Remarks by President Halimah Yacob at Dinner Reception for Singaporeans in Brunei

Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat

Senior Minister of State Dr Maliki Osman

High Commissioner Lim Hong Huai

Members of Parliament Desmond Choo, Dr Lim Wee Kiat, and Joan Pereira

My fellow Singaporeans,


                   Good evening.  Thank you for taking time to attend this evening’s reception. I am happy to see so many Singaporeans present today. My husband and I are delighted to be here in Brunei on my first State Visit. We look forward to meeting all of you this evening.


2                 Relations between Singapore and Brunei are excellent. The two countries share a special relationship, founded upon the close personal ties of the founding fathers of the respective countries, the late Seri Begawan and Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Over the years, bilateral ties have been anchored by a deep sense of mutual respect and profound trust. I am glad that his Majesty also shared the same sentiments during the State Banquet last evening. The friendship between the two countries and peoples has also flourished. Through your time here, you would have personally experienced some of these unique bonds which are deeply rooted in historical significance.


3                 Today, Singapore and Brunei enjoy multi-faceted ties. For example, the two militaries continue to work very closely together. Yesterday, when I visited the Defence Academy Royal Brunei Armed Forces, I was struck by the spirit of mutual camaraderie between the two Armed Forces. Training in the Bruneian jungle continues to be a very valuable experience for our soldiers. This morning, I visited our SAF troops and witnessed them in action in the jungles of Temburong. That was probably as close as I will ever get to a military operation in the unique terrain of Temburong, but at least I can now say that I have a much better appreciation of the realistic training that our troops undergo. Temburong is an excellent training ground for our officers and NSmen. It helps build resilience and skills to develop themselves to be good soldiers.


4                 Singapore and Brunei have close cooperation in many other areas, including finance, education, security and health. The two countries also share strong linkages at many different levels.  Apart from the regular exchanges between the leaders and officials, Singaporeans and Bruneians have forged strong ties at the people-to-people level over the years, and all of you play an important role in this. I understand  that the Singapore Association has been active, not only in organising community events such as the Mooncake Festival celebrations, but also in charity outreach activities such as a breaking fast event for special needs children of the Pusar Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam. These acts of kindness are an embodiment of the Singapore Spirit, and we are proud of you  Through your interactions with the Bruneians, they get a sense of what Singapore is like and how much we value their friendship.


5                 I understand that the Singaporean community in Brunei is a small but close-knit group. I encourage you to maintain these strong networks and friendships, and keep each other updated on developments at home. With social media platforms, it is now so much easier to stay connected with your friends and loved ones in Singapore. From the turnout tonight, I can see that High Commissioner Lim and his colleagues have built up a strong Singaporean network in Brunei. I would like to thank the High Commission staff for their hard work in organising this visit, as well as their families for tolerating their long work hours over the last few weeks.


6                 In closing, let me thank all of you once again for attending this evening’s reception. Apart from the food, I hope the company will also remind you of home. I look forward to meeting and chatting with all of you later.


7                 I wish everyone a wonderful evening. Thank you.