Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FIFA ban on Brunei lifted

For Bruneians who have been denied watching any of Brunei's football teams playing international football, FINALLY, the good news, FIFA have lifted Brunei's suspension. I have taken the liberty of publishing FIFA's media release below or if you still want to be convinced, you can go to FIFA's website yourself.

I for one am glad that whatever the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports did, it seemed to work. I have to take my hats off to my colleague, Dato Hamid. Thank you so much Dato. Now you have to tell me what is meant by the FIFA Media Release saying "NFABD formerly BAFA"? New football association?

Incidentally we are ranked 196th in the world. In April we were ranked 199th. I don't know how we moved up considering we did not play any international football. We were even awarded 9 points. Maybe the strategy is not to play too much football unless we can win the games!



The FIFA Executive Committee, chaired by President Joseph S. Blatter, decided to lift the suspensions on the football associations of Bosnia-Herzegovina (FFBH) and Brunei Darussalam (NFABD, formerly BAFA) during their meeting held today, 30 May 2011, at the Home of FIFA in Zurich. The committee took these decisions after ascertaining that both national associations had fulfilled the conditions established by the FIFA Emergency Committee and approved statutes in line with the FIFA Statutes.

In the case of Indonesia (PSSI), the Executive Committee decided to give a last chance to the PSSI by granting the normalisation committee an extended deadline of 30 June 2011 to organise elections according to the relevant regulations and previous FIFA decisions, in particular that the four banned persons remain ineligible, and to bring the breakaway league back under the control of the PSSI. The Executive Committee decided that, should the conditions not be met by 30 June 2011, the PSSI would automatically be suspended on 1 July 2011.

The Executive Committee also confirmed that the FIFA Club World Cup 2011 would be held in Japan as scheduled.

Furthermore, outgoing Executive Committee member Geoff Thompson was appointed as chairman of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) for the remainder of the term until September 2013. He had been appointed to this role ad interim in December 2010.

The committee approved the preliminary competition formats and draw procedures for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ which had been presented by the six confederations. It also determined that the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of July 2011 would be used for the continental draws that will take place at the Preliminary Draw for this competition, with the exception of CONCACAF, who will use the March 2011 rankings, which were the ones used for the first round of the preliminary competition in that region.

In addition, the Executive Committee decided to abolish extra time for the FIFA U-17 World Cups and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups with immediate effect, after a proposal was made by the Medical Committee and the FIFA Task Force Football 2014.

Finally, the committee approved the Gender Verification Regulations in order to have more clearly defined and legally binding regulations on this topic. The regulations will apply with immediate effect. More information can be found on FIFA.com.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Public Housing Projects in Brunei

The Ministry of Development through the Housing Development Department (HDD) and the Public Works Department has been working very hard to ensure that there are about 10,000 housing units be available by the end of 2012. This is in addition to the 7,500 housing units being built by BEDB to be completed by 2014. MOD's housing projects are generally ready to be completed by end of year 2012 with the exception of a few. Just in case, there are people interested in the progress of MOD's housing projects, I am pleased to attach the following statistics which can be downloaded if need be:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brunei Solar Power (Tenaga Suria Brunei)

Last Thursday on 26 May 2011, His Majesty consented to officially open the Tenaga Suria Brunei power station. Many people who saw the news now know Brunei has a solar power experimental power plant capable of producing some 1.2 MW or powering about 200 houses. I thought I will upload the information on the booklet that came with the launching of the TSB as follows:-

Tenaga Suria Brunei Photovoltaic Power Generation Demonstration Project is a joint project of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Mitsubishi Corporation. The project is fully funded by Mitsubishi Corporation in support of Brunei Darussalam sustainable development efforts through the introduction and utilization of new, alternative and renewable energy. (I have been told that the project cost some $20 million.)

The objectives of TSB Demonstration Project are:

* To identify the most suitable and high performance PV technology for the local meteorological conditions

* To develop capacity building including technical expertise

* To increase public awareness of new, alternataive and renewable energy

* To accumulate data that can be used to assist the Government in formulating policies on renewable energy

* To demonstrate Brunei's committment to wards developing and promoting new and renewable energy

The TSB PV system, with a nominal capacity of 1.2 MW, comprising of six different types of advanced PV modules, namely single-crystalline silicon, poly-crystalline silicon, microcrystalline-Si tandem, amorphous silicon, CIS (copper-indium-selenium), and HIT (heterojunction with intrinsic thin-layer) has been installed at the site of the old Seria Power Station in Belait District.

Although output variew depending on meteorological conditions, generally TSB is designed to generate some 1,344 megawatt-hours of electricity per year enough to provide electricity to 200 homes. Each year the plant is expected to save some 340,000 litres of crude oil and reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 960 tonnes, equivalent to the CO2 absorption power of 260 hectares of forest.

During the 3 years project period:

* Operation and maintenance of the TSB plant will be jointly conducted by Department of Electrical Services Brunei and Mitsubishi Corporation, supported by Japan AE Power Systems

* Data acquired over a period of 3 years will be evaluated and analysed and used by the Government in considering the implementation of additional photovoltaic power generation plants in Brunei

* The data collected will also be evaluated and analysed in order to identify the performance characteristics of each of the six different types of PV panels in order to identify the best performing PV under local conditions

* Mitsubishi Corporation will provide DES personnel with technical expertise on operating and maintaining PV power generation plants. This will be done through on-the-job training and capacity building classes

* The TSB Project aims to increase public awareness on clean and renewable energy and to promote understanding of the PV system by hosting seminars and technical presentations.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Educating the Educators in Brunei

[The Oxford Business Group reported the following on 26th May 2011.]

