Thursday, February 28, 2013

Brunei Darussalam: Retail anti-piracy drive

Economic Update from Oxford Business Group 25 February 2013.


Brunei Darussalam: Retail anti-piracy drive
Asia | 25 Feb 2013

Retailers in Brunei Darussalam are being urged to step up their role in the battle against piracy as reforms targeting the sale of illegal counterfeits gain pace. The Sultanate hopes a nationwide crackdown, together with an anti-piracy awareness campaign, will prove instrumental in improving both the investment environment and retailers’ bottom lines. However, critics say there is still room to strengthen legislation and the enforcement drive.

In December 2012, the Recording Industry of Malaysia (RIM) recommended that Brunei Darussalam be removed from the US Trade Representative’s “Special 301 Watch List”, which covers violations of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

RIM backed up its recommendation by citing recent raids carried out by the Sultanate’s authorities on vendors of pirated recordings in the capital. The clampdown came after Brunei Darussalam moved to shore up IPR protection last May by setting up both a patents office and the Bruneian Authors and Composers Association, which collects royalties for local artists. New rules introduced under a Copyright Order issued last spring also mean vendors caught selling infringing material can now be sent to prison for up to six months and fined $5000.

Just one week before the measures were implemented, Brunei, together with 25 other US trading partners, was placed in the second of the watch list’s three tiers, which graded levels of IPR infringements for 2012.

While the US commended Brunei Darussalam for setting up its first patent office and an association to protect artists, Washington expressed “concern” that the Sultanate had yet to make requested changes to some IPR-related laws, adding that enforcement problems in the Sultanate still needed addressing.

The anti-piracy drive also came in for criticism from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in a report issued last February, which described the government’s efforts to deter IP violators as weak. In addition, the IIPA expressed its frustration that copyright cases could sometimes take several months to be resolved in court.

“Brunei Darussalam has the eighth-highest per capita income in the world (purchasing power parity of $51,600 as of 2011) but unfortunately the country still hosts dozens of retail outlets offering for sale pirated movies, music and software on optical discs,” wrote the IIPA.

On a broader scale, the 2012 Investment Climate Statement issued by the US State Department said it believed pirated and fake goods originating in neighbouring countries were “widely sold” due to a “perceived lack of right holder’s complaints”. It added that while music piracy had been significantly reduced, “movie and software entertainment piracy is still rampant”.

Figures indicate that piracy has cost the US some $16bn annually in recent years and the Sultanate around BND500,000 ($403,000). With Brunei’s retail sector expanding, having posted growth of 0.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) for the first quarter of 2012, observers suggest that storeowners could make a major contribution in the drive to stamp out fake goods.

A survey by RIM in October 2011 found that about 50 retail outlets in the Sultanate were selling pirated movies, music and software in the form of DVDs, VCDs and CDs. The Commercial Crime Unit and Royal Brunei Customs are expected to play an increased role in policing retail centres and goods coming into the country. Last year, the Sultanate made its first successful copyright infringement prosecution in a landmark case that saw the owner of Yajuta Company Yong Teck Sang, also known as Kedai Komunis, convicted of selling pirated music.

With the impact of illegal music, film and software downloads weighing increasingly heavily on the retail sector, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are also being urged to contribute to the national piracy clampdown.

In June, Nur Al Ain Dr Hj Abdullah, the deputy senior counsel at the IP division of the Attorney General’s Chambers, told the Brunei Times that ISPs had an obligation to curb illegal downloading by policing their networks and introducing measures to prevent subscribers from illegally downloading copyrighted material.

The government’s efforts have been acknowledged by international software giant Microsoft. “We believe that Brunei has achieved a major milestone this year,” Azizah Ali, Microsoft Brunei’s branch manager told the Brunei Times. “The launch of the Patent Registry Office and its activities in driving to increase awareness, and also the crackdown by the municipalities on piracy nationwide, is actually great for the country as well as Microsoft.”

While Brunei Darussalam’s efforts to crack down on media piracy in 2012 signal a step in the right direction, the introduction of more stringent legal and regulatory measures may well enhance the country’s image abroad, helping to support its broader aim of increasing foreign direct investment this year.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jakarta Post: Brunei Better Than Indonesia

The Jakarta Post on 25th February 2013 had the following news which you can read below or here about the World Press Freedom Index 2013. I wrote about that on 5th February 2013 when I noted that Brunei was the highest ranked among ASEAN Member States. This Jakarta Post news has some nice words about Brunei:


Brunei, Timor Leste much better than RI (Republic of Indonesia)
by Veermalla Anjaiah

Jakarta, 25 February 2013 - Is Brunei, a non-democratic country, much more open than world’s third largest democracy Indonesia in terms of press freedom? Yes it is, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a Paris-based non-government organization that promotes and defends freedom of information in its recently released World Press Freedom Index 2013.

The annual index measures the level of freedom of information in 179 countries in five continents. The survey covers six fields — pluralism, media independence, environment, self-censorship, legislative framework transparency and infrastructure — through a questionnaire sent to all five continents.

A quick look at the 2013 index reveals that none of the 10-ASEAN countries made into the top 100 countries out of 179 that were surveyed for this year’s index. Brunei ranked at 122 with a score of 35.45, a slight increase from 2012’s 125th position on the same index. Finland, like last year, once again topped the index with a score of 6.38 followed by the Netherlands (6.48) and Norway (6.52) in second and third respectively.

With a score of 84.83, Eritrea retained its infamous crown as the country that least respects press freedom and sits at the bottom of the index in 179th place. North Korea, where press freedom is an alien concept, ended up at 178th with a score of 83.90.

Indonesia ranked only 139th position with score of 41.05, four positions behind Thailand, which had a score of 38.60. In fact, Indonesia did improve its ranking by seven positions from 146th position in 2012.

Indonesia’s former state Timor Leste earned the respectable rank of 90 with its score of 28.72. Indonesia’s neighbor Papua New Guinea fared much better at 41st position with a 22.97 score.

The question raised by these results is why democratic countries like Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines lag behind Brunei, a country without an elected parliament? An RSF executive gives some insight;

“The Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders does not take the kind of political system into account,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement that accompanied the index’s release.

While commenting on press freedom, senior journalist and Bisnis Indonesia chief editor Arief Budisusilo said the situation has been gradually improving in Indonesia.

“Press freedom in Indonesia has so far progressed well. But it faced challenges in some areas and also from government institutions such as the police and the Indonesian military that sometimes use violence against journalists,” Arief said in a short text message sent to The Jakarta Post on Sunday. “Any how, we have to defend the press freedom”.

There are also other problems hindering Indonesia’s media progress.

