Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Labi Road in 1955

To mark the 60th anniversary celebrations, Borneo Bulletin digs deep into its archives to show its readers how Brunei has evolved over the decades featuring photos and news of the years gone by. Here is this week's news from the past.

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This picture shows the Labi Road just below the point where it terminates at Mile 21¼ at Bukit Teraja

SERIA (November 19, 1956) - An oil exploration access road, which cost the British Malayan Petroleum (BMP) Company a total of $3.4 million to build, has been purchased by the Brunei Government for $344,000.

Known as the "Labi Road", it is 21¼ miles in length and traverses some of the most difficult country in the area, from Bukit Puan on the Belait River to Bukit Teraja, a picturesque hill 1,000 feet above sea level from which it is possible to see Seria's flares glowing on the horizon.

A BMP Company engineer told The Bulletin that work on the road commenced in August 1952 and it was not until December 1954 that the project was completed.

Eight Bailey bridges, seven of them capable of taking 60-tonne loads, were brought in to span the various rivers and swamps that were met with.

The remaining bridge, at 630 feet in length, is known to be the longest in British Borneo, if not in the whole of the island.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Remembering First Payment of Old Age Pension in KB

To mark the 60th anniversary celebrations, Borneo Bulletin digs deep into its archives to show its readers how Brunei has evolved over the decades featuring photos and news of the years gone by. Here is this week's news from the past.

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APRIL 23, 1955 - Photo shows District Officer of Belait, Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Haji Ahmad bin Daud performing one of his "happiest duties" in his entire Government service. He is handing over to 80-year-old Che Fatimah binte Alin her first pension payment at the Government Malay School in Kuala Belait. Looking on are the venerable Penghulu of Kuala Belait, OKSP Setia Di-Raja Abang Bujang, himself an old age pensioner, and Pension Officer Inche Yahaya bin Taha.

Pictured below are some of the 79 Malay and Chinese old age pensioners of Kuala Belait awaiting their turn to receive their first payment.


-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Malay Language Skills in Brunei

Permanent Secretary of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hj Mohd Rozan (L) presents a prize to Eunice Lo Ying Ci from Chung Ching Secondary School, Seria, for winning the essay writing competition held by Mekar Magazine yesterday at the Language and Literature Bureau's Balai Sarmayuda in Berakas. Pictures: BT/Saiful Omar
Bandar Seri Begawan, 25 November 2012 - BRUNEI may face a situation in the future where young people today grow up to be ineffective communicators if they continue with the habit of writing of typing incorrectly as a result of the tendency to use shortened words on social networking sites and text messaging.

To counter the onset of this dire situation, today's students need to use the Malay Language correctly and should be avid readers, said Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos during the Mekar/Juara Writing Competition Prize Giving Ceremony for primary and secondary students yesterday.

The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports said, "The incorrect use of the Malay language is becoming common nowadays, especially in children and teenagers. This happens when they shorten their words when typing on social networking sites and may incorporate the habit when they write their compositions," he said.

Hj Mohd Rozan then said that if the habit of writing or typing incorrectly continues for ten to twenty years, the country will have people who are unable to communicate properly. This could lead to ineffective communication in society and may cause misunderstandings.

He also said that people should make full use of their free time and one activity they could turn to is to read as reading can assist in developing a society intellectually and shape a creative and dynamic mindset.

"Among the objectives of holding this competition is to instill a culture of reading. This is so that knowledge gained from reading can be established in written form and can also be shared with peers," he said.

The activity of reading among locals still needs to be improved as it not as popular when compared to people from other countries like Japan, China and some European countries whereby they bring along books with them on trains and busses, Hj Mohd Rozan added.

Hjh Sariani Hj Ishak, chairperson of the ceremony, also stressed that the Malay language is facing various threats due to globalisation.

She said that there are those who feel that "only with the English language can people and their country advance even though there are many countries that advance without the use of the English language".

"These people then assume that the promotion of the Malay language will counter development and advancement."

Winners of the essay writing competition in a group photo with the guest of honour, Awg Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youuth and Sports and Hjh Aminah binti Hj Momin, Director of the Language and Literature Bureau. - ACHONG TANJONG
Hjh Sariani also advised that children should be guided from early on to enable them to realise that they possess of a language that can improve the standards of their nation.

The prize giving ceremony was held yesterday at the Balai Sarmayuda at the Language and Library Hall (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka). The objective of the competition is also to familiarise students with writing with the correct usage of the Malay language and to encourage an interest in reading among the youth.

This year's competition was open to students from primary and secondary schools in the country.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

Saturday, November 24, 2012

World Children's Day in Kuala Belait

Awg Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, receives the resolution from Dyg Haidahtul Aleeyah of SR Tumpuan Telisai.
Kuala Belait, 23 November 2012 - The World Children's Day celebration, organised by the Community Development Centre (JAPEM) with the theme "Appreciate Our Voice", concluded yesterday at the Belait Convention Hall with the presentation of outputs from participants and a resolution presentation by a participant representative.

The guest of honour at the event was Awg Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, who also presented tokens of appreciation and certificates to sponsors and facilitators as well as forum participants.

The forum resolution was delivered by Dyg Haidahtul Aleeyah binti Abdul Rashid, a Year Six excellent student from Tumpuan Telisai Primary School, who later handed the resolution to the guest of honour.

The guest of honour and invited guests viewing the forum presentations made by the participating students
During the forum, a total of eight resolutions were discussed and cohesively formulated by some 150 students from secondary and primary schools in the Belait and Tutong Districts.

One of the resolutions covered was on the issue of bullying in school. The resoulution states that bullying should be eradicated and victims of such acts should not be afraid to report the matter to the relevant authorities. It also highlighted the importance of promoting awareness on the benefits and dangers of social networking sites.