Brunei Darussalam: Educating the educators

As part of the Sultanate’s plans to overhaul the national education system, Brunei Darussalam’s education professionals are being taught new skills to better equip them to teach the new generation of managers. Efforts in this area are part of the shift in focus away from what has been described as “chalk and talk” teaching to a curriculum that is designed to meet the future needs of students in a changing working environment.

For a number of years Brunei Darussalam has been working to tailor its education system to fit the country’s new economic direction, which has been outlined in a series of blueprints for national development, in particular Wawasan Brunei 2035 and the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN 21).

Under the former, Brunei Darussalam is to build a dynamic, sustainable and diversified economy, an objective to be attained in part by promoting an education system that produces highly skilled graduates. Through SPN 21 – which was unveiled in 2008 – the paths to achieving this were set out, including providing multiple choices for educational programmes based on students’ interests, needs and abilities; offering basic technical, vocational and business skills useful for self-employment and other career opportunities; and putting a greater emphasis on character building and leadership.

To help with this last objective, Brunei Darussalam’s educators are also being given a firmer grounding in the skills needed, with the Ministry of Education (MoE) launching the School Leadership Programme (SLP) last year. Through the SLP, teachers, ministry officials and administrators undergo training to help them identify and implement best practice and acquire leadership skills that they can pass on to students.

The education minister, Pehin Abu Bakar Apong, believes the SLP will help energise Brunei Darussalam’s teachers and encourage them to explore avenues to improve their own schools and the entire education system.

“It is important to make sure we have quality teachers who are committed, dedicated and truly have spirit and soul as teachers,” he told the Brunei Times in April. “We hope that the new scheme of service for teachers will make the profession attractive and competitive. This will enable the ministry to be more selective in identifying and hiring teachers. Qualifications are not the only passport to becoming a teacher, there are other criteria.”

The SLP is being overseen by the Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Advancement (ILIA), a dedicated centre within Universiti Brunei Darussalam established to foster educational, academic and social excellence through the provision of research and training on issues related to the development of the nation. In particular, as its name implies, ILIA aims to strengthen the public, private and social sectors by helping to build an understanding of responsible innovative leadership.

One of the core means of achieving this goal is to boost standards in the country’s school system, from entry level through to graduation. This is the primary function of the SLP. To date, education professionals from more than 120 schools across the country have taken part in the programme, and while it may be some years for the full effect of the SLP to be felt, as it will take time for students to pass through the education system and then work their way up in their chosen professions, the initial results are already being seen.

According to Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, the acting director of the MoE’s Department of Schools, there has been a noticeable improvement in academic results in schools that have had support from the SLP.

“If you look at the Primary Assessment Examination and General Certificate of Education results, and how many students are now able to enter sixth-form centres, what does it tell you?” he told the Brunei Times on April 30. “It means that many students have now achieved more than we expected. The SLP, the education system in place, quality teachers and the commitment of parents all have a part to play in this.”

The SLP is also bearing fruit as individual schools put into place new methods for teaching traditional subjects such as mathematics, Malay and English, programmes that will be assessed by the MoE for possible adoption at the national level in the future, Ibrahim said.

Having laid the foundations for an innovative, individual-focused education system, Brunei Darussalam now faces the challenge of pushing forward with the changes to the national economy necessary to enable the leadership skills of future graduates to be best utilised. This may not be easy, given the long tradition of a state-directed economy, though with a young and educated workforce the Sultanate will be better equipped to meet that challenge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brunei, Before the Oil Years

[My article below was published on Brunei Times on 16th May 2011. It looked at the situation in Brunei in 1930, the year after the discovery of oil but that oil has not yet gone info full production. It was also the Great Depression for the world. Hope you enjoy the article.]


Brunei, Before the Oil Years
by Rozan Yunos

Many in Brunei knew 1929 was one of the most crucial of all years in recent Brunei history. That year was the year that oil was found in commercial quantity in Brunei. It took more than a quarter of a century for that oil to be discovered.

Oil has been more or less expected to be found in the North West Borneo area. By the mid 19th century, seepages have been reported in a number of places and oil prospectors have come in droves flooding in to Borneo and into Brunei all hoping to be the lucky person to find that oil. Oil prospectors tried drilling in a number of places.

In Brunei, an oil seepage was reported in the late 19th century. It was at Ayer Bekunci near Kampung Kasat. A well was drilled for the first time in Brunei in 1899. The drilling went down as deep as 850 feet but unfortunately no oil was discovered. After that attempt, interest in finding oil in Brunei waned. It was the discovery of oil in Miri in 1910 that led the oil companies to renew their search which eventually led to that discovery in Seria in 1929.

It took a couple of years before oil became the main export of Brunei. Today’s article will look into the year of 1930, the year after the oil was discovered but has not yet contributed much to the Brunei economy. This was probably the last year that Brunei had to worry about its finances. Its fortune was about to change but changes in administration and management were starting to be seen.