“The Indonesian media’s biggest challenge is to enhance the competence and knowledge [of journalists]. It has to maintain its independence and protect itself from political interests and the interests of media owners,” Arief said.

Most of the media companies in Indonesia are owned by business tycoons and politicians who have vested interests for their own agenda. It is different in Brunei. Although democracy may be absent from Brunei it has a vibrant media. The people of Brunei love their Sultan and his government.

“In Brunei, education and healthcare are free. Fuel prices are heavily subsidized. There is no income tax . The media is relatively free from any intervention from the government,” an Indonesian citizen who preferred to remain anonymous and worked in Brunei told the Post recently.

Brunei has four leading newspapers — Borneo Bulletin (circulation 20,000), Pelita Brunei (19,000), The Brunei Times (15,500) and Media Permata (10,000) — with a combined circulation of 65,000 copies in a country of 400,000 people.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Charity Works

One of the worthwhile things I like working at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is being involved in charity work. Everytime I get an invitation to attend either just as a guest or as the guest of honour, I look forward to the event. This one more so as the NGO is from my own village, PERBEKAL from Kampong Lambak and the charity to which the fund will be donated to is the one that I chair:


PERBEKAL collects $10k for various charity funds

 BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Saturday, February 23, 2013 - THE Kg Lambak Youth Association (PERBEKAL) has collected $10, 000 worth of funds to date in their plight to help various humanitarian causes.

This was disclosed during the launching ceremony of the "Save Gaza" Charity Expo posited by PERBEKAL at the open space of the Yayasan Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah in Bandar Seri Begawan.

In his speech, the President of PERBEKAL and the chairperson of the charity expo, Pg Nordin Pg Hj Mahmud said that the funds collection is not solely for the 'Save Gaza' campaign, but also the Typhoon Bopha humanitarian fund and the fire victims of Kg Setia A.

"The international community has never remained silent. (There are) many efforts to repair and develop countries in need (and) also providing appropriate assistance. As residents of Brunei Darussalam, we should not remain silent. We should also provide assistance that we know we are able to do."

He continued, "With almost two months of preparations and planning this charity work, Alhamdulillah, this day has become a reality... As residents and citizens of Brunei who do not easily give up, especially with patience. It is by Allah SWT's virtue that we will always find a solution through any difficulties that is faced."

The launching of the charity expo began with a recitation of the Surah Al-Fatihah and a speech by the President of PERBEKAL.

This was followed by a presentation of the donations from Pg Nordin to the guest of honour of the event, the Permanent Secretary at The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos.

Following the donation presentation, the guest of honour proceeded to take a tour of the stalls participating in the charity expo.

The charity expo is one of the activities that PERBEKAL is conducting to raise funds for various humanitarian funds.

More than 50 booths will be opened from 10am to 10pm for two weeks starting February 21 to March 5.

PERBEKAL and the Concerned Citizens and Residents Group (KRP2) will be organising more events such as a garage sale, the 'Gazathon' run which will take place on March 10th at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium and the Mega Expo Charity Sale that will be held at the parking lot of the Indoor Stadium from March 24 to April 2 and April 24 to April 30.
Nabilah Haris

-- News Courtesy of The Brunei Times, Photos Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Monday, February 25, 2013

Halal Food Status

I love technology. But I love technology which can verify the status of food source and its halal status. Well done AiTi and Halal Food Control Division.


New RFID reader can validate, trace status of halal food products

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Friday, February 22, 2013 - THE public can now verify the halal status of food products using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, following the launch of a pilot project yesterday.

An RFID reader was unveiled at Hua Ho Tanjung Bunut department store, allowing consumers to validate the halal status of food products and obtain further information including halal certification, batch numbers and expiry dates.

Tracking using the RFID system can be used on chicken parts, frozen food and processed food ingredients that are embedded with an authentic halal logo issued by the relevant authority.

A ceremony to initiate the pilot project was held yesterday by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry (AITI), in collaboration with the Halal Food Control Division at the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA).

Developed by local company John Harith Technology Sdn Bhd, the RFID project aims to establish halal authenticity in the country.

Over a period of six months, the pilot project will be tested on local abattoir Golden Chick Sdn Bhd and Hua Ho Tanjong Bunut department store. Plans are also underway to create mobile applications that will enable users to scan food products to determine their halal status.

Alongside the RFID reader at the department store, the initial phase of the pilot project involves halal detection of chicken and raw meat produced by the local abattoir. "RFID technology offers an alternative solution for the identification and tracking of goods and products wirelessly, making it suitable for developing (mobile) applications, where users can get various information on halal products effectively and in more detail," the AITI chief executive, Hj Yahkup Hj Menudin, said. He added that it would also help law enforcement agents ensure the validity of the Brunei Halal logo issued by MoRA.

Over the last few years, the AITI has been actively promoting the use of RFID technology in Brunei through a number of initiatives, including the setting up of its own RFID Showcase Gallery, in addition to training local resources and developers.

AITI stated it would continue to encourage the development of local RFID applications and that it hoped to roll out more pilot programmes with other relevant agencies. Present to officiate at the launch were Dato Paduka Hj Alaihuddin Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Lela Dato Seri Utama Hj Mohd Taha, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Communications; and Hj Abd Aziz Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Hj Yussof, permanent secretary at MoRA.
Rabiatul Kamit

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Remembering the First National Day in 1984

written by Rozan Yunos
published in The Brunei Times on 23rd February 2013

AT THE end of the 19th century, Brunei's economic situation can only be described as extremely dire. His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah in his book "Time and the River" (2000) succintly wrote that "by the end of the 19th century, we had hit the lowest dip on the roller coaster."

On September 17, 1888, Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Akmaddin signed an agreement with the British for Brunei to be placed under the protection of the British Government which His Royal Highness described as a "wise move and it saved us (Brunei)".

On December 31, 1905, and January 2, 1906, a supplementary agreement was signed that allowed for a British Resident to be placed in Brunei. These two agreements marked the beginning of Brunei to be placed under British Protection.

It was not until 1959 when His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien signed another agreement that gave Brunei its internal rule.

This marked the beginning of Brunei on its way towards full independence since 1888. On November 23, 1971, another treaty was signed affirming that the defence and security of Brunei is a joint responsibility but Brunei would have full sovereignty in the internal affairs.

On January 7, 1979, another agreement was signed stipulating that "Brunei had agreed to take over the full international responsibility of an independent and autonomous state" and the agreement was for five years beginning from December 31, 1983.

So by January 1, 1984, Brunei was expected to be completely independent. Preparations were made chaired by the Acting Chief Minister, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz. It was also decided that the annual Independence Day of Brunei be celebrated on the 23 February of each year.

