2013 Legislative Council



His Majesty officially opened the new Legislative Council session yesterday. His speech focused on three things:

+ Members to have meaningful deliberations
+ Estate Duty abolished to spur domestic investment
+ Efforts to strengthen the economy top priority

+++++

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Friday, March 8, 2013 - WITH effect from January 1, 2013, any outstanding taxes on estate duty will be struck off the books as estate duty itself will no longer exist.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday announced this at the official opening of the Ninth Legislative Council as part of efforts to encourage investments within the country.

Even with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently depicting a more positive outlook for the global economic situation, His Majesty's concerns still remain as the world continues to be overshadowed by the global economic crisis which is feared to possibly affect the livelihood of citizens and residents.

The state of the fiscal, financial and economic systems in several countries remain in turmoil and continue to be tested, said His Majesty, "this is why it is imperative for my government to carry on and redouble efforts to strengthen the national economy and its growth".

One of the primary needs, the monarch said, was to improve business and trade and to attract more foreign investments. His Majesty pointed out that the government would endeavour to create a more conducive atmosphere for foreign investment, and that upstream and downstream industries in the energy sector would continue to be strengthened as the key contributor to Brunei's economy.

Meanwhile, progress in the non-energy areas of the private sector will continue to be facilitated as it is being done at present, the monarch added.

Be proactive, not complacent

His Majesty in his titah, was very critical of the role of the Legislative Council members, particularly those appointed into office.

Touching on his government's contributions, those in the form of essential infrastructure will be continued.

"The $6.5 billion budget under the 10th National Development Plan to finance national development projects is a huge commitment from our government."

"All these (projects) should get serious attention from Legislative Council members, especially appointed members. They should offer as many opinions and suggestions on the matter as possible."

The monarch went on to say it was "not enough" to simply ask a lot of questions, without offering constructive ideas.

"Nor is it acceptable to just speak of the figures allocated in the budget without looking at what they are for and how they are utilised effectively and efficiently. All these undeniably, need the viewpoints of council members."

His Majesty said it was believed that members, in particular appointed members, were already aware and know the areas that are being developed under government planning.

"So, is it not timely that they must also offer their own views and opinions?" His Majesty questioned.

The monarch called on appointed members to offer their opinions and ideas on ways to improve education, improve the quality of health, overcome unemployment and promote tourism, as well as agriculture, fisheries and the environment.

In the areas of religion and legislation, His Majesty said views and opinions were also required. For instance, on tidying up and facilitating the process of implementation.

Similarly on social issues, the monarch said that means and ways on how best to effectively address and overcome crime and other social ills needed to be addressed.

"In short, the field is wide and open for full discussion and deliberation. If there is a good and heated debate among the members on the (related) issues, the purpose of this session will then become more meaningful."

"In my opinion, this is what the members of the general public are eagerly waiting for. They want to hear, they like to know what progress and development is taking place in this country through the status of government projects that are completed, as well as those being implemented," His Majesty added.

"This is a big responsibility for the appointed members. As grassroots leaders, it is required of each and every one of them to get to know personally and in full, government initiatives that were or are being implemented, encompassing all aspects and areas of religion, economy, education, infrastructure and mentality, and security."

Through this, LegCo members will then be regarded as having brought forth the Legislative Council as a respectable institution, said His Majesty.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

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