The Annual Report for the State of Brunei 1930 was prepared by the British Resident who was then P.A.B. McKerron. His name still lived on in Kuala Belait with one of the streets there named after him. His Highness Sultan Ahmed Tajudin Akhazul Khairi Waddin ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mohamed Jamalul Alam was then the Sultan. He was 17 at that time and Duli Pengiran Bendahara and Duli Pengiran Pemancha were appointed as Joint Regents.

Economically, things were not good for Brunei. The prices of rubber and other raw materials forming the bulk of exports from Brunei continued to fall. It was the time of the Great Depression which originated with the fall in stock prices in USA on 4 September the previous year. International trade plunged by more than 50%; and unemployment in USA rose to 25% with most other countries experiencing more than a third of their labour forces unemployed.

The Brunei Annual Report indicated that local Chinese firms could not pay for their imports. The locals had to sell their silver dollars which they had accumulated the years when rubber prices were good. However in spite of all these, Brunei’s trade values increased from $2.7 million in 1929 to $3.3 million in 1930. This was due to the rapid development now taking place in the Belait District. The effect of the discovery of that oil in 1929 has begun to show up in Brunei.

The Report also indicated that there were positive outcomes with regard to Brunei when Sir Cecil Clementi, the High Commissioner accompanied by Lady Clementi paid their first visit to Brunei. During his stay, a conference took place between the High Commissioner and the Tuan Muda of Sarawak where several important matters mutually concerning the two states were settled. The Report did not disclose what those important matters were.

Approval was also given to create an Assistant Resident post to be stationed in Kuala Belait. Mr. T.F. Carey was appointed to the new post. He was expected to better supervise the important development then taking place in Kuala Belait.

There were financial deficits in 1930. The government only managed to collect $333,069 in revenue but spent more than $379,604. This deficit would have been larger had the expenses for the widening of the wharf been included. That was funded out of an appropriation from the liquid cash reserves. The 1930 revenue was much lower compared to the previous 4 years. Brunei owed $401,000 in public debt in 1930, the majority of which is debt to the Straits Settlement Government.

Brunei was still active in agriculture. With the rubber prices down, farmers focused on sago which had been badly neglected since rubber planting began. In 1930, more than 6,000 pikuls were produced compared to 3,000 pikuls the previous year. But by the end of the year, the sago prices too had fallen so low that it hardly paid to export it.

Rice was grown in a much larger area, 7,500 acres compared to 5,200 acres the year before. However production of rice using the dry method was severely affected by a severe drought but increased yields using the wet method compensated for the loss. The Brunei farmers were now convinced of using the wet method over the previous traditional dry cultivation.

Brunei’s wharf at the Brunei River was reinforced and now allowed steamers up to 12 feet long to berth. The Tutong Road was maintained in good order but in general was still an earth road. The roads in Kuala Belait and Seria were taken over by the British Malayan Petroleum Company. A pontoon car-ferry was established at Kuala Tutong to allow traffic between Brunei and Kuala Belait.

In the oil industry, several excellent producing wells were completed in 1930. The year also saw a very thorough investigation of the field. A grid of access roads had been commenced and a steel pile bridge constructed over the Seria River to ensure good communications with the company’s headquarters in Kuala Belait.

Many development followed suit. There were many new store godowns, offices and quarters for the employees being constructed. A pipe line water supply was also being looked at.

Unfortunately the Great Depression of 1930s also had an effect on the overall development of the oil industry. The overall world oil was in excess production because of the poor global demand. If it was not for this, Brunei’s oil would have been exported by the following year. However despite the pessimisms of the oil industry, development continued albeit slower in the oil fields of Seria.

Despite the mixed signs, development in 1930 was the beginning of a period of good years for Brunei.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Think Tanks in Brunei Darussalam

Someone asked on the comment box, whether I know of any think tanks in Brunei. I thought that was an interesting question and certainly pushed me to think what is meant by think tanks and how many there actually are there in Brunei. In its simplest form, a think tank is a body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems. At its most complicated, a think tank (or policy institute) is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economy, science or technology issues, industrial or business policies, or military advice.

For the list of think tanks that are now in Brunei, I had to rack my brain a bit. After all that thinking, I came out with the following list:-

(1) Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS)

This is certainly the most established of all the think tanks in Brunei. It was at first the ASEAN-EC Management Centre funded by European Communities and hosted by Brunei from 1992. The issues it dealt with were mostly human resources but it did deal with other issues. But with the end of the funding, the government set up the CSPS using the existing building.

The Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) was officially established on July 1st, 2006. It is a Corporate Body and is governed by the “Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies” Act 2006, Brunei Darussalam. According to the CSPS Act 2006, under Article 83(3) Section 13 (a), it is stated that the function of the Centre shall include “the advancement and dissemination of knowledge and the promotion of research on Brunei Darussalam and on all matters appertaining to Brunei Darussalam’s interests”. The establishment of the Centre is seen as a mechanism for inputting information to relevant stakeholders to facilitate intelligent, informed and educated decision-making. It could also play a role in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the current policies to make policy refinements, terminations or other policy decisions possible.

(2) Brunei Darussalam Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (IPSS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

This think tank was a founder member of the Network of East Asian Think Tank as far back as 2002. There is more information about NEAT than there is about the think tank itself.