Brunei Darusalam's independence celebrations began with the official opening ceremony of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on September 23, 1983. That date coincided with the 70th birthday of His Majesty's father, His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien.

On December 31, 1983, the independence celebration continued with the lighting up of coloured light decorations in Bandar Seri Begawan. Lighted and beautifully decorated archways were built all over the country.

Many Bruneians thronged to Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the city centre for the recital of Surah Yassin and Doa Selamat. Despite the heavy rain, the mosque was filled to capacity and many prayed in the open courtyard drenched with rain.

After the ceremony, everyone went to Taman Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien. With everyone coming from all walks of life from the four districts, the place was jammed to the brim. They came with one purpose to witness the Proclamation of Independence for Brunei Darussalam at the stroke of midnight.

At 12.01am, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah read the Proclamation of Independence and His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien lead the chanting of "Allahu Akbar" three times after the proclamation.

The Taman was immediately lighted up with the words of "Allahu Akbar" and "Merdeka Negara Brunei Darussalam 1984" in Roman and Arabic scripts accompanied with the beatings of the hadrah and the firing of the 21 gun salute.

It was a long journey but now Brunei had resumed its full political independence.

Fifty four days later, in totally contrasting weather, on a hot and sunny day on February 23, 1984, there was another big crowd. This time the crowd was at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium. They came with one purpose to participate in Brunei's first ever National Day celebrations.

The celebrations for the first National Day was participated by everyone in Brunei. Very much like today, prior to the celebrations, many preparations were made. Rehearsals for the field performances and for the march past were held in the weeks prior to the National Day.

In the city centre and along the main roads coloured lights and arches decorate the roads once again. Bandar Seri Begawan lit up brightly and colourfully at night. Everyone looked forward to the first national day especially since the Proclamation of Independence had gone smoothly on the eve of January 1, 1984.

The first National Day started at dawn. Many woke up early and by dawn all kinds of vehicles were heading towards the national stadium. Some came as early as 3.30 in the morning.

There were thousands of participants from every corner of Brunei Darussalam, from the young to the old, parents and their children, teachers and their students as well as teams of various organisations and ministries both private and public.

The first National Day was also attended by foreign representatives including a King, a President, several Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and many other representatives and guests from more than 70 countries around the world. Prominent among those were from ASEAN, the Commonwealth and Islamic countries.

The national anthem "Allah Peliharakan Sultan" was sung by students of colleges and upper secondary schools when His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaullah arrived. The students' singing was accompanied by music played by the combined bands of the Royal Brunei Police Force and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.

A combined school band comprising of various schools' students wearing attractive uniforms performed several displays including the formation of eight cardinal directions with a circle at the centre signifying Brunei's independence; a second pattern representing a ship helm symbolising development in line with Islamic principles; and a third pattern representing a rotating fan signifying the prosperity of the country in line with development in the scientific and technological world.

The march past in front of the crowd was led by 40 youths carrying the giant Brunei Darussalam flag measuring 12 feet by 24 feet. Other participants in the march past were civil servants and personnel from the Brunei Shell companies.

There were also a hadrah performance performed by 1,200 Bruneians all wearing "cara Melayu" while another 10,000 students held coloured umbrellas and flip cards to display the slogan in Jawi. Patriotic songs were sung throughout the performances.

The recital of the first oath of loyalty was led by Haji Abd Rahim Haji Metussin who was a student at the Sixth Form Centre (now Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah).

At the same time, gold coloured confetti showered the crowd from two huge ballons floating in the air above the stadium. Exactly 1,984 balloons were released together with 1,404 pigeons representing the year of 1984 and the year of Hijrah of 1404.

Just as the Proclamation of Independence ceremony had gone so smoothly, so too did the very first National Day ceremony.

Similarly, everyone was involved in the Proclamation, so was the first National Day, it had been participated by everyone in Brunei Darussalam in the spirit of peace and harmony.

That first National Day set the setting and standards for the next twenty eight national day celebrations including the one that we will be seeing on today.

Happy 29th National Day to everyone!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

National Day 2013 Titah Sultan

Titah Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan dan Yang Di- Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam Sempena Menyambut Ulang Tahun Hari Kebangsaan Negara Brunei Darussalam Ke-29

Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil’alameen, Wabihee Nasta’eenu ‘Alaa Umuriddunyaa Waddeen, Wassalaatu Wassalaamu ‘Alaa Asyrafil Mursaleen, Sayyidina Muhammadin, Wa’alaa Aalihee Wasahbihee Ajma’een, Waba’du.

Kita bersyukur ke hadrat Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala kerana dapat lagi menyambut Ulang Tahun Hari Kebangsaan kita. Sambutan pada kali ini ialah sambutan yang ke 29.

Ulang tahun itu kita peringati kerana ia adalah sejarah kita, sejarah menjawat kemerdekaan. Kita jawat kemerdekaan itu dengan takbir Allahu Akbar iaitu suatu cara tersendiri yang tidak pernah berlaku di mana-mana.

Cara ini tentu saja tidak kosong daripada hikmah. Malah beta melihatnya sebagai satu alamat baik kepada Brunei, yang kini sudahpun jadi kenyataan dikenali sebagai Negara Zikir atau Negara MIB.

Begitulah, semua itu berlaku tentu saja dengan izin dan kehendak Allah jua.

Dengan berkat kalimat Allahu Akhbar kemerdekaan tanah air telah membuahkan hasil yang sangat lumayan berupa keamanan dan kemakmuran serta Ugama Islam bersinar-sinar menjadi pegangan dan amalan di Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Begitu juga dengan berkat kalimat ini, kita telah ditakdirkan dapat melakukan beberapa tanggungjawab besar untuk negara.

Ini semua, kita jangan lupa berlaku dalam era setelah merdeka. Mengingat ini, kita sepatutnya akan lebih-lebih lagi menyayangi kemerdekaan itu.

Tanda orang sayang sangatlah mudah dikenali. Hatinya telus kepada bangsa dan budinya pula luhur, suka berjasa. Dia tidak mahu dilihat sebagai lemah manakala berlaku sesuatu kepada negaranya.

Inilah dia sikap yang patut dimiliki oleh setiap diri individu yang bernama rakyat jelata.

Rakyat jelata yang sensitif lagi patriotik sangatlah diperlukan oleh negara terutamamereka yang dari kalangan generasi muda serta para belia kerana mereka itu adalah pewaris masa depan kita.

Masa depan akan suram jika mereka itu tidak terlibat membina negara. Mereka mesti turut berkecimpung dalam setiap aktiviti kenegaraan sekurang-kurangnya menjadi penyumbang moral yang aktif.