Awg Hj Mohd Rozan handing over the certificate to one of the recipients.
The youths also understood the hardships faced by single parents in raising their families and advised divorced parents to continue fulfilling their obligations.

They then emphasised that individuals with special needs (OBK) should be given opportunities in employment and be the main agenda in any kind of policy formulation in the country. A specialised infrastructure for OBK should also be constructed.

A student receiving her certificate from the guest of honour.
The forum involved some 20 facilitators from various government and non-government agencies. According to lead facilitator Dyg Noor Hidayah binti Hj Osman, Community Development Officer at JAPEM, the facilitators' main objectives were to encourage the students to voice out their opinions and ideas alongside their discussion topics, which included education, social protection and Islamic Religious Knowledge.

"The hall has been lively with the sounds of their discussions and they have also been (taking) their own initiatives in their final presentation. Some even decided to make a role play out of the topic given," said Dyg Noor Hidayah.

-- courtesy Borneo Bulletin --
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Music Scene in Brunei in 1950s and 1960s

This is another article about the past in Brunei from Haji Mohd Daud bin Abd Rahman published in Borneo Bulletin on 5th November 2012:
 
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AB Suhaili, an accordian player performing in 1959.
(Photo: Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)
Reflecting on the music and the entertainment scene of the yesteryears, youths in Brunei started getting into modern music in the late 1950s.

However, the traditional musical instruments and Bruneian songs that have been passed down to our generation by our elders were not forgotten.

In 1959 and 1960, Bruneian youngsters were already forming bands under the influence of famous bands such as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In 1959, these youths started to play in bands for wedding receptions, birthdays and anniversary parties.

Rayuan Irama Band, 1968. (Photo: Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)
During that time, most of the songs had classic and slow rhythms which were favoured by the elders. There was also the 'Bintang Radio' competition organised in 1963 for fans of old, traditional Malay 'Keroncong' and 'Zapin' songs.

After that from 1966 to 1969, bands started naming themselves to gain popularity. Amongst the musicians and bands famous in that era include Kugiran Irama Perindu, Seri Wana Combo, Saroga, Rayuan Irama, Melati Puteh, D'Idaman, The Hunters and many others. Notable male singers included Ak Tajudin Pg Mangong, Hussein Hj Tuah, Ak Mas Emran, Ali Paun and many others.

D'Idaman Band's lead singer performer, 1968 (Photo: Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)
Female talents that stood out included Sahara Ahmad, Sukaimi Hj Talip, Nosiah A Hamid, Siti Mariam Yusof, Julia Chee and many others. Bruneian singers, musicians and bands were no less impressive than their counterparts in Malaysia and Singapore and some even recorded their songs into vinyl records.

Today, these musicians and bands of the yesteryears are remembered because even to this day their voices and music are played on the radio.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

International Children's Day in Brunei 2012

Together with the world, Brunei celebrated Children's Day on 20th November 2012. The event was opened officially by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports who spoke about concerns of abuse and threat to children. Here is Brunei Times news report about the Children's Day celebrations in Brunei:-

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Kuala Belait, 20th November 2012 - A CURRENT phenomena of unlawful treatment of innocent young children who are abandoned and are unable to fend for themselves was highlighted as a cause for concern by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) during the Children's Day celebration yesterday.

Therefore, it is with much hope that the world wide celebration, would serve as a reminder for people to realise their mistakes and halt any unlawful actions that threaten children's rights, said Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah.

More so for parents as they play an integral role in shaping their children's future as they are the future generation who will carry on the cultural tradition of the country. Hence, they should push their children towards becoming assets to the country, YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair said.

The minister then elaborated that children who are nurtured and taught early are more likely to succeed in their life as an individual who are disciplined, motivated and have good morals as they will better integrate themselves in society if they are given love and will be more compassionate and sensitive towards their surroundings.

The Minister visiting the exhibition booths during the Children's Day celebrations in Kuala Belait.
(Photo: Borneo Bulletin)
Another important factor in nurturing children is for parents to communicate with them, said the Minister. By communicating with their children, parents will be able to understand and encourage their children when they have problems. This includes giving support to their children even if they want to pursue something that is different to the parents' wishes as long as what the children want is in accordance to religious teachings and is morally good.

However, children would also have to do their part. They should distance themselves from negative social behaviour and instead equip themselves with good values, a sense of responsibility, discipline, competitiveness and creativity to prepare themselves for success, the minister pointed out.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair then added that children in this country have been blessed with various facilities and support in terms of health, education, protection from the law, a peaceful environment and welfare assistance from the government.

The minister's speech was part of the opening ceremony of a Children's Day two-day celebration organised by The Department of Community Development (JAPEM). The world wide celebration aims to promote the safety, peace and welfare of children and to let children know of their rights.

This aim will be reinforced at the celebration in which Hjh Misnah Hj Bolhassan, Director of Community Development at JAPEM and chairwoman of the celebration, said in her opening speech that on the second day, the students will take part in a discussion to identify issues among children. The students will also be given the chance to share their individual issues during one of the group sessions as part of the rights of children to speak out on their views.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, The Brunei Times interviewed some students who were present at the ceremony held at the Conference Hall in Kuala Belait (KB).

According to Year Nine students Nur Ema Mohd Shadan and Faazieqa Saang from Chung Ching Secondary School in Seria, children are prone to negative influence from adults such as smoking, taking drugs and underaged driving. They feel that more should be done to discourage children from venturing into negative behaviour.