Officially recognized at the “10+3" summit meeting, Network of East Asian Think-tanks (NEAT) is a mechanism for research and academic exchange, and a platform for the second-track diplomacy in the regional cooperation among “10+3" countries in East Asia. It aims at integrating the research resources in East Asia, promoting the academic exchanges and providing intellectual support for East Asian cooperation. To be more specific, by establishing a network among East Asian think-tanks, governments and enterprises and promoting the interaction of these three circles, it intends to study the key issues related to East Asian cooperation, work out strategic ideas and concrete policy suggestions for the regional integration and submit research reports to the “10+3" summit meeting.

In 2002, East Asian Studies Group (EASG), the second-track in the mechanism of East Asian cooperation, suggested 17 short-term measures to be taken for closer cooperation among East Asian nations, among which was establishing “Network of East Asian Think-tanks" (NEAT) within the framework of “10+3" regional cooperation. The suggestion was adopted at the informal meeting of “10+3" leaders held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in September 2002.

The activities of NEAT fall into the following categories: 1) Hold annual conferences of NEAT members to promote exchanges among East Asian think tanks and submit an annual work report to the informal meeting of “10+3" leaders on the basis of the research of the key issues in East Asian integration process; 2) Set up a website of NEAT, bridging the governments with the academic circles, promoting the academic exchanges among scholars about East Asia, and educating the masses in the region; 3) Hold irregular international seminars on East Asian cooperation so as to facilitate the theoretic research on the integration and community building of East Asia and help to shape the theoretic framework, strategies and specific policies conducive to the regional cooperation in East Asia. 4) Cooperate in the research of the key issues in regional cooperation and figure out the solutions.

The founding as well as the first annual conference of NEAT was held in Beijing from September 29 to 30, 2003. There were delegates from the think tanks of all the member states at the conference. The three topics discussed were “Towards East Asian Cooperation", Important Steps Leading to East Asian Cooperation" and “Key Areas in East Asia Cooperation". The conference report was not only published, but also distributed at the “10+3" leaders meeting in 2003.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can probably give more information with regard whether the think tank is a physical think tank or a virtual one.

(3) Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (SHHB-IDSS), Ministry of Defence

This was set up a few years ago by the Ministry of Defence. The establishment of the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (SHHB-IDSS) was officially announced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzadin Waddaulah Ibni Al-Mahrum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Khairi Waddien, Sultan Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in His Majesty’s Titah during the 45th Anniversary of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces on 31st May 2006. The Institute was formally formed, with the appointment of its first Director in April 2007.

Its vision is "To be a leading think tank in regional defence, security and strategic studies" and its mission is "To study, discuss and disseminate defence, security and strategic issues relevant toBrunei Darussalam and its surrounding environment."

SHHB-IDSS has the following roles and functions: 1.To conduct policy relevant research on defence, security and strategic issues; 2.To promote international cooperation on defence, security and strategic issues with like-minded institutions and organizations; 3.To provide a platform for scholars, officials and others in their private capacities to discuss and research defence security and strategic studies; 4.To convene national, regional and international seminars, meetings, conference and other cooperative activities on defence, security and strategic studies; 5.To establish linkages and exchange information, insights and experiences in defence, security and strategic studies with similar institutions and organizations around the world; 6.To facilitate in human resource development for Brunei Darussalam’s Ministry of Defence and Royal Brunei Armed Forces; and 7.To publish and disseminate its research outputs and other activities in various forums and media.

The institute is active in organising the annual Brunei Darusalam International Defence and Security Exhibition and Conference (BRIDEX).

(4) Brunei Research Council (BRC)

The Brunei Research Council has recently been reestablished. The original council was formed way back in the 1980s but it was only this year, it is reformed. It looked after and provide funding for all research done in Brunei done by government agencies. Whether this will be another think tank in the future that remains to be decided. The BRC is under the Prime Minister's Office.

Universiti Brunei Darussalam has set up a number of institutes. Many are teaching institutes but one in particular may qualify as a think-tank:

(5) The Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Advancement (ILIA)

ILIA will focus on being the premier academic center in the provision of research and training on issues and concerns related to the advancement of Negara Brunei Darussalam, with an emphasis on leadership and innovation.

Its missions are: Firstly, to be the premier national institute for the promotion and understanding of responsible innovative leadership and to develop outstanding real world leaders in public, private and social sectors through the provision of training and consultancy. Secondly, to undertake high quality research and consultancy which focuses on advancing our frontiers of knowledge in issues related to change leadership and innovation.

Its objectives are: (1) To be a focal point for research and training on issues and concerns related to the advancement of Negara Brunei Darussalam, with emphasis on leadership and innovation (2) To promote collaborative networking between government, business and academics and society in identifying and exploiting key niches for development (3) To encourage a culture that sees change and evolution as necessary part of advancement and development (4) To raise awareness that leaders roles should come from everywhere to transform organizations and social situations for the advancement of society (5) To encourage a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving (6) To publish and promote the findings through papers, seminars and dialogue sessions.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hickling's Memorandum

On Monday, Professor Hussainmiya brought me his latest book and he asked me whether I could do a book review during the book's launch on Thursday. At that time, I was still completing my paper for the MIB Seminar and my turn to give the talk was on Thursday and I was only about halfway through completing my paper. But I thought this was a very rare opportunity and regardless I was sleeping at 2 am every night that week, opportunities like this come not very often.