Contoh sumbangan moral itu ialah seperti menjadi rakyat yang baik, yang ikhlas lagi amanah serta taat dan mematuhi undang-undang dan tidak membebani negara dengan perbuatan-perbuatan anti sosial atau asyik dengan berseronok-seronok semata-mata.

Berseronok yang melampau-lampau boleh melemahkan jentera masyarakat kerana tiada apa yang dapat ditunggu daripadanya kecuali kerugian jua.

Kerana itu, menurut kaum cerdik pandai untuk menjadi bangsa yang maju dan kuat, kenalah kita mengurangkan berseronok dan menggantikannya dengan banyak bekerja dan berfikir.

Elakkan dari menurutkan rasa hati tanpa banyak menimbang dan berfikir dan ingatlah bahawa berfikir itu adalah mahkota hidup.

Atas rasional inilah, kerajaan beta menguatkan pendidikan iaitu selaku pemangkin kepada kemajuan. Komitmen kerajaan dalam bidang ini adalah menyeluruh untuk sekalian rakyat tanpa mengira suku atau kaum.

Ia juga adalah antara objektif Wawasan 2035 untuk melahirkan rakyat terpelajar lagi berkemahiran sebagai pra syarat membolehkan kita bersaing ditengah-tengah kemajuan global.

Beta mahu biarlah rakyat responsif terhadap usaha-usaha kerajaan untuk negara.

Sekurang-kurangnya mereka itu dapat memahami aspirasi kerajaan melakukan sesuatu rancangan itu. Mereka tidak boleh lepas pandang atau berkata tidak tahu kerana perbuatan lepas pandang atau berkata tidak tahu itu adalah amat memalukan bagi suatu bangsa yang sedang membangun.

Dalam era perlumbaan hari ini, kita selaku rakyat tidaklah boleh tercicir dari turut mendukung gagasan negara. Jika tercicir, bermakna kita tertinggal di belakang dan terpinggir.

Siapapun juga, mestilah turut berkayuh menuju matlamat yang dituju. Jangan ada yang angkat pengayuh atau enggan berkayuh tetapi mesti sama-sama berkayuh barulah namanya kita sejiwa mencipta masa depan yang cerah.

Pada tahun ini saja, ada beberapa rancangan besar yang memerlukan komitmen rakyat. Dalam perkara agama, kita sudahpun menguatkuasakan ‘Perintah Pendidikan Ugama Wajib 2012’ yang melibatkan seluruh rakyat dan penduduk yang beragama Islam. Kemudian seiringan itu kita juga telah berjaya mewujudkan ‘Perintah Kanun Hukuman Jenayah Syar’iah’ yang memerlukan dukungan dan sokongan penuh rakyat.

Demikian juga kita telah menguatkuasakan peraturan menutup sementara premis-premis perniagaan pada hari Jumaat sehingga selesai menunaikan Fardu Juma’at.

Ini semua adalah langkah-langkah besar ke arah peningkatan. Sayugia diingat bahawa kita membangun adalah meliputi pembangunan fizikal dan rohani. Malah pembangunan jenis kedua inilah yang lebih-lebih lagi dituntut kerana impaknya
mencakup dua keuntungan sekaligus: keuntungan dunia dan keuntungan di akhirat.

Sebab itu, adalah sedikit dikesali jika terdapat pendirian kurang gembira dengan peraturan ini dengan menganggapnya sebagai menjejaskan ekonomi.

Beta sudahpun menyebut bahawa peraturan ini penting untuk menjaga imej negara dan juga imej Islam sendiri. Kedua-duanya itu kita mahu supaya terpelihara dan sentiasa indah.

Ini sama halnya apabila kita melarang dari dihidangkan arak di dalam penerbangan, ada yang berkata rugi kerana penerbangan akan dikhuatiri tidak laku. Tetapi orang tidak ingat keuntungan di akhirat dan keuntungan rahmat serta berkat daripada Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala. Dan malah orang tidak nampak bahawa dengan kehendak Allah jua penerbangan yang menghidangkan arak pun boleh juga rugi, bahkan lebih besar kerugian daripada kita yang tidak menghidangkan arak.

Ini membawa makna, perkiraan untung rugi itu adalah semata-mata relatif jua di mana yang betulnya kita hendaklah menerima dan membuat apa-apa jua yang terbaik dengan berpandukan janji Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala.

Inilah cara kita mengisi kemerdekaan sambil mensyukurinya. Kita boleh isi ia dengan seberapa banyak jua rancangan atau aktiviti yang berkebajikan, insya-Allah kita dan negara tidak akan dihampakan.

Akhirnya, beta dengan ikhlas merakamkan ucapan penghargaan dan terima kasih kepada ahli-ahli Jawatankuasa Tertinggi dan lain-lain Jawatankuasa Sambutan Perayaan Ulang Tahun Ke-29 Hari Kebangsaan dan semua peserta serta petugas yang turut
berusaha untuk menjayakan perayaan ini.

Beta juga mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi penghargaan kepada semua lapisan rakyat termasuk semua peringkat warga Perkhidmatan Awam meliputi mereka yang bertugas di luar negara, Pasukan-Pasukan Keselematan serta mereka yang berkhidmat di sektor swasta dengan iringan doa semoga Allah memberkati kita dan negara. Amin.

Sekian, Wabillahit Taufeq Walhidayah, Wassalamu‘alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The First Malay Book in Europe

written by Rozan Yunos
published in The Brunei Times on Sunday, February 17, 2013

A page from the first Malay book in Europe

IN THE 16th century, European travellers and traders started arriving en masse at Southeast Asian trading ports. They wrote about the cities and the peoples whom they encountered.

Many of the descriptions about Brunei were derived during this period. Among the famous travellers was Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian chronicler who arrived in Brunei as part of Magellan's voyage circumnavigating the globe. Pigafetta's descriptions of Brunei are most often quoted nowadays. There were other travellers as well who were here in Brunei such as the Spanish, the Portuguese and the Dutch. The British and the Americans came much later.

Malay was then widely spoken in the region. In the 15th century, during the Malacca Sultanate, Malay was used as the regional language, a sort of lingua franca in the Malay archipelago. Malay was spoken by both the locals who live in this region and also by the traders and artisans that stopped and traded at Malacca using the Straits of Malacca. Around the Borneo Island and around the islands of southern Philippines and perhaps the northern Philippines, Malay must have been used as well.

Amin Sweeney in his book "A Full Hearing: Orality and Literacy in the Malay World" (1987) noted that European writers of the 17th and 18th centuries such as Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689), Louis Thomassin (1619-1695) and John Werndly (1656-1727) were describing the Malay language as the "language of the learned in all the Indies, like Latin in Europe". The Dutch scholar, Francois Valentijn (1666-1727) also described the use of the Malay language in the region as being equivalent to the contemporary use of Latin and French in Europe.