Whereas, Juwairiyah Erawan, a Year 10 student from Perdana Wazir Secondary School in KB, suggested that schools should organise more activities for the students to give them more things to pursue in their free time. She feels that by providing more activities for students, students will less likely loiter in public places and meet with negative influence. Some of the suggestions she shared include organising talent shows, visits to places after school exams and having interschool sports events.

A hundred and fifty students from a number of primary and secondary schools in Belait and Tutong districts will be involved in the forum-based celebration. At the forum, the students will be given the opportunity to share their views on all aspects that are related to children.

Baiduri Bank Group is the main sponsor for the celebration this year. Other sponsors include Sunlit Advertising Sdn Bhd and BruCERT.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kuala Belait and Seria in 1954

In 1954, Kuala Belait and Seria were considered as British Borneo's wealthiest area. The Borneo Bulletin recently did a reprint of a 1954 article about these two areas:

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DECEMBER 4, 1954 - These two special aerial pictures of (below) the oil town of Seria and (above) the commercial centre of Kuala Belait in Brunei State give a comprehensive idea of British Borneo's wealthiest area.

Aerial photo of Seria in 1954 (Photo: Borneo Bulletin)
The blocks of gleaming white buildings seen in the pictures are the recently completed Bazaars of Seria and Kuala Belait, which serve a population whose monthly pay packets run into many millions of dollars.

Aerial photo of Kuala Belait in 1954. (Photo: Borneo Bulletin)
Recognised by all business houses in British Borneo as the best trading area in this region, these two towns situated within seven miles of each other are today witnessing unprecedented expansion and modernisation as more roads are built, swamps reclaimed and buildings spring up in all directions ... stemming from the colossal oil revenues derived from the British Malayan Petroleum Company's ever-growing operations.

Mr E A Duffy, local manager of the North Borneo Trading Company Limited, whose offices are now housed in a modern building in the business area of Kuala Belait, described the general prosperity of this area and its vast potentialities in these words: "The Seria-Kuala Belait area is undoubtedly the best trading centre in British Borneo.

"Consider the enormous individual buying power of the European and Asian population in Seria alone."
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Treasuring the Good Old Times in Brunei

Haji Mohd Daud bin Abd Rahman, the columnist on Borneo Bulletin writing about the past in Brunei had this article recently entitled "Treasuring the Good Old Times" where he reminisced about Brunei in the recent past:

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Those old bittersweet memories of the yesteryears can only be remembered. As time passes by, sweet memories of teenage years will not be forgotten especially birthdays, celebrations, relaxing in the old capital Bandar Brunei, and watching boat races in the rivers of Kampong Ayer.

Spending time with friends at the old Customs Wharf with a view of Jalan Residency in the background
(Photo: Hj Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)

Young children and teenagers enjoyed spending their time at the old Customs Wharf in addition to watching boat races, as well as going to the cinemas, coffee shops and other places for entertainment such as brisk walking and going out for leisure. Besides walking around and window shopping, the teenage boys enjoyed resting at home and listening to the local radio station and also from neighbouring broadcast.

Children listening to a radio broadcast which was the only source of media entertainment back in 1959.
(Photo: Hj Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)
Compared to the teenagers of today who would prefer to spend their time loitering and dressing up inappropriately, teenagers back in the day knew how to dress properly and the proper etiquettes to uphold strong Malay morals and values.

Relaxing at the old Customs Wharf while waiting for a boat race in 1959.
(Photo: Hj Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)
The only way to reminisce or remember the good old times back during the days is through photos.
Young teenagers pose in front of Bangunan Lapau in 1969.
(Photo: Hj Mohd Daud Abd Rahman)
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Traditional Brunei Weddings

Haji Daud bin Haji Abd Rahman who has been able to write almost weekly articles for the Borneo Bulletin wrote another one recently about old Brunei weddings:-

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Traditional Brunei-Malay wedding ceremonies and practices have been passed through and kept alive through the generations and this has ensured the survival of our wedding customs and heritage.
One reason for this is because Brunei-Malay wedding ceremonies and practices have not been altered - it has remained the same since our forefathers.

During the 1950s and 60s, wedding preparations were carried out with a lot of effort and finesse. Before the wedding, copper gangsa, 'dian besar' and 'dian kecil', 'celapa', 'sigup Brunei', 'tikar purun' and 'tikar lampit' will be arranged accordingly.

Cooking utensils and materials such as large pots cooked on mangrove firewood and others are used to prepare dishes such as rice, beef kurma, beef gulai, vegetables, and other delicious dishes.

Furthermore, family members would also be busy repairing and decorating the house, and they are also in charge of carrying out wedding customs for the bride and groom such as 'malam berbedak' and 'berlulut'. A night before the wedding reception or 'bersanding', a night of 'malam berjaga-jaga'(staying up from dusk till dawn) will be carried out by the family members and then followed with a 'mandi berlangir' by the bride and groom early in the morning.


1949 wedding photo with the 'Mak Andam' during 'Malam Bepacar' (Source: Hj Daud Hj Abd Rahman)

1954 Wedding with Bride and Groom and family on the Wedding Dias (Source: Hj Daud Hj Abd Rahman)

1956 Wedding Bersanding Ceremony (Source: Hj Daud Hj Abd Rahman)

1971 Wedding Guests witnessing a wedding ceremony at Kampong Ayer (Source: Hj Daud Hj Abd Rahman)
What makes our wedding customs and heritage so important is that it helps to create a strong foundation for a happy and everlasting marriage.

Friday, November 16, 2012

4G for Brunei Darussalam

The Oxford Business Group on 15 November 2012 reported the following:

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Brunei Darussalam: 4G to target traffic jams
Asia | 15 Nov 2012

A surge in Brunei Darussalam’s mobile data traffic usage at the beginning of 2012 has heightened expectations over the impact that 4G technology will have on the telecommunications sector.

