last August and it symbolises the government’s commitment to strengthening existing special ties between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Wisma Putra in a statement today said the visit will be conducted based on the standard operating procedures (SOP) that have been set by the Malaysian and Brunei governments. — Bernama