Strongly condemning the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged everyone to be vocal against terrorists.
Terrorists are terrorists. They have no religion, caste and state. So, all will have to be vocal against them,” she said.
The PM was addressing a reception accorded to her by the Bangladeshi community in Brunei at the Empire Hotel and Country Club here on Sunday.
Hasina, who arrived in Brunei on Sunday on a three-day visit, said there would be no room for any terrorist, militant, corrupt or drug addict in Bangladesh.
She said Bangladesh has not only announced “zero tolerance” policy against such terrorism and militancy, but also took actions immediately by keeping its intelligence agencies on alert.
Meanwhile, the PM yesterday proposed formation of a regional economic forum with five OIC member states from the South and Southeast Asian region, including Bangladesh and Brunei.
Hasina made the proposal during talks with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the latter’s official residence Istana Nurul Iman.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said the members of the proposed regional economic forum would be Bangladesh and the Maldives from South Asia and Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei from Southeast Asia.
The Brunei Sultan assured that he would “favourably consider” the matter, the foreign secretary said.
Shahidul said bilateral and international issues, including the Rohingya crisis, came up for discussions at the meeting.
He said the PM made some proposals for further strengthening the bilateral ties and cooperation between Bangladesh and Brunei.
Hasina proposed increasing interactions between the business communities of the two countries and conducting a feasibility study for a preferential trade arrangement to this end.
She also proposed holding discussions on setting up a joint commission between the two countries.
Hasina put emphasis on increasing cooperation in the fields of jute and jute goods, software, agro products, ceramic and tableware, shipbuilding industry and tourism.
She said the Bangladesh government was setting up industrial parks and the entrepreneurs of Brunei could invest there.
The PM stressed the need for avoiding double taxation, as well as mutual promotion and protection of investment.
She said a bigger collaboration between the two countries could be made in recruiting health professionals.
Both the PM and the Sultan said direct air-link between Bangladesh and Brunei should be established.
Hasina proposed boosting military cooperation in non-weapon-related areas. In this connection, the Sultan highly praised Bangladeshi peacekeepers for maintaining peace in some trouble-hit areas in the world.
Hassanal Bolkiah greeted Hasina on her party’s landslide victory in the December 30 general election.
“It is the verdict of people, and the victory is the recognition of socioeconomic development that Bangladesh has achieved under the prime minister’s leadership,” Shahidul quoted the Sultan as saying.
The Sultan said there were huge potentials of boosting trade and commerce between the two countries.
He said Brunei and Bangladesh could cooperate in different sectors like energy, food, people-to-people contact and connectivity.
About the Rohingya issue, the Sultan put emphasis on reaching a “just and permanent solution” to the crisis.
Hasina sought Asean’s bigger involvement and the Sultan’s cooperation in this regard.
The Sultan assured that Brunei would continue to help strengthen cooperation between Bangladesh and the regional forum.
The PM invited the Sultan and his wife to visit Bangladesh.
On her arrival at the residence, the Sultan greeted Hasina by proceeding to the stair of the Palace breaking the traditional Royal protocol of Brunei.
RECEPTION BY EXPATRIATES
the reception on Sunday, Hasina elaborated her government’s steps for the development of various sectors, including food, power, health and education.
The government aims to ensure housing and food for everyone, she said, adding that the poverty rate came down to 21 percent, while the extreme poverty rate was reduced to 11 percent.
About expatriates, the premier said the Awami League works for their wellbeing whenever it comes to power. “As the expatriates largely contribute to our economy, we think it is our duty to work for their wellbeing.”
Hasina said massive development works were going on in Bangladesh and 100 special economic zones were being developed to create a lot of jobs.
She said the government was going to introduce e-passport to check cheating and frauds in recruiting Bangladeshi workers abroad.
She urged the workers to remain alert so that they do not fall victim to any cheating or fraud.
The PM suggested the overseas jobseekers not to go abroad by selling their home or land. Rather, they can take loan from Probasi Kalyan Bank after completing the registration process at digital centres, she added.
She also asked the overseas jobseekers to receive training and develop their skills so that no one can neglect them abroad.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Air Vice Marshal (retd) Mahmud Hussain presided over the reception.
PM CALLS FOR BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Bangladesh-Brunei Business Forum, Hasina yesterday invited the entrepreneurs of Brunei to forge a partnership with the Bangladesh business community in the common journey towards growth and prosperity.
“We invite you to get a firsthand experience of developments and business opportunities in Bangladesh,” she told the programme at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Hasina said Bangladesh has one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia as the country offers various facilities for the investors, including protection of foreign investment by law, generous tax policy, and concessionary duty on machinery import.
“We also offer 100 percent foreign equity, unrestricted exit, full repatriation of dividend and capital. We enjoy preferential access to most of the leading world markets, including the EU, Canada, and Japan.”
The PM mentioned that Bangladesh is now the second largest economy in South Asia and 41st in the world in terms of nominal GDP.
Giving credit to the private sector for this development, she said it is the main engine of the country’s economy.
She also invited the Bangladeshi businessmen to invest in and do business with Brunei.
The top business community leaders of Bangladesh and Brunei were present at the event.
Some business-level instruments were signed in presence of the PM at the event.
PM’s Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman, FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Muhiuddin and the Bangladesh high commissioner to Brunei, among others, spoke on the occasion.