In September, telecoms firm DSTCom revealed that in the first eight months of this year, data usage increased 70% over the same period in 2011, largely due to a rise in the consumption of video streaming sites straining the Sultanate’s telecoms infrastructure.

“The existing 3G technology provides speed and performance, which is increasingly necessary as data growth expands and voice traffic stagnates,” Idris Vasi, the CEO of DST, told OBG. “Data is a big driver for 4G, or long-term evolution (LTE); a lot of operators are using 4G as a data offload strategy, because 3G networks are getting congested. New apps and services require more and more data, including more video. Therefore, it’s not really a question of how the market will accept 4G; the rise in data traffic will make it essential.”

Mobile penetration levels in the Sultanate soared to 120% in 2012 from 32% in 2001, with estimated subscriptions reaching 505,000, despite the population numbering some 406,000. This increase parallels a rapid maturing of the mobile market, illustrated by high usage of social media and the widespread adoption of SMS for the delivery of several services, including school examination results.

While DSTCom boasts a 78% share of the market, Research and Markets, an Ireland-based research firm, has predicted this could narrow in coming years with principal rival B-Mobile Communications gaining a 26.7% market share by 2015. The latter was the first to offer 3G services in 2005 and now says it has around 100,000 subscribers.

“We know that we are still considered a small company, but we want to set ourselves apart from the competitors,” Faadzilah Raheemah Safri Mohdzar, a marketing executive at B-Mobile, said in February, adding that the company plans to focus on quality over quantity.

However, DSTCom appears set to further improve its position through the introduction of 4G internet, which offers much faster speeds. The firm said in September that 4G could be rolled out as soon as the first quarter of 2013, and that it plans to offer bundled packages in the form of USB dongles, tablets and other devices, following successful 4G trials in June.

Swedish firm Ericsson estimated earlier this year that up to 80% of new activations in the Sultanate are smartphones, each of which is likely accompanied by a mobile broadband service package.

Given the additional speeds offered by 4G, which can be up to 50 Mbps, or three times current 3G speeds, the telecoms operator wants to move away from flat-rate pricing to a model that better reflects the maturity and demands of the local market. In 2011, DST’s 3G network was upgraded to 14.4 Mbps and is set to be further improved to 21 Mbps by 2013.

There are likely to be wider financial benefits from 4G for the country, which under its national development plan, Wawasan 2035, hopes to shift to a knowledge-based economy by encouraging emerging industries, such as information and communications technology. Recent research into the potential of 4G in the UK economy by Capital Economics estimated that the UK’s adoption of the new technology could unlock $8.83bn of direct private investment and boost economic growth by 0.5% of GDP.

The introduction of 4G is also likely to raise social issues, given the spate of controversies that have hit the global mobile market in recent months. Incidents ranging from viruses and scams suggesting that subscribers can earn $20 for forwarding SMS messages to hoax kidnappings spread through Twitter underline that the country’s regulators will need to develop firmer legislation for the local market in the coming years.

Likely in response to challenges raised by 4G, the popularity of smartphones and increasing social media usage, the Authority for Info-communication Technology Industry (AITI) has targeted improved regulation of the sector. In April, the AITI called for the development of a “one-stop shop” telecommunications and broadcasting regulatory regime.

Technology convergence represented by the “blurring” of mobile services, fixed-line telephony services, radio and internet-based broadcasts, “requires that Brunei’s regulatory framework for telecom firms and the broadcasting sector evolves to accommodate trends and opportunities,” said AITI.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Escaping Poverty

Haji Mohd Rozan presenting a prize to one of the best participants (Source: Media Permata)
Bandar Seri Begawan, 9 November 2012 - The first Poverty Eradication Workshop, which was organised by the Community Development Department ( JAPEM) in conjunction with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2012, was officially closed yesterday.

Certificates were presented by Awg Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Also present were other senior government officials and staff of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

JAPEM is meanwhile set to hold charity car boot sales in all four districts for three days starting tomorrow. All proceeds from the sales will be channelled to the National Charity Fund.

A representative of the participants thanked the organising committee for the workshop, which had provided them with beneficial advice and knowledge.

JAPEM, the Brunei Islamic Religious Council and the Ministry of Education shared with the participants factors that contributed to poverty such as the habits of too much dependence on government handouts and the debt burden.

The participants discussed the causes of poverty, buying trends and mindsets that could contribute towards poverty and the ways to solve financial difficulties and to escape from the poverty trap.

Representatives from various sectors, including Hj Zainal bin Hj Sapar, Manager of Soto Rindu Restaurant, representatives from LiveWIRE Brunei, the Employees' Provident Fund (TAP) and Baiduri Bank, shared experiences and knowledge.

The two-day workshop was attended by some 125 government personnel, representatives from the Women's Business Council, the Women's Council Community Welfare Council and clients of JAPEM.

The workshop served as a platform for the participants to share information and ideas and to identify underprivileged groups that need to be tended to. The issues discussed were causes of poverty and the mentality of the community towards the culture of taking on debts. The workshop also involved experience sharing on financial management and entrepreneurship towards generating family's economy.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2012 was sponsored by Sunlit Advertising Sdn Bhd, Jackson Sdn Bhd, Newera Air Conditioning and Engineering and Soto Rindu Restaurant.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Friday, November 09, 2012

Sports Spur Social Progress


Haji Mohd Rozan speaking at the Closing of the 1st Brunei Sports Convention and Expo
(Source: Media Permata)

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina presenting certificates to one of the particpating delegates
(Source: Media Permata)

Bandar Seri Begawan, 9 November 2012 - Sports have an impact on citizens at both the personal and national levels, according to said Awg Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) in his capacity as Co-Secretary of the Main Organising Committee 2012.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the Brunei Sports Convention and Expo 2012, Awg Hj Mohd Rozan agreed with Mr Stephen Baddeley's perspective on the effect of sports at the personal level.