With the Malay language so widely used in Southeast Asia, many wondered how these Western traders communicated with the natives of Southeast Asia at that point in time.

Obviously, the first Europeans who arrived returned back with notes and perhaps compilation of vocabularies to help other latter traders.

Some perhaps had their own Malay interpreters among their crew. According to Donald Lach in the book "Asia in the Making of Europe: Volume II: A Century of Wonder Book 3" (1998), among the crews working for Magellan was a native Malay slave from Sumatera who Magellan had brought back to Europe much earlier. He was known as Henrique. When Pigafetta was in Brunei and in Southeast Asia, he had at his disposal this Henrique who was able to help him communicate with the peoples of Southeast Asia then.

However what probably helped the latter European traders was that a number of these notes and vocabularies collected and compiled by the early European traders were actually printed and made available to them.

Sir Francis Drake was the second person after Magellan to circumnavigate around the world. His squadron consisting of five vessels left in December 1577, and returned in September 1580 with only one vessel completing the journey. However, despite that setback, Sir Francis Drake's companions managed to compile a list of 32 Javan words with their English meanings. The compilers also provided a list of the "Kings or princes of Iava at the time of our English mens being there". This was published in 1589.

Antonio Pigafetta himself compiled and incorporated into his narrative a list of 426 Malay, Bisayan and Tagalog words with their Italian equivalents. Some of these words were eventually published in French. Pigafetta's list is much more comprehensive and sophisticated than the others. He included words relating to Islam and to family relationships, the names for a wide range of textiles, spices, and metals, household terms, personal raiment, and the winds.

Pigafetta most likely used Henrique, the Malay from Sumatra as the source of his compilation. This is evident from the list of words which he published. The words were the common Malay current in the commercial centres of the East which was then called as the "language of Malacca". It was obvious that he did not learn the words from the peoples that he met in the journey.

One of the earliest known books filled with vocabulary and collection of Malay dialogues was written by Frederick de Houtman. His book entitled "Spraecke ende Woordboeck, inde Maleysche ende Madagaskarsche Talen" was published in Amsterdam in 1603.

Who was Frederick de Houtman? He was a Dutch explorer. When he was around 25 years old, he assisted a fellow Dutch navigator Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser with astronomical observations during his first expedition from Holland to the East Indies in 1595 to 1597. During subsequent expeditions he added further stars to the list of those observed by Keyser.

Houtman learnt the Malay language the hard way. He was imprisoned by the Sultan of Aceh in Sumatra for two years. However during those two years imprisonment he made good use of his time by studying the local Malay language and making astronomical observations. In 1603, after he returned back to Holland, Frederick de Houtman published his stellar observations in an appendix to his dictionary and grammar of the Malayan and Malagasy languages.

He studied the conversations of the people in Aceh and in that book he reproduced the conversations in both Dutch and Malay. His dialogues form one of the best useful guides to latter traders dealing in many important subjects such as the weighing of pepper and the purchasing of provisions. He also included all there is to know of how to drive a hard bargain and also how to extract debts from those who had not paid them.

In his book the Malay conversations were written and published in the 17th century manner. An example would read:

D. Essalemalecom, Ebrahim.
A. Malecom selam Daoet.
D. Derri manna datan pagi hari?
A. Beta datan derri pakan.
D. Appa achgabar? Tieda gabar batou derri barang Cappal?
A. Souda beta deng'ar beonji bedyl, iang itoe alamat derri Cappal dagang.
D. Lagi hamba deng'ar catta iang satoe Cappal derri Guiserat souda datan.
A. Appa pervinjaga de bava di'a?

In 1614 Augustus Spalding translated Houtman's book into English. Houtman's book now entitled "Dialogues in the English and Malaine languages" became the first Malay book to be published in English.

Many other Malay books were published later on in Europe but it was not until around the mid-17th century that the Dutch through their Dutch East Indies company headquarters in Batavia (today's Jakarta) that the printing presses there started to print books in the Malay world.

The Golden Legacy is the longest running column in The Brunei Times. The author also runs a website at

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times  --

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hotel Cempaka

I found the above news article in an old magazine called 'Malaysia' which is The Journal of the British Association of Malaysia dated January 1966. This magazine in the past regularly covers news from the states of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. This particular entry intrigued me as there is no ten storey hotel in Jalan Kianggeh now. Maybe someone who knows can enlighten us about what happen to this proposed hotel.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brunei Youths Patriotism

Cycling tour instils sense of patriotism among youths

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports Haji Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos (L) presenting the certificate of participation to each district youth representative during the closing ceremony of the bicycle expedition for the Eighth Belia Cinta Tanah Air programme held at Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday. Picture: BT/Yusri Adanan.
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Monday, February 18, 2013 - AFTER cycling a total of 300km in six days, participants of the eighth "Youth Love the Nation" cycling expedition can rest easy knowing that they have not only acquired a heightened sense of patriotism but also the values of teamwork, respect and road safety.

The final stretch of the expedition brought participants along a 29km route in the capital ending at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium yesterday morning. Present as the guest of honour was Deputy Permanent Secretary, at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hj Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos.

During the closing ceremony, the Acting Director of the Youth and Sports Department (JBS) in his speech said that, besides fostering patriotism amongst youth, the "Youth Love the Nation" programme is aimed at fostering a sense of community and unity.

"It is also to maintain our sense of community living, religion and the nation, as well as unity," said Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad. "With this objective, to further ignite the spirit among all levels of society, especially youth, this cycling expedition. Alhamdulillah, has successfully been implemented as one more way to uphold and show respect for the national flag".

In an interview with The Brunei Times, the expedition coordinator, Hj Ramli Hj Kurus, said the expedition had been beneficial for the participating cyclists. He hoped it would act as a life-long lesson for youth and those handling youth.

"To lead youth is not like leading a herd of animals. We have to look at them as individuals who have their own interests and feelings" said Hj Ramli.

He continued, "The expedition went on for days; it was not a one day event. Emotions have to be taken into consideration. On their part, they had to maintain discipline too as we were going through this expedition as a team".

"I had a big responsibility during the cycling expedition as I was leading the whole group. I had to control my speed and make sure that the cyclists behind me were all right. Some of the participants are new to cycling; I wanted everyone to know that I would not leave anyone behind.

A female cyclist, 28-year-old Nooramalina Bakir, hoped more youths, especially girls, would participate.

"There were not a lot of girls in the expedition. If one of us were ahead, we made sure that we would catch up. The expedition was mentally challenging. Knowing that we were apart during the ride, helped us push through".