Honestly I have never done a book review other than as class exercises when I was at school many many years ago. And I have to do one in about 3 days and not only that I have to do it in public and not to mention I have to complete my MIB paper as well. It was indeed a challenge. So here is the book and here is my public book review which I delivered at the Yayasan Hall on Thursday afternoon during the launch. By the way, it is very long and it is in Malay, which is a tad ironic as the book is in English.



Diperkenalkan oleh B. A. Hussainmiya dan Nicholas Tarling,
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam: Brunei Press Sdn Bhd, 2011.
Terbitan Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah di bawah Siri Brunei: Traditions of Monarchic Culture and History

Ulasan Buku disediakan oleh Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Haji Mohd Yunos

Kalau kita semua dapat beraleh kepada tempuh masa pada penghujung abad ke 19 dan bermulanya abad ke 20, kita akan melihat sebuah negara yang hampir lupus. Hambatan daripada pihak luar dan bangsa asing dan masalah dalaman telah menyebabkan sebuah negara yang 500 tahun sebelumnya megah memerintah pulau yang ketiga terbesar di dunia, telah merosot dan kini menjadi sebuah negara yang kecil. Yang tinggal hanyalah sistem pemerintahan dan tradisinya yang unik dan telah ditanai berzaman-zaman. Itulah negara kita, Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Alhamdulillah, Negara Brunei Darussalam masa itu masih mempunyai seorang Sultan yang masih dapat mempertahankan kedaulatan Negara. Pada masa itulah, pihak British untuk menentukan halatuju dasar mereka terhadap Brunei menghantar seorang wakil Kerajaan British untuk melihat sendiri dan menyediakan satu lapuran apa sebenarnya yang ada di Negara Brunei Darussalam dan apa sebenarnya keadaan Negara Brunei Darussalam.

DYMM Sultan Hashim dan lapisan pemimpin dan rakyat negara ini telah dapat menyakinkan MSH McArthur bawah sekecil mana Negara Brunei Darussalam, ini tidak bererti ianya tidak layak untuk terus menjadi sebuah negara yang berdaulat.

Lapuran McArthur pada tahun 1904 telah menyakinkan Kerajaan British bahawa walaupun terdapat elemen-elemen luar yang hendak menghancurkan dan menyerapkan negara ini, Brunei adalah sebuah negara yang berdaulat. Dari itu, Brunei diteruskan sebagai negara protectorate di bawah jagaan British sebagaimana jua Perjanjian 1888 dengan wakilnya seorang Resident untuk mentadbir negara tetapi kuasa dan peranan sultan masih lagi dikekalkan.

Dengan adanya minyak yang dijumpai di Seria pada tahun 1929, keadaan negara ini telah mulai berubah. Daripada sebuah negara yang miskin dan berhutang, Negara Brunei Darussalam telah menjadi pembekal minyak yang berbesar dalam Commonwealth. Dasar British kepada Brunei berubah.

Walau bagaimanapun dengan tercetusnya Perang Dunia Kedua, rakyat Brunei menyedari bahawa pihak British tidak akan dapat mempertahankan dan memperjuangkan semua negara di bawah jagaannya. British tidak menyediakan sebarang pertahanan kepada Brunei seperti yang termaktub di dalam Perjanjian 1888.

Angin sepoi-sepoi kemerdekaan di kalangan negara-negara Commonwealth menjadi angin ribut sehingga hampir kesemua menuntut kemerdekaan mereka sebaik-baik sahaja berakhirnya Perang Dunia Kedua. Di Brunei sendiri, semangat kemerdekaan di kalangan rakyat juga telah mula membara.

Pada tahun 1950, dengan lindungnya DYMM Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, adinda Baginda menaiki takhta, DYMM Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III. DYMM Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien menyedari bahawa kuasa pemerintahan dan kedaulatan negara adalah hak rakyat Brunei. Baginda mula mengorak langkah untuk mengambil semula hak ini secara berperingkat melalui perlembagaan bertulis yang dihasratkan.

Berikutan dengan keputusan Majlis Mesyuarat Negeri pada 10 April 1953, Baginda telah mengumumkan secara rasmi hasrat untuk mengadakan perlembagaan bertulis itu. Dalam usaha untuk mencapai cita-cita ini, satu jawatankuasa yang dikenali dengan nama Jawatankuasa Tujuh Serangkai telah ditubuhkan. Tugas utamanya adalah untuk mengumpul semua pendapat dan persoalan yang ditimbulkan oleh rakyat Brunei tentang perlembagaan yang dicadangkan. Lapuran jawatankuasa ini telah dibincangkan di dalam Majlis Mesyuarat Negeri pada 23 Mac 1954.

Pihak British tidak ada pilihan. Mereka perlu menelitinya dan memberikan pandangan mereka dan juga menyediakan alternatif kepada cadangan Tujuh Serangkai tersebut. Tetapi untuk berbuat demikian mereka perlu mendapatkan pandangan daripada seorang wakil mereka mengenai dengan kedudukan terkini Negara Brunei Darussalam. Wakil tersebut perlu melawat Brunei sendiri. Wakil tersebut ialah R.H. Hickling. Sekali lagi status masa depan Brunei bergantung kepada lapuran seorang wakil Kerajaan British.