Sports can help contribute towards building up a person's self-esteem and development of mental and physical growth, he said, adding that sports can help inculcate values such as dedication, discipline and responsibility.

On the national level, he referred to the important roles of sports in creating healthy and positive relations within a society, as stated by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports during the opening ceremony.

He hoped that the convention and expo would further enhance awareness, knowledge and education on the dynamism and contribution of sports towards the socio, economic progress of Brunei Darussalam.

"I sincerely hope that all delegates have taken this golden opportunity through the convention to increase their knowledge, exchange ideas, experiences and opinions on sports development-related issues; gained better understanding on sports for all; the sports for excellence and the Sport Industry; and for the improvement of the future of sports development in Brunei Darussalam," he said.

Awg Hj Mohd Rozan noted that the three-day workshop had been exciting, motivating and productive especially on the choice of useful and important topics. He was also pleased with the efforts of the speakers and facilitators in trying to open the eyes of the participants to be more positive and proactive towards sports for excellence.

"One of the main objectives of this 2012 Brunei Sports Convention and Expo is to get more information and feedback from our participants on sports-related matters through the interactive workshops and survey, which have been conducted, with guidance from our foreign and local speakers and facilitators.

With this feedback, the resolution produced would contribute towards reviewing our National Sports Policy," he said.

Awg Hj Mohd Rozan expressed contentment on the Sports Expo which attracted young visitors interested in sports.

"Sports portrayal and showcases that have been exhibited," he said, "have given opportunities to young individuals to try the interactive sports games available. It is hoped that the convention and expo would be able to increase public awareness among the younger generation and prove to them that sports can create opportunities in business."

The ceremony continued with the reading of the Sports Convention Resolution 2012 by Awg Hj Mohd Rozan.

Datin Paduka Hjh Adina binti Othman, the Acting Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, officiated the closing ceremony of the Sports Convention and presented certificates to sponsors and other parties.

The closing ceremony was also attended by Hj Mohammad bin Hj Abd Rahman, acting deputy permanent secretaries, senior officers of MCYS, sponsors and government and non-government agency representatives.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Resolutions of the 1st Brunei Sports Convention and Expo

HRH The Crown Prince visiting booths at the 1st Brunei Sports Convention and Expo
(Source: Infofoto)
This morning, the participants of the 1st Innaugural Sports Convention and Expo at the International Conference Centre in Berakas came out with their resolution after their three day conference.  The convention was officially open by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince on Tuesday, 6th November 2012.

So what do our sportsmen need? Here are their wishes:-

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FINAL RESOLUTION

The inaugural Brunei Sports Convention and Expo 2012 under the patronage of The Honourable Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Brunei Darussalam held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas on 6 – 8 November 2012, concluded its work by adapting to the following resolutions:

• Recalling that the aim of the Convention is to give special attention and commitment to the development and excellence of sports in Brunei Darussalam,

• Recalling that the aim of the Convention is to inspire and draw attention from the power of sports in Brunei and to promote and encourage equal attraction towards sports from both males and females,

• Welcoming the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Department of Youth and Sports, and the respective associations under the Department of Youth and Sports and other government agencies and the private sector to promote public awareness in sports in Brunei Darussalam, knowledge and education on the dynamism and contribution of sports towards the socio-economic development,

Wishing to take advantage of opportunities to highlight and engineer sports excellence in Brunei Darussalam over the next five to ten years, in particular towards achieving success in major sporting events specifically the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

Participants, delegates and the panel of experts SUPPORTED and WELCOMED the following resolutions:

1. CONGRATULATE the Sports Convention and Expo 2012 Organizing Committee from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, for a successful convention and expo which demonstrated the benefits of working collaboratively in a positive way, especially in strengthening the network committed towards advancing sports excellence.
 
2. URGE the relevant stakeholders to be more Athlete Centered, Coach Driven and Knowledge Based.

3. REQUEST that the Government implement, reinforce and coordinate policies in high performance programmes with collaborative efforts between relevant ministries and agencies.

4. CALL for good governance, leadership culture and responsibility through the use of integrated approaches with stakeholders of the sports policy that will result in effective and efficient decisions.

5. REQUEST that the national sports associations set their goals and put forward achievable targets aiming for medal prospects in a good time frame leading to the hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

6. RECOGNIZE the importance of sports and proactively engaging the nation as a catalyst for peace and unity, holistic wellness and socio-economic development.

7. CULTIVATE a legacy driven sports culture which inspires, motivates and shares skills and opportunities that will continuously allow individuals to grow.

8. ENCOURAGE the Government to include mandatory physical education in school curricula, develop training and improve the status of physical education teachers and sports educators.

9. PRIORITISE high performance sports and long term athlete development programmes with the aim of achieving top regional medalists and gradually to international medalists.

10. IDENTIFY AND FOCUS core sports that can acquire high contribution of medal.

11. UTILIZE current talent identification programmes in order to generate greater quality athletes who are passionate, committed, willing to learn, confident, determined and resilient for the high performance pool.

12. CULMINATE a diverse human resource pool that comprises of coaches, professional athletes supports services, efficient administrative teams, sponsoring parties and reputable media.

13. CALL for coaches who advocate long term development through specific training methods and the use of sports science to fully develop athletes’ potential and competitive edge in becoming top regional medalists and gradually to international medalists.

14. UTILIZE professional coaching knowledge and skills for optimum and sustainable success that can contribute towards building a qualified pool of coaches in Brunei.