She added, "I feel very satisfied with myself. It was a tough ride, but despite it all, we still made it through.

Nooramalina said that she learned teamwork and respect for other cyclists, noting that not everyone was riding the same type of bicycle.

"I ride a Giant Carbon. I have the utmost respect for the fixie cyclists. It was challenging for us but more challenging for them. They did not even stop to rest at any point of the expedition".

A fixie, otherwise known as a fixed-gear or fixed-wheel bicycle functions differently from other bicycles as the rider cannot stop pedalling once they begin. When the rear wheel turns, the pedals turn in the same direction,

One of the fixie cyclists was 17-year old Wafiq Nazri from Temburong. He explained that while fixies were urban bikes, fixie riders decided to bring the challenge up a notch.

"We wanted to bring our bikes throughout the whole country for this expedition to show that we can push through. It made us very proud to know that we completed the expedition with the added challenge".

The added physical challenge did not deter the young cyclist from learning valuable lessons during the course of the expedition.

"Raising the flag and singing the national anthem regularly only made us prouder of our country. I also learned more about teamwork and road safety. We had to stay close and not stray from one another to ensure the whole group's safety".
Nabilah Haris
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

Japan's Martial Arts Exhibition in Brunei


I am going to let the photos tell all the story. Come to the Brunei Museum at Kota Batu and see for yourself the Spirit of Budo Japan's Martial Arts Special Exhibition. The exhibition was especially brought by the Japanese Foundation and the Japanese Embassy to Brunei.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Historical Scenes at the Mosque's Lagoon

NOVEMBER 2, 1974 - The Bulletin is not sure when Awang M Raihan of the Audit Department took this photograph of the little clock tower beside the lagoon of the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, but we believe it was about 1962. There are only two vehicles to be seen.

Above below: The same scene as it is in 1974. Apart from the arch, the big changes are the increase in traffic – and the sprouting of television aerials.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Monday, February 18, 2013

Preserving Malay Cultural Heritage



BRUNEI-MUARA, Sunday, February 17, 2013 - TIES between Brunei and the state of Pahang, Malaysia, can be strengthened by exploring the arts and culture of one another, according to the President of Pahang Theatre Council.

Roslan Madun said this during the "Night of the People's Arts" event which was hosted by Language and Literature Bureau (DPB) for the 25 delegates from Pahang.

Roslan Madun added that a reason why exploration should be encouraged is to preserve the Malay cultural heritage in the region.

The Director of Language and Literature Bureau, Hjh Aminah Hj Momin, who gave a welcoming speech, emphasised the need to keep the traditional arts alive as it was being threatened by an influx of foreign popular culture.

The main objectives of last night's event included the sharing of cultural heritage between Pahang and the Sultanate as well as to strengthen the professional relationship between poets, literary writers and traditional art enthusiasts.

The highlight of the night was the performances. Several performances were staged including traditional poems, songs and dance.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, a 17-year-old student of Maktab Duli said that she felt very excited to be able to participate in the cultural event.

"It is very exciting to introduce Brunei's own cultural poetry to the members of Pahang Theatre Council," said Raihana Asyiqin Hj Suhaili. She is a member of Kumpulan Putra Seni (KPS), a non-government organisation that engages in activities related to Brunei's traditional arts.

Another KPS member, Mohd Asri Hj Emin, viewed the event as a way to reinforce the relationship between Pahang Theatre Council and Kumpulan Putra Seni.

"We are able to see the cultural differences between Brunei and Pahang," he added, citing that such observation was crucial for preserving the value of arts and performances in the future.

Ak Hj Amirul Amin Pg Hj Jamaluddin, also a KPS member, was hopeful that young people would learn the cultural traditions.

"If not for us (the young people), who else is going to carry on practising our cultural heritage?" he asked.

"Night of the People's Arts" was held in conjunction with a three-day visit by the Pahang Theatre Council delegate to the Sultanate.

The event, which took place at Balai Sarmayuda, Language and Literature Bureau, was attended by the Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports, Hj Mohd Rozan Dato' Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos among others.

Hanaffi Hidup

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times and Borneo Bulletin --

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2013 National Day Logo

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah presenting the prizes to Keeran Dato Janin

A group photo with the judges and sponsors and senior officials of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports

Haji Mohd Rozan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports having a closer look at the logo competition's entries.


Bandar Seri Begawan, Sundah 17th February 2013 - A LOGO designed by the CEO of a local mobile software developer, MeSixty, was chosen as the winner of the 29th Brunei Darussalam National Day Logo Design Competition

The logo by Keeran Dato Paduka Janin exudes the elements of tradition and simplicity, said the competition's panel of judges.

His design, a 29-pointed star shaded in red, yellow and grey, was chosen by a panel of judges from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports as the logo for this year's National Day celebrations.

On hand to present the prizes to the winner was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah.

Keeran brought home a cash prize of $2,000 sponsored by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, an Acer 14 inch Aspire Notebook from Concept Computer and a Canon EOS600D from Interhouse Company.

Keeran's design beat out 92 other entries to be chosen as the eventual winner. A total of 15 designs were shortlisted and Keeran's design was selected out of the final three.

Speaking to The Brunei Times one of the judges, Pg Dato Hj Asmalee Pg Hj Ahmad said, the competition saw an increase in the number of participants.

"This is progress. We did not only see an increase in number of submissions, but also an increase in the level of quality of the works submitted."

In explaining what made the logo a winner, Pg Dato Hj Asmalee said it featured some changes compared to the logos in previous years.

It highlighted the country's tradition and culture. The design symbolises the country's tudung dulang or food cover which has also become a symbol of the Malay past, he said.

"Tradition is important in design. We sometimes forget this as most designs are oriented towards western influence."

According to Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas, another judge, the logo should convey its purpose simply by looking at it.

The winning logo encompassed a complete picture of the celebration.

"During judging, we look at all the submissions. There are many aspects of designs that we looked at. This was one of the challenges in judging the competition," he added.

He said there were entries which were out of topic and were not suitable. That was why we have the elimination process.

"However, that does not mean that the designs that were not selected were not good. There were many good qualities (in the designs) but our job was to choose only one," he added.

For Dato Paduka Hj Jalil Hj Abd Rahman, the design of the logo was unique. He said one aspect of design that was very hard to achieve was the concept of simplicity.

"Most would do intricate designs but they do not know that the best is simplicity, but simplicity is very difficult to achieve regardless if it is in designs or paintings, " said Dato Paduka Hj Jalil, who was one of the judges.

Dato Hj Idris shared Dato Hj Jalil's sentiment.

"Simplicity is not easy. In principle of designs, we have to explore everything. But at the end of the day, the process that you go through helps you to achieve this," he said.

