BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Malaysia and Brunei have agreed to continue negotiations and consultations to study and finalise the proposed Trans-Borneo Highway linking both countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the proposed project covers two phases, with phase one construction currently at 77 per cent while phase two will involve Brunei in two segments.

The Trans-Borneo Highway is a major road network system that connects Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia) and Brunei Darussalam.

Ismail Sabri said segment one is to upgrade and rebuild the five-kilometre alignment route from the Kuala Baram junction in Miri to the Sungai Tujoh Immigration, Customs and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Kuala Belit, Brunei, adding that works are expected to commence in 2023.

The second segment, meanwhile, is to construct new roads and also upgrade existing ones along a 74-kilometre stretch through Limbang and Lawas, the prime minister said at a media conference at the end of his official visit to Brunei.

Ismail Sabri said segment two was currently in the design and land acquisition process which is expected to be completed in 48 months.

“The implementation of these two projects will improve connectivity between Malaysia and Brunei. His Majesty the Sultan and I have agreed to continue negotiations and consultations to study and finalise these proposed projects,” Ismail Sabri, who earlier had a four-eye meeting with Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The prime minister said his discussions with the Sultan also agreed for the first meeting of the Joint Land Boundary Committee as agreed in 2011 at the senior official level be expedited.

He said over 11 years, only 87.27 kilometers out of 528.45 kilometers of land boundary or 17 per cent had been compiled and marked and of that, only 34.15 kilometers had been finalised.

“Both countries have agreed to sign an MoU for those areas that have been finalised. The Land Boundary Committee will next meet to finalise the remaining areas as soon as possible,” he said.

His discussion with the Sultan also touched on several regional issues, including the situation in Myanmar as well as matters concerning the South China Sea.

On Myanmar, the prime minister said from Malaysia and Brunei’s perspective, ASEAN needs to continue to play an effective role, adding that the full implementation of the Five-Point Consensus was very important and much needed.

On issues concerning the South China Sea, Ismail Sabri said the matter should continue to be managed peacefully and rationally through dialogue and negotiations, using appropriate forums and diplomatic channels as well based on the principles of international law.

Malaysia also stressed the importance of full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as a whole, and a preliminary conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), he said.

Ismail Sabri’s two-day visit to Brunei is the first after being appointed prime minister in August last year.

The prime minister, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Muhaini Zainal Abidin, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah and Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, departed for Kuala Lumpur at 6.17 pm. - Bernama

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