15. EMPHASIZE continuous coaching enhancement programmes locally and internationally.

16. EMPHASIZE the necessity of applied sports sciences, including but not limited to, sports nutrition, sports biomechanics, sports psychology, sports physiology  and sports medicine.

17. ADVOCATE the importance of sports science knowledge and prevention of doping towards target groups such as athletes, coaches, sports administrators, general practitioners, educators and students.

18. CALL for collaborative efforts between relevant ministries and departments that will contribute towards athletes’ welfare including, but not limited to, education and career development, incentives, personal development and patriotism through team building.

19. ENCOURAGE parents to be more aware and supportive of the sports cycle to ensure athletes’ sustainability and success.

20. DEMONSTRATE and MOTIVATE parents in acknowledging how balance between academics and sports will contribute towards a well rounded athlete through collaborative efforts with academics institutes by providing flexibility in their curricular in line with their training programmes.

21. REQUEST to be equipped with state of the art sporting facilities and infrastructure frame leading to the hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

22. URGE investments in the building and upgrading of facilities and infrastructure that will boost high performance in sports, contribute towards tourism and integrate sports and physical activities across a spectrum of sectors such as health, education and economic development.

23. EMPHASIZE that all future sports facilities with strategic locations which are safe, accessible and eco-friendly to holistically   serve athletes and the community.

24. STRONGLY request for the establishment an institute of sports in Brunei to facilitate all the implementation of the resolutions derived, for a better understanding of the essential facets that will contribute to athletes being able to reach beyond regional levels.

25. REQUEST for integral funding considerations from the government and private sectors as partners (Public Private Partnerships, PPP) to achieve aims of developing and enhancing all sectors in the sports industry which in turn will contribute to the national aspirations in sports.

26. ENCOURAGE frequent dialogue sessions, networking, forums, workshops, conferences and conventions as a continuity to improve sports in Brunei.

27. CALL UPON all participants of this convention to collaborate with relevant parties on decision making processes, implementation and further acquisition of knowledge, that will contribute towards a greater sphere of influence for the future of sports in Brunei.

23 Zulhijjah 1433, 8 November 2012
International Convention Centre, Berakas
Brunei Darussalam

Monday, November 05, 2012

Brunei Sports Convention, 6 - 11 November 2012


Brunei Sports Convention Expo, Bandar Seri Begawan
6 - 11 November 2012

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INTRODUCTION

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is taking a pro active action in planning programs for sports enthusiasts in Brunei to share experiences, knowledge as well as get feedback from the commmunity with regard to the development of sports and sports performances thus far.

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OBJECTIVE

To provide opportunities to stakeholders and sports enthusiasts to discuss and collaborate experiences and knowledge on currents issues with regard to the development of sports in Brunei and to get feedback from the community with regard to the sports development and sports achivements. This Convention is expected to be attended by 500 particpants from both within and outside Brunei.

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ORGANISERS

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports with strategic partners

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DATES AND VENUE

The Convention will be held from 6 to 8 November 2012 and the Expo will be from 6 to 11 November 2012 at the International Conference Centre in Berakas.

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TARGET

Between 400 to 500 participants are expected to attend the convention made up of Athletes, Coaches and Assistant Coaches, Members of the National Sports Associations, Students, Youths, Government Officers, PE Teachers, 'Stakeholders' including the NGOS, ASEAN Member States participants, the private sector and companies related to the sports and recreation industry.

Around 80 booths are expected to join the Sports Expo made up of agencies and companies dealing with sports products, recreation, health, medical and sports technology from Brunei and outside Brunei.

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CONFERENCE FORMAT

The theme for the Conference is “Sports For Excellence”. Involving Plenary Sessions and Interactive Workshops which will be discssing three main topics:

• Sports for All
• High Performance Sports
• Sports and Tourism Industry

Topics for the Plenary Sessions:

• Sport for Peace and Development;
• Do Sports or Die Young?
• Sports System for Success Model
• Creating Olympic Medals success.
• Sports Industry Generates Sporting and Economic Opportunities
• Why Sports Science?

Topics for the Iinteractive Workshops:

• Collaboration and leadership in Sports;
• Sports Should be Fun!
• Women, can also do Sports!
• Making a living out of sports!
• Finding the Special One!
• Using Science to optimize performances.
• Brunei Challenges - Gold Matters!
• The journey to Olympic Games - Athletes Perspectives
• Critical Success Factors!
• Investment opportunities and risks
• The Making of World Class Sporting Venues and Infrastructure
• Sports Technology: Creating new opportunities in growing sports business

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PROGRAM FOR CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS

First Day – 6 November 2012
Registration - (7.30 – 9.00 am)
Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address - (9.30 - 12.00 noon)
Convention / Interactive Workshops - (2.00 – 4.00 pm)

Second Day – 7 November 2012
Registration – (7.30 – 8.30 am)
Convention / Interactive Workshops – (8.30 – 12.00 noon)
Convention / Interactive Workshops - (2.00 – 4.00 pm)

Third Day – 8 November 2012
Registration – (7.30 – 8.30 am)
Convention / Interactive Workshop – (8.30 – 10.00 am)
Closing Ceremony and Resolutions - (10.15 – 10.45 am)

Fourth – Sixth Day - 9 to 11 November 2012
Expo (8.30 am – 10.00 pm)

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EXPO

5 Zones -  6 to 11 November 2012

i) Sports & Fitness Zone;

• Sports Associations
• Government Bodies
• Sport TV Channels
• Sports Magazines
• Sports Equipment
• Sportswear

ii) The Natural Health Zone;

• Health Food, supplement and beverages
• Herbal and natural health remedies
• Dietary and herbal supplements
• Vitamins
• Organic Food and beverages
• Nutrition Products

iii) The Tourism Zone;