Themed "My Country Brunei Darussalam", the logo will be used on a range of official promotional materials for Brunei's 29th National Day.

The competition was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) in collaboration with The Brunei Times.

Rasidah HAB

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

Friday, February 15, 2013

MIB in Brunei Archtecture

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Friday, February 15, 2013 - THE national philosophy of Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Islamic Monarch, MIB) will be intimately reflected in Brunei's architecture.

Plans to create MIB-based architecture were revealed at the "Brunei Architecture and its Connection to MIB" seminar during its closing ceremony.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, who presented a working paper, said the seminar's resolution called on the entire of society to embrace Bruneian architecture.

"Now there is an awareness and an understanding that is available amongst the participants (of the seminar) that Brunei heritage in terms of architecture should not be left behind," the permanent secretary said.

"The resolution calls upon Brunei society as a whole to realise that we should make use of MIB architecture, which takes into account the form and design of our way of life. The Islamic element should be within the design, along with Malay and adat-istiadat (ceremonial customs)."

The resolution's plans of action called for the creation of clear and firm national architectural policies to ensure the architectural assimilation of MIB is carried out by all important parties.

It also stated that policies would place a priority on MIB architecture and that forms that were in conflict with the national philosophy would be rejected. There will also be strategies to realise MIB architecture as the national norm, especially to symbolise the eminence of Islam.

Additionally, there will be efforts made to organise workshops and courses that can promote MIB architecture as the most prominent form of building design in the country, while also producing highly skilled individuals in the field. Continuous high quality training will also be conducted with political, moral and financial support to bring MIB architecture to an international level.

To ensure architectural inculturation of MIB, full attention will be given to ensuring the policy is supported by all involved parties and that unified and continuous support is given in order for them to become knowledgeable about MIB architecture.

By the use of computer software, videos, books and encyclopedias, MIB architecture will be able to help the cultural architecture of MIB flourish.

There will also be more high quality MIB architectural activities that will act as a platform to foster love and respect for MIB architecture.

Last, to guarantee the success of the two plans, it was suggested that all architects and other parties involved be required to master and use MIB architecture in all building activities, especially those financed by the government. It was also suggested MIB architecture reflect the historical and monumental identity of Bruneian architecture and that the Brunei Association of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA Brunei) be recognised as a non-governmental organisation that supports and assists the positive efforts of the government in the implementation of the "National Architectural Policy".

Nabilah Haris

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --



These papers were presented during the Seminar:

1. Towards Efficient Melayu Islam Beraja Architecture for Brunei Darussalam by Dato Paduka Haji Idris bin Haji Abas

2. Rumah Dalam Manuskrip Melayu: Seni Bina dan Nilai Melayu Islam Beraja oleh Prof Madya Ampuan Dr Haji Ibrahim bin Ampuan Haji Tengah

3. Rumah Melaka dan Perumahan Melayu Malaysia: Suatu Penilaian Budaya oleh Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Kling

4. Seni Bina Melayu oleh Prof Madya Dr Raja Nafida Raja Shahminan

5. Dari Kampong Ayer ke Kawasan Kampung Dalam Rancangan Perpindahan Negara: Memperhalusi Unsur Tradisi dan Unsur Moden Dalam Bahan Binaan dan Reka Bentuk Rumah Berlandaskan Melayu Islam Beraya oleh Dr. Awang Haji Tassim bin Haji Abu Bakar

6. Contemporary Islamic Architecture: Symbolism, Ecology, Meaning Making, Function and Non-Threatening Nature of Art, Architecture and the Elements of Nature by Dr Imam Achmat Salie

7. Suatu Pandangan Perkembangan Seni Bina Brunei Darussalam di dalam Tradisi dan Falsafah Melayu Islam Beraja oleh Pengiran Adanan bin Pengiran Badaruddin

8. Memperteguhkan Identiti Melayu Islam Beraja Menerusi Pengucapan Seni Bina: Suatu Huraian Epistemologi oleh Prof Emeritus Datu Dr Haji Osman bin Bakar

9. Budaya Dalam Seni Bina Melayu: Satu Pengenalan oleh Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos

10. Rumah Brunei: Tukang dan Kepercayaan oleh Prof Madya Dr. Awang Haji Hashim bin Haji Abdul Hamid

Let me know if you are interested in any of these papers.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fisheries Promise for Brunei Darussalam

Economic Update from the Oxford Business Group on 11 February 2013:


Brunei Darussalam: Fisheries promise for industry
Asia | 11 Feb 2013

The launch of a major seafood processing plant highlights the progress the Sultanate is making in its plans to diversify from oil and resources and position itself as a centre of value-added industry. However, a shortage of available land to further develop the industry sector has been identified as a limiting factor.

In December 2012, the Multipurpose Marine Resources Processing and Business Centre, a $30m seafood processing plant, became fully operational. The facility is a result of collaborative efforts between Semaun Marine Resources and the Golden Corporation, an investment firm.

Innovative industry techniques at the processing centre see unmarketable fish that cannot be sold to consumers re-processed and turned into value-added products, such as surimi (fish puree). Previously, fishermen were discarding 70-90%, or 400-500 kg, of each catch.

In January, the government also announced the first harvest of its Brunei Darussalam specific pathogen-free (SPF) black tiger shrimp project. The five-year programme, in development since 2007 by the Department of Fisheries and US-based Integrated Aquaculture International, aims to produce genetically improved SPF black tiger shrimp.

South Korean officials have also identified seafood processing as an area of major investment potential. “I think our Bruneian partners should explore [fisheries] possibilities by working with Korean investors and with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources,” said Choi Byung Koo, the ambassador of South Korea to the Sultanate, when speaking to local media in October.

A month earlier, a visiting South Korean government official said the Sultanate has untapped opportunities for investment by South Korean firms, particularly in the areas of construction, tourism and food manufacturing.

“We look at Brunei as a high potential market in this region, due to its strategic location, and the country has a higher per-capita income than South Korea. Most South Korean companies believe Brunei is a great place to invest,” said Kyung-Yun Yeom, deputy head of the trade and investment unit at the ASEAN-Korea Centre.

There has also been increased interest in industrial parks and planned investment from elsewhere in East Asia, with Japan-based Mitsubishi announcing in October plans to expand its workforce in the Sultanate.

Mitsubishi recently opened a new office in Jalan Pemancha that will oversee a number of potential projects, including an ammonia production and pharmaceuticals plant, as well as existing projects on automated cultivation, sustainable agriculture and solar power.

Mitsubishi has a long, symbiotic history with Brunei Darussalam, having helped develop the oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) industries that dominate the economy. For example, it participated in a major LNG project in 1970 at the start of the Sultanate's resource growth period.

