Brunei Says Limbang Issues Were Never Discussed

Here is a report from The Straits Times, Singapore on the Limbang territorial claim by Brunei.

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei has denied claims that the sultanate and Malaysia had resolved their territorial dispute over Limbang in Sarawak.

Brunei’s Second Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, on Tuesday set the record straight by denying there was any discussion on Limbang during talks on Monday between Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Borneo Bulletin reported yesterday.

“In actual fact, the claim on Limbang was never discussed. What was discussed was the demarcation of land boundaries on the whole,” Lim said in response to a question at the Legislative Council session.

He said a joint press statement issued on Tuesday mentioned that the demarcation of the land boundaries would be resolved on the basis of five existing historical agreements between Brunei and Sarawak.

“After that, a working group comprising general surveyors of the two countries will follow with the technical aspect to solve the land border issue.”

Malaysian media had widely reported Abdullah as saying that Brunei had dropped its claim on Limbang. The Limbang dispute can be traced back to the cession of the territory by Brunei to Sarawak’s White Rajahs in 1890. The cession had been strongly disputed by the sultanate, which regarded the transfer as annexation by Sarawak.

The move had resulted in a significant reduction of Brunei’s territory and cut the sultanate into two.

Brunei Drops Territorial Claim On Limbang

brunei-limbangBrunei has dropped its territorial claim on Limbang, the area sandwiched between the sultanate’s two halves (see map), putting to rest the long drawn out dispute between the two friendly countries. James Brooke, the first white Rajah of Sarawak, annexed the area where the town of Limbang located and the whole area in between the two halves, in 1890, making it the fifth division of Sarawak.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, signed a pact yesterday to resolve the claim.

As you can see in the map, Brunei is quite unique in that the people in one half of the country going to the other half will have to cross areas in Limbang district, or else, they will have to make a huge round to circumvent the Malaysian territory.

Here are the various perspective of the news about Brunei dropping its century-old claim.

SO, IS THE Sultan of Sulu going to drop its untenable claim on Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo Island?

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Is Fourth Richest King In The World

Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, is the world’s fourth richest royal with a net worth of US$20 billion (RM66 billion), according to Forbes Magazines.

Brunei, a tiny sultanate sandwiched between Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island, has a population of about 400,000 people.

Forbes says the sultan’s wealth is based on oil and gas reserves, “…but with oil fields set to dry up in 10 years, production has been cut. He is currently battling with brother Prince Jefri over allegedly misappropriated assets; an arrest warrant was issued for Prince Jefri this summer when he reportedly failed to appear in a U.K. court to address charges.”

He was crowned 40 years ago and is Brunei’s 29th sultan in an unbroken 600-year-old Muslim dynasty and rules concurrently as its prime minister, defense minister, finance minister and head of religion. [Source]

The Top 10 richest royals are:

#01. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Age 80) (Thailand) (US$35 billion)

#02. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 60 (United Arab Emirates) (US$23 billion)

#03. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, 84 (Saudi Arabia) (US$21 billion)

#04. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, 62 (Brunei) (US$20 billion)

#05. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 58 (Dubai) (US$18 billion)

#06. Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein, 63 (Liechtenstein) (US$5 billion)

#07. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, 56 (Qatar) (US$2 billion)

#08. King Mohammed VI, 46 (Morocco) (US$1.5 billion)

#09. Prince Albert II, 50 (Monaco) (US$1.4 billion)

#10. Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 67 (Oman) (US$1.1 billion)

There you go. Brunei Boleh, Borneo Boleh!

By the way, do you know that the word Borneo originated from the word Brunei, which itself is the name of a tree, Bruni? More in this later…

Borneo Prince On The Run In UK In Alleged £3 Billion Embezzlement Case

Prince Jefri, the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, is on the run rather than face jail for refusing to hand over over £3 billion (RM15.1 billion) of assets to the Sultanate.

Reports said the flamboyant prince was issued with a warrant of arrest by a British judge on June 11 for failing to turn up for a five-day hearing for contempt of court.

The Times reported that:

Prince JefriPrince Jefri, who denied any wrongdoing and said he had authority to use state funds, took his case to the Privy Council in London last year but lost.

Brunei sources say that he has since surrendered a few diamonds but held on to other assets. Brunei has adopted a hard line, applying to the High Court in London to commit the Prince to prison for contempt of court.

Friends of Prince Jefri are shocked at what they see as the harshness of the Sultan in attempting to get his youngest brother locked up.

But legal sources have always emphasised that these actions were being taken by the nation’s investment vehicle rather than the Sultan. [...]

The Prince’s friends said that Brunei’s attempt to get him jailed was “purely vindictive”, serving no purpose “other than to extract punitive revenge on your brother”.