• Sports Tourism
• Health Tourism
• Agrotourism
• Magazines / Publications
• Tourism Associations
• Chambers of Commerce

iv) Spa & Wellness Zone;

• Spa & Wellness equipment and products
• Medical supplies
• Wellbeing, relaxation and beauty items
• Health retreats, beauty & wellness centers
• Massage products & equipment
• Saunas and Jacuzzis
• Education & publications and the latest developments and enhancement in spa techniques and technology

v) Alternative Medicine Zone;

• Aromatherapy products and treatments
• Crystal therapy sessions
• Reiki (Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing)
• Bach Remedies – flower therapy

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Oxford Business Group had this report about Brunei issued on 1 November 2012:

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Brunei Darussalam: Sowing seeds of self-sufficiency
Asia | 1 Nov 2012

Plans to boost high-tech farming initiatives and enter into agribusiness deals with neighbours bode well for Brunei Darussalam’s long-term food security ambitions. However, challenges such as limited land and human resources will prove hard to overcome.

At a workshop on October 17, Hasnah Ibrahim, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR), called for the nation to focus on an “agricultural biotechnology” strategy to build capacity in agricultural and food production.

“Food security is one of the MIPR’s most important clusters and strategic initiatives,” she said, adding that one of the key ways to improve agricultural self-sufficiency is to use advances in science and technology, “through the application of biotechnology”.

In May, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) signed a deal to advance research and capacity in biotechnology, including recommendations for a legal framework concerning genetically modified (GM) agri-products and the possible establishment of a centre for agriculture biotechnology in the Sultanate.

Such advances will likely prove key to the government’s plans to achieve 60% food self-sufficiency by 2015. The issue is increasingly important, as the country currently imports some 80% of its food needs, including 97% of daily staple, rice.

There have already been some successes through the introduction of intensive farming training, improved infrastructure and the installation of irrigation pipes. As a result, rice production rose to 2140 tonnes in 2011 from 1649 tonnes the previous year.

“We would encourage people who have their own land and who are interested in padi [rice] farming [to get involved in the government’s rice-growing programme], and we would support them by providing them with the subsidies and the incentives that the local farmers get,” Mariam Omar, the acting assistant director of agriculture extension at the DAA, told The Brunei Times on October 16.

The Sultanate is also investing in neighbouring countries to improve food supplies and manufacturing, with plans to create large-scale farming projects in the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah to grow raw materials for various sectors. Only around 5% of Brunei Darussalam’s land area of 5765 sq km is considered viable for agriculture, with 75% of the country covered by protected tropical rainforests.

David Chen, a project manager at Singapore-based Sunland Agri-Tech, said earlier this year that such lease farming gives the Sultanate an opportunity to increase its supply and gain experience in hybrid rice technology.

“Overseas contract farming is a model Brunei can look at,” Chen told The Brunei Times. “Brunei has many bilateral relationships with many countries, and with the maturation of hybrid rice technology in Brunei, the technology could be brought to other nations where arable land is more abundant and production costs are lower.”

A rice breed developed between the DAA and Sunland is already raising expectations, with Chang-Xiang Mao, a professor at the Guangxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences, predicting in October that home-grown Beras Titih – named after the diligence and hard work of local rice farmers – could put the country on the map. “If we develop hybrid rice technology here, we can export to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines,” Mao said.

In 2011, the MIPR announced plans to increase padi farm hectarage by 285% to more than 5000 ha from the current 1300 ha as part of plans to aims to raise self-sufficiency in the national staple to 20% by 2015. However, officials at the time admitted that land is scarce and rules on forest protection are strict.

Critics have also said that there is a need to improve “technical efficiency”. Fadil Galawat, a professor in the faculty of agriculture at Japan’s Kyushu University, in July 2012 completed a survey that found that average technical efficiency in Brunei is 76%, while “profit efficiency” could be improved by 19% through better use of resources and technologies.

The issue is likely linked to growing disinterest among younger generations in entering the agriculture industry. With many farmers reaching their retirement age, young Bruneians aspire to government jobs or other sectors, rather than join what they see as an outdated lifestyle.

Observers say that the government needs to respond by creating a more conducive environment for youth and graduate students so that they can go back to villages and get involved in farming.

While the number of initiatives to improve food self-sufficiency is indeed impressive, the government could do more to encourage private sector involvement in basic food production. This and an increase in lease farming should improve prospects of hitting ambitious targets.

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Friday, November 02, 2012

Royal Brunei - The New Look

Royal Brunei Airlines new look from 2012 onwards
(Photo Source: Royal Brunei Airlines)
Bandar Seri Begawan - Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) reveals its new livery and logo on 30th October 2012 at an event held at Hangar 1, Brunei International Airport. The new livery and logo was revealed on an Airbus A320, which was painted by RB’s own in-house engineering team.

Attending the event was the Minister of Communications, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar as Guest of Honour, as well as RB’s Chairman and Board of Directors, staff and other invited guests.

Included in the guest list were some of the country’s national icons: Two of Brunei’s Olympians, Maziah Mahusin, Brunei’s first female Olympian who represented Brunei at the London Summer Olympics in the 400m run, Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi who represented Brunei at the London Summer Olympics in the 400m run, the Under-21 football team who were the champions of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in March 2012, and the Kilimanjaro team an all-female team who raised the Brunei Flag at the highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2001.

Prior to the reveal, Royal Brunei Airlines has been releasing teasers of its redefinition of travel to in the local market, both via print and online adverts and the “Smile Squad”; who has been sparking public curiosity over the past two weeks. The Smiles Squad has been spotted in different parts of the country, spreading genuine smiles and good cheer to the public.

