President Halimah makes first state visit, to Brunei

President and Sultan Bolkiah to witness signing of 2 agreements during her four-day visit

President Halimah Yacob will make a four-day state visit to Brunei from today, at the invitation of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

This is Madam Halimah's first overseas state visit. She will receive a ceremonial welcome at the Istana Nurul Iman and meet Sultan Bolkiah, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement yesterday.

She will be hosted to a state banquet, and will take a morning walk with Sultan Bolkiah, followed by breakfast in Bandar Seri Begawan during Brunei's weekly Bandarku Ceria, a car-free day event.

MFA said Madam Halimah will meet senior members of the Bruneian royal family and Cabinet, including Brunei Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah.

The President and Sultan Bolkiah will also witness the signing of two agreements: a memorandum of understanding to exchange information related to money laundering and terrorist financing, and a financial technology cooperation agreement.

MFA said Madam Halimah will visit the Defence Academy Royal Brunei Armed Forces, the University of Brunei Darussalam Botanical Research Centre and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers training in Brunei. She will also meet the Singaporean community in Brunei at a dinner reception.

STRENGTHENING TIES

I look forward to further strengthening ties with Bruneians, not just at the leadership level but also between the people of our two countries.

PRESIDENT HALIMAH YACOB

In a Facebook post last night, Madam Halimah said she is looking forward to visiting Brunei, a good friend of Singapore.

"I look forward to further strengthening ties with Bruneians, not just at the leadership level but also between the people of our two countries," she wrote.

Madam Halimah noted that she last visited Brunei in 2013 when she was Speaker of Parliament, and had met many Singaporeans working and living there.

The President will be accompanied by her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, Members of Parliament Desmond Choo, Lim Wee Kiak and Joan Pereira, as well as officials from the President's Office, MFA and Finance Ministry.

During her absence, Mr J. Y. Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, will exercise the function of the office of the President.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'President Halimah makes first state visit, to Brunei'. Print Edition | Subscribe