RH Hickling adalah Penolong Peguam Negara Sarawak apabila beliau diarahkan untuk menyediakan lapuran tersebut. Beliau memegang beberapa jawatan selepas itu di Malaysia dan lebih terkenal kerana mengadakan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri. Dalam memoir beliau yang bertajuk Memoir of a Wayward Lawyer, beliau menyatakan bahawa di antara apa yang beliau lakukan adalah “… cheerfully assisted in the dissolution of Empire …”.

Berbeza dengan McArthur yang berada di Brunei selama enam bulan, RH Hickling hanya berada pada bulan November dan Disember 1954. Sumber-sumber yang dirujuk oleh Hickling adalah terhad dan daripada hasil tersebut, satu memorandum bertajuk “Memorandum upon Brunei Constitutional History and Practice” telah dikeluarkan untuk digunakan oleh Kerajaan British. Di dalam memorandum itu, Hickling sendiri menyedari bawah perlunya diadakan pembaharuan politik di Negara Brunei kerana telah wujudnya kesedaran politik di kalangan rakyat.

Walau bagaimanapun, menurut Professor Hussainmiya dan Nicholas Tarling di dalam pengenalan kepada memorandum ini, memorandum tersebut tidak memberikan ide yang baru tetapi hanya memperkuatkan lagi beberapa ide yang memang sudah ada di kalangan pegawai-pegawai British di Sarawak.

Lapuran beliau telah digunakan oleh Sir Anthony Abell bagi pihak British untuk menyediakan draf Perlembagaan bertulis versi British. Walau bagaimanapun draf tersebut telah tidak dipersetujui oleh DYMM Sultan Omar Ali dan Baginda lebih cenderung mempraktikan cadangan Jawatankuasa Tujuh Serangkai. Dengan itu, Baginda kemudiannya melantik Majlis Penasihat Daerah di setiap daerah dengan ahli-ahlinya dilantik oleh penduduk-penduduk daerah. Majlis Mesyuarat Negeri diperluaskan lagi keahliannya dengan dipengerusikan sendiri oleh Baginda.

Akhirnya, pada tahun 1959, satu Perlembagaan Bertulis telah ditandatangani dan dipersetujui oleh Kerajaan British dan dengan itu Brunei mulai memegang tunggak pentadbiran dalam negerinya sendiri sehinggalah pada tahun 1984 dengan kemerdekaan yang penuh.

Buku yang diterbitkan oleh Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah yang mencetak semula kandungan ‘Memorandum upon Brunei Constitutional History and Practice’ yang dikarang oleh HR Hickling pada tahun 1954 ini merupakan satu bahan sejarah yang penting. Walaupun ianya tidak sepenting Lapuran McArthur 50 tahun sebelumnya, memorandum Hickling ini memberikan gambaran mengenai dengan aspek-aspek yang penting seperti sejarah, masyarakat, undang-undang, kerajaan, politik dan kedudukan negara dengan statusnya sebagai sebuah negara protectorate. Memorandum ini membantu pembaca untuk memahami politik dan kerajaan Brunei pada tahun 1950an.

Hickling menghormati status Negara Brunei Darussalam dan sejarahnya dan menyedari bahawa Brunei memang sudah mempunyai kerajaan berperlembagaan tradisi (constitutional government) dan sebarang perubahan perlu mengambilkira kedudukan kesultanan Brunei yang sudah ujud sebegitu lama. Hickling juga memuji DYMM Sultan Omar Ali sebagai seorang yang ‘sensitive, thoughtful, modest and democratic in spirit’.

Memorandum menimbulkan isu-isu seperti kuasa Sultan di bawah status negara protectorate. Memorandum juga menimbulkan perbincangan mengenai dengan isu-isu kerakyatan. Yang paling penting di dalam memorandum ini adalah nasihat Hickling bahawa perlembagaan untuk Brunei bukanlah isu undang-undang tetapi adalah isu politik dan dari itu, ianya perlu dibincangkan dan bukan untuk dikeluarkan arahan oleh pihak British melalui satu Order-in-Council di bawah Foreign Jurisdiction Act. Nasihat ini telah diakuri oleh Kerajaan British.

Kita dapat melihat buku ini memberikan maklumat yang bersejarah mengenai dengan perjalanan Brunei menuju kepada sebuah negara yang merdeka. Buku ini akan membantu pembaca menyedari mengenai dengan kedudukan Brunei pada masa ini dan dari itu ianya adalah sangat relevan kepada ahli sejarah dan juga ahli-ahli pengkaji politik Negara Brunei Darussalam. Kesedaran ini penting di dalam era dimana terdapatnya keperluan untuk memahami cara-cara bagaimana budaya, nasionalisma, ugama, kenegaraan dan tekanan luar berinteraksi di tahap-tahap tempatan, negeri dan antarabangsa.