Mr. Dermot Mannion, Deputy Chairman of RB, said “Over the next year, we will be redefining the Royal Brunei Airlines flying experience, starting with our classic styled new livery and logo. This redefinition is not merely an ad campaign, but rather a long term commitment to our passengers to create a family-like, peaceful and tranquil atmosphere with high class customer service.

The new livery and logo is the first step on RB’s rebranding journey. Over the next year, the national carrier will be rolling out a new website experience (including new social media experience), new uniforms and new lounge and ticket office environments. The completion of the rebranding process will be timed to coincide with the entry into service of 787 Boeing Dreamliners 1st September 2013, making RB the first airline in South-East Asia to take delivery of this ultra modern aircraft.

- Press Release -

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Who will remember these RBA liveries?

Original RBA livery (Source: www.flyawaysimulation.com)

Current and Soon to be Replaced RBA livery (Source: www.flyawaysimulation.com)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Brunei Ministerial Statement at UN ESCAP Disabled Conference

The Brunei Darussalam Delegation led by Datin Paduka Hajah Adina, Deputy Minister
of Culture, Youth and Sports at the UN-ESCAP High Level Inter-Governmental Meeting
on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of the Disabled
Persons 2003-2012 in Incheon, South Korea


The Ministerial Segment of the  High Level Inter-Governmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of the Disabled Persons 2003-2012 held by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UN-ESCAP) is this morning. YM Datin Adina gave this statement:

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YM Datin Paduka Hajah Adina delivering her statement

Excellencies, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Government of Brunei Darussalam, allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of the Republic of Korea for hosting this meeting and on behalf of the Brunei Darussalam’s delegation, I wish to express our sincere appreciation for the cordial welcome and warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival here as well as for the excellent arrangements of this meeting.

Disability rights are universal rights to be recognized and promoted around the world.  We join you here today to reaffirm our commitment to take affirmative action to make the rights real for PWDs to ensure their real participation in society, in contributing to the economy, and in the support of their families.

In Brunei Darussalam, we believe that the prime mover for the development of persons with disabilities lies with the government, notwithstanding the role played by civil society. According to the national register of PWDs kept by the Department of Community Development, the number of PWDs stood at 4,148 with the percentage of disabled persons in Brunei Darussalam at 1.06% of the total population.

Brunei Darussalam is strongly committed to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are realized and are given high priority in the national agenda.  The National Council on Social Issues has identified the rights of PWDs as one of the issues which need to be addressed and has established a Special Committee on Persons with disabilities and the elderly in 2008.  This committee has formulated a national plan of action on PWDs to promote the rights and full participation of the PWDs in the society. The Plan of Action addresses issues on access to health, education, buildings, transport, employment, protection, participation, finance and includes programmes on advocacy and data collection.


Health services are free for all citizens. For PWDs, early detection programmes are conducted by the Child Development Centre of the Ministry of Health which provides services to facilitate the diagnosis, assessment, treatment and support therapy for children in order to ensure their optimal health and development. 

Education is provided free to all Brunei citizens. Our inclusive education policy provided through special needs teachers in many schools ensures the mainstreaming of PWDs’ perspectives in development. 9 Model Inclusive Schools have been established as centres of Excellence for special needs students who excel in their studies .  Such schools are allocated additional funding and support to ensure they have the necessary school facilities, special learning equipment or resources, specialist support services, and teacher training programmes to provide quality inclusive education for a wide range of students with diverse learning needs.

In terms of access to buildings, legislative provision to provide a disabled friendly environment is being drafted in the Building Control Order, under the purview of the Ministry of Development. Currently, developers of new buildings are advised to install accessibility support for PWDs in their building designs. On public transport, the 5-year road map of the Ministry of Communication provides for disable-friendly public transport accessibility.

In term of access to information and communications, the Ministry of Communication is also considering a disabled friendly approach in access to information and technologies which focus towards the visual, hearing and intellectual impaired.

In terms of training and employment, skills training and job attachments programmes are also provided for PWDs by the Community Development Department as well as NGOs. There is increased public awareness on the capabilities of persons with disabilities which is reflected in the increasing number of PWDs being employed either in the public and private sectors.  For PWD entrepreneurs, micro-credit finance facilities in the form of grants and loans, without collateral and guarantor are also provided by the Government.

Social security in the form of financial pensions are provided to PWDs and their dependants under the Old Age and Disability Pensions Act, 1954.

Excellencies, delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Brunei Darussalam signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 18 December 2007 and is in the process of drafting our Disability Order. This will ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of the disabled from a rights-based approach towards an inclusive and barrier-free society for PWDs.

In recognition of the role of NGOs for PWDs, the Government provides assistance through voluntary salary deductions for civil servants to contribute to NGOs. In addition, PWD associations are allocated complimentary land for their building premises, whereby the Government provides communal halls and architectural designs free of charge while the cost of constructing the building premises will be borne by the PWD associations.

Excellencies, delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

As we progress, Brunei Darussalam is looking further into mainstreaming of PWDs not merely from the aspect of social safety net and financial security but more so in providing access to facilities for their development and towards protecting them. The challenges ahead include the need to provide capacity building of our care givers and those entrusted to empower the PWDs. We need to review existing legislation and policies and amending them to take into account the disabled-perspective. We need to incorporate ICF into the definition of PWDs and we need to enhance current efforts to change the mindset of our people on the capabilities of PWDs and the need to shift from a charity-based approach to a rights-based approach.  Much has been said on the rights of PWDs and we welcome the theme of this meeting in making these rights real. We look forward to participating in the forthcoming Asian Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities. 

Thank you

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Inspirational Quotes

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