Brunei, the tiny oil-rich Sultanate, on the island of Borneo in the South China Sea has signed an agreement with Britain which will give it full independence by December 1983.
GV EXTERIOR parliament building
GV Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth office; Lord Goronwy-Roberts and High Commissioner Mr Arthur Watson arriving in official car
CU Union Jack
GV Lord Goronwy-Roberts and Mr Watson walk along red carpet
GV Sultan of Brunei Sir Muda Hassanal Bolkiah arrives, leaves car (THREE SHOTS) and walks onto platform
GV Sultan takes salute
GV Sultan inspects troops
CU INTERIOR Sultan signing agreement PAN TO Mr Arthur Watson signing
The Queen's cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, represented the British monarch at the signing. Brunei has a population of two hundred and seven thousand. The country is the second largest producer of oil and natural gas in South-East Asia. Oil exports in 1978 are expected to gross 96 million U.S. dollars. Relations with Malaysia and Indonesia have been uneasy for some years. Sheikh Azahari, leader of the banned Brunei People's party which staged a month-long rebellion in 1962, still maintains his party in exile in Malaysia and Indonesia, though Brunei authorities believe his following has dwindled.
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Background: Brunei, the tiny oil-rich Sultanate, on the island of Borneo in the South China Sea has signed an agreement with Britain which will give it full independence by December 1983.
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony took place at the Lapau, the parliament building. Britain was represented by Lord Goronwy-Roberts, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth office, and the recently appointed High Commissioner, Mr Arthur Watson.
The Sultan, Sir Muda Hassanal Bolkiah, has ruled Brunei since succeeding his father in 1967. Thanks to large reserves of oil and natural gas, Brunei enjoys one of the highest standards of living in South-East Asia. Income tax has been abolished. Medical care and education are free. Food and electricity are subsidised, and there are interest-free government loan for cars, homes and colour televisions. A third of government expenditure goes on defence.
Relations with neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia are poor. The Sultanate is increasing its armed forces and has recently ordered missiles and patrol boats from Britain.
Brunei has been a British protectorate for ninety years. The new agreement continues Britain's responsibility for foreign affairs and defence until independence in 1983. At present Britain has one thousand gurkha troops garrisoned near the vital oilfields. The Sultan said the agreement would foster closer relations between the two countries and pledged his government to make preparations for independence. Lord Goronwy-Roberts, who negotiated the agreement, said Brunei would always enjoy Britain's support.