Buku ini bukan sahaja mengandungi memorandum yang telah dicetak semula tetapi ianya telah ditambah nilai dengan diperkenalkan oleh dua orang ahli sejarah asing yang terkenal yang telah mengkaji secara mendalam sejarah Negara Brunei Darussalam dan sejarah serantau iaitu B.A. Hussainmiya dan Nicholas Tarling. Pengenalan yang ditulis oleh mereka berdua secara extensive telah dapat merangkumi elemen-elemen penting yang perlu diketahui oleh lapisan rakyat di Negara Brunei Darussalam. Buku ini sudah setentunya merupakan satu bahan rujukan pengenalan yang penting bagi mereka yang ingin mendalami kajian sejarah dan politik negara ini.

Beberapa maklumat tambahan juga dimuatkan ke dalam buku ini bagi membolehkan pembaca untuk membuat perbandingan cadangan Hickling iaitu lapuran Jawatankuasa Tujuh Serangkai yang telah diterjemahkan ke dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Perbandingan isu kerakyatan yang dibincangkan oleh Hickling dan Jawatankuasa Tujuh Serangkai ini dapat dilihat perbezaan pandangan daripada kedua pihak. Titah DYMM Sultan Omar Ali semasa Mesyuarat Dewan Majlis Khas pada 21 Julai 1958 juga turut dimuatkan.

Buku ini boleh membantu kita memahami lebih mendalami lagi interaksi di antara Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien dan Sir Anthony Abell, British High Commissioner pada zaman tersebut. Interaksi kedua inilah yang banyak mempengaruhi perjalanan Brunei menuju kepada kemerdekaan penuh. Interaksi kedua pihak ini adalah bagai dua kuasa bertentangan – satu kuasa mempertahankan sistem politik secara tradisi dan satu kuasa yang cuba membawa sistem politik yang baru. Kebijaksanaan dan kecekalan DYMM Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien dan keupayaan Baginda untuk membawa rakyat menyokong Baginda telah dapat mematahkan hasrat Kerajaan British.

Saya akhiri dengan petikan titah Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan dan Yang Di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam sempena Hari Keputeraan Baginda Yang ke-52 pada tahun 1998. Baginda bertitah:

“… Apa yang telah dan sedang dilalui negara ini, semuanya itu adalah sejarah. Kita tidaklah boleh menolaknya begitu saja, sekalipun kadang-kadang kita tidak menyukainya. Adapun orang menerima sejarah itu statusnya adalah patriot, sementara yang ambil iktibar daripadanya adalah orang-orang yang bijaksana …”

Begitulah titah Baginda. Kita perlu menerima sejarah yang telah berlalu tetapi yang lebih baiknya, kita harus mengambil iktibar daripadanya.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sarawak Stamps used in Brunei

This Sarawak stamp cost me US$45. You are probably wondering giving my animosity towards most thing Brooke, why on earth then would I want to pay so much for an old 5c Sarawak stamp.

This one has Brunei history. If you remember my article on Muara, you would know why. Muara was in the late 1890s and early 1900s was administered by Rajah Brooke in his personal capacity. Of course, it was hard to distinguish between his private and official capacity. He brought in Sarawak police and other administrative requirements such as the postal service. The first stamps to be used in Brunei was not the Brunei stamps which came in 1895. The Sarawak stamps were used much earlier in 1893 and up to 1907. Sarawak had its first stamps as far back as 1869.

This particular Sarawak stamp was used in Brunei territory, Brooketon. If you looked closely you can see that the stamp is postmarked Brooketon and posted on 9 November, unfortunately the year is not visible.

Brunei had to use Sarawak stamps again. This time during the Second World War or rather immediately after the Second World War. The Japanese had been driven out and the British Military Administration was taking over.

The BMA was not going to go for fancy stamps but used whatever was in stock. So they used whatever stamps Sabah and Sarawak had left and overprinted them with the letters BMA and used them in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. Why wasn't Brunei stamps overprinted? The answer most probably is not stock. The Japanese had been overprinting Brunei stamps when they were in power and used them all up.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Going to School

In the 1950s, the government took great efforts to get school children to school. This photograph from the 1955 Brunei Annual Report shows just how difficult it was. Everyone seemed cramped into this little boat.

Look closely. You hold your shoes in your hands and walk out of the boat barefoot. You wear a songkok but with shorts. You bring your books wrapped and tied in a plastic bag (see the standing boy).

The result - a better educated Brunei society. We should thank the Government for educating our grandparents and our parents and us in turn.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Independent Development of Muara

[Note: Muara developed independently than the rest of Brunei. I wrote and published this article on Brooketon as it was known then in my column on Brunei Times and published it last Sunday, 2 May 2011]


Independent Development of Muara

Everyone in Brunei knows that there are four districts in Brunei. The largest being the Belait District and the smallest being the Brunei-Muara District.

One can also be curious and wonder why is that the Brunei-Muara District, small enough as it is, comprised of two different parts – that of Brunei and Muara. If these two are split, the resulting new districts would even be much smaller. Why then is Muara given a special place in the name of the district? The best answer to that is that from the beginning, Muara has developed independently of the rest of the district.

Before the 1900s, the hamlet of Muara was inhabited by a small group of Malay fishermen. However it was the coal at Serai Pimping in Muara that attracted the Europeans to come here.

The coalmine at Muara was described and quoted in the book ‘British Borneo Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan and North Borneo’ published in 1891 written by W.H. Treacher, the Reverend J.E. Tennison-Wood, well known in Australia as an authority on geological questions, thus describing the Muara coalfields:

“… About twenty miles to the South-west of Labuan is the mouth of the Brunai river. Here the rocks are of quite a different character, and much older. There are sandstones, shales, and grits, with ferruginous joints. The beds are inclined at angles of 25 to 45 degrees. They are often altered into a kind of chert. At Muara there is an outcrop of coal seams twenty, twenty-five and twenty-six feet thick. The coal is of excellent quality, quite bitumenised, and not brittle. The beds are being worked by private enterprise. I saw no fossils, but the beds and the coal reminded me much of the older Australian coals along the Hunter river. The mines are of great value ...”

Most historical accounts only noted one W.C. Cowie who worked the mines before being taken over by Rajah Brooke. However according to G. Irwin in his book ‘Nineteenth Century Borneo: A Study in Diplomatic Rivalry’ published in 1965, the coal at Muara was worked by four different companies between 1848 and 1880. It was only in March 1882 that W.C. Cowie obtained a concession to work coal in Muara. The Reverend J.E. Tennison-Wood said that the mine is “…rented for a few thousand dollars by two enterprising Scotchmen, from the Sultan of Brunai ...”

In his notes, in the book ‘Report on Brunei in 1904 by MSH McArthur’, AVM Horton noted that it was in March 1882 that W.C. Cowie obtained a concession to work coal in Muara Damit. Modifications were made to his lease in 1884 and 1887 by which he obtained the monopoly of coal working throughout Brunei east of the River Tutong. On 6 September 1888 these rights were purchased by Sir Charles Brooke for $25,000.

Rajah Brooke renamed the site as Brooketon. Brooketon gradually lent its name to the area. McArthur in his 1904 Report on Brunei noted that he was unable to find in the archives of the Consulate any complete record of the concession on which the Rajah’s claims in Brunei are based; but he believed that these concessions for coal only were purchased by His Highness in a private capacity and not as Rajah of Sarawak and that he has since acquired the rights of jurisdiction at Brooketon.

Even though he only had economic rights, Brooke became the de facto ruler of the area. The colliery employed hundreds of miners and that required him to introduce a police force, post office and roads transforming Muara effectively into an extraterritorial settlement an extension of Sarawak.

The development of the coalmine also lead to transport and infrastructure development at Muara. A post office was opened and postal services of Sarawak was extended there. Envelopes and packages sent from Brooketon would use Sarawak stamps. A wooden railway was built to transport the coal to the safe deep-water anchorage at Muara, and wharves and jetties were built to allow steamships and barges to berth. By 1911, the Brunei Annual Report of the same year noted that more than 1,447 people lived in Muara and some 30 shops had opened in the town.

McArthur in his report noted that ‘the place gives every appearance of prosperity, possessing good wharves and sheds, a stone sea wall, a line of light railway running to the mine about a mile inland, and heaps of coal.’ According to G.E. Wilford, during the years of 1891 to 1924 more than 650,000 tonnes of coal was produced, exports after 1906 totalled 315,396 tonnes valued at $2,688,400.

However the mines by 1904 did not do that well. McArthur reported that the appearance belie the fact that the mine did not pay. In 1903, the Sarawak Report indicated that the mine had a net loss of $108,747, $34,532 more than the previous year. Despite the continuing loss, Rajah Brooke continued to maintain the loss making mine.

It was not until 1924 that the mine and the entire area was ‘returned’ to Brunei. The Brunei Annual Report of 1924 described the return as follows:

“… in March, after protracted negotiations lasting for nearly 3 years, an agreement was concluded whereby the Trade and Farm Rights held by the Rajah of Sarawak were redeemed by the Government of Brunei, in return for an annual payment of $6,418. These rights, together with certain land rights which are retained by the Rajah of Sarawak, were originally granted by the Sultan of Brunei to Mr. W.C. Cowie in perpetuity for a total payment of $5,000. Five months after the new agreement came into operation the Rajah announced his intention to cease working the Brooketon Coal mines as from the 1st January, 1925, and the work of dismantling the machinery, etc, had commenced before the end of the year ...”

Pengiran Shahbandar was appointed to act as Malay Magistrate in charge of this district.

Until the Second World War, Muara was physically separated from the rest of Brunei. The only way to get there was via the Brunei River. Even the Australian Army arriving as the Allied Forces freeing Brunei from the Japanese Occupation in 1945 had to walk from Muara to Brunei Town.

Captain T.S. Monks in his book ‘Brunei Days’ described the situation during the early days of the liberation. He noted that the map ‘showed an actual road from Brooketon to Brunei Town’ and was marked as ‘suitable in all weathers and wide enough to take two vehicles abreast’. Monks said that it was wildly inaccurate information. His description of the road goes as follows:

“… at first it was a reasonable but unpaved narrow road, but within a mile it deteriorated into just a jungle track with deep pot-holes and soon we were bogged down in soft slushy mud … as we went on, the jungle thickened …”

The journey took three hours before they reached paved road and was finally able to reach Brunei Town.

Of course by the 1970s, Muara was connected with proper paved road. By 1970, Muara housed Brunei’s only deep water port and today is an integral part of the modern nation of Brunei Darussalam.

[Illustration: A very rare 1920s Brunei postcard showing the Coal-Wharf at Brooketon. (Source: Rozan Yunos Private Collections)]

Inspirational Quotes