The Japanese firm is behind plans for six downstream petrochemicals plants, with an aggregate investment of $2.8bn, to be built at the 271-ha Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK). The plants are expected to produce a range of chemicals using Brunei Darussalam’s abundant natural gas as a feedstock.

In March 2012 it was revealed that SPARK had created 180 jobs since opening its doors in 2011, and the authorities estimate it will provide 2000 more employment opportunities as the petrochemical plants come online.

A study conducted by the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies in April 2012 said Brunei Darussalam would need around 108,000 jobs in the private sector if it wants to achieve full employment by 2035. The study found that the Sultanate would also need an estimated 515,000 sq metres of commercial floor space and 1300 ha of land for industrial sites to support such growth.

However, critics say that to boost the industrial sector, the government must create opportunities for the private sector to invest in unused land. Roger Gibbins, chairman of SGS Economics and Planning, one of the consultants involved in the study for the land optimisation strategy for industrial and commercial growth, said in November that a land release programme would create opportunities for private sector investment.

“If you create the opportunities, the private sector will come along,” said Gibbins, pointing out that new land has not been released for private ownership in Brunei Darussalam since 1954.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scary Trip to Temburong

 Yesterday morning, I was the guest of honour to give out flags to school children at the Amo Primary School in Temburong. The event starts at 8.30 in the morning, so it was decided that we had to leave Bandar Seri Begawan at around 7.15 in the morning. That basically also meant that I had to leave the house at 6.30 in the morning which is not a biggie as I often go to Damuan for my morning walk between 5.45 and 6.00 in the morning anyway.

It was a very misty morning. The mists were unusually thick during the drive from the house to the Royal Wharf. What I did not realise was that the mists were unusually thick too along the river trip to Bangar. We could not see very far ahead and the boat had to keep its lights on to warn oncoming boats. The boat driver had to do this:

One hand on the steering wheel and his head out of the front trying to see where we are going. It was just white mists outside. Every now and then his assistant had to do this cleaning of the mists (yes, there was no window wiper):

I was very glad when we finally reach Bangar at about 8.00 am.

I was glad to be able to give out the flags to the little school children in Amo Primary School. Amo is a school out in the outbacks of Temburong (about 20 kilometers from Bangar) but had dedicated and highly qualified teachers. The Senior Academic Teacher, Cikgu Elena, had only taught for two years but she is armed with a BEd from UBD and a Masters from Hull University. She came from the village next door, Kampong Parit. Last year they even managed to get one student with 5 'A' for his PSR.

Some photos of our trip to the school:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Eternal Kampong Ayer

The Eternal Kampong Ayer
written by Rozan Yunos
published in The Brunei Times, 11th February 2013

IN the recent regatta which was held on February 3, many spectators were seen at the Royal Wharf. Their views of the river while watching the regatta include the Kampong Ayer houses on stilts across the Brunei River.

Even though some of the houses especially the newly built Kampong Ayer houses are now modern houses but which just happened to be built on water, all the houses looked as if they blended in and all we can see are houses on water.

This view of Kampong Ayer is just as described by travellers in the past as far back as 500 years ago such as the Italian chronicler Antonio Pigafetta in 1521: "The city is entirely built in salt water, except for the houses of the king and certain chiefs. It contains twenty five thousand fires. The houses are all constructed of wood and built up from the ground on tall pillars. When the tide is high women go in boats through the settlement selling articles to maintain life ..."

Houses built in Brunei in those days were always made out of wood. Archaeological finds at Sungai Limau Manis which goes even further back to about a thousand years ago showed similar houses were built then on water.

It was mostly from the 16th century onwards which we gather more description of how houses were built in Kampong Ayer. A few accounts of the Kampong Ayer during those times read as follows: "Their houses are small, built of mud and earth, covered partly with rubble and partly with palm leaves. It is ascertained that there are twenty thousand houses in the city of Porne." De Moluccis Insulis by Maximilian of Transylvania. (1521)

"The city of Borneo is big, surrounded by a brick wall, with many buildings where the kings live, and has magnificent palaces." Da Asia, Decara Quarta. Parte Segunda by Joao de Barros, Lisboa, 1777.

"There are in this island many big villages; the city of Borneo is very big and surrounded by a brick wall. It has great and noble buildings, especially the place of the King. It is inhabited by rich merchants who trade in all parts." Cronica de Muyto Alto e Muito Poderoso Rey Destes de Partugal, Dom Joao III Deste Nome. Secunda Parte. By Francisco d'Andrade. Lisboa 1589.

"The island of Borneo is one of the largest in the whole of East India. The capital, which has the same name, is in a swamp so that the inhabitants have to go from one house to another in praus. There are between two and three hundred houses but the inhabitants have more further inland. There are many people on the island." Nederlandesche Reizen. Amsterdam-Harlingen 1784.

"The houses are built on each side of the river upon posts some houses on the right side of the water, are two stories high, which I never saw in any other Malay country." (Forrest 1779:380)

"The city was very large and rich, and was built over a very broad and deep river and had the appearance of another Venice. The buildings were of wood, but the houses were excellently constructed, many of them being constructed of a stone work and gilded, especially the king's palaces, which were of huge size. That city contained a very sumptuous mosque, a very large and interesting building, quite covered with half relief and gilded." Francisco de Sande

By the mid 19th century, the British and other western explorers were actively engaged in Borneo and were affecting the Brunei state. Brunei by the early 19th century only had the north western part of Borneo left from today's Sarawak to the tip of the Borneo Island in Sabah. With the coming of the Rajah Brooke and the North Borneo Company, Brunei was squeezed from both sides. Many travellers came to Brunei in those times and many accounts about the Kampong Ayer were received together with illustrations. These were published in newspapers such as the Illustrated London News (ILN) or the Ballou's Pictorials in USA.

Some of the descriptions read: "...Our last view was drawn at Bruni, in the island of Borneo, and shows the Sultan's palace. Previously to the Powhatan's joining the Japanese expedition, and while on her way, her duties completed her to touch at the island of Borneo for the purpose of ratifying a treaty which was negotiated some fifteen years since, and which requires renewal every five years... The meeting was held at the palace of the Sultan (the house in the centre of the picture), and the negotiation was concluded in a manner satisfactory to both parties. After an exchange of presents of trifling value between our officers and the natives, and a playing the national airs, with a national salute from two howitzers. The result of such expeditions has been to make our flag known and respected in the remotest quarters of the globe." Ballou's Pictorials, November 18, 1855.

"Accordingly, we have received from a correspondent the annexed view of Borneo, the capital of the kingdom of Borneo Proper, or Brunei, lying on the north-west coast of the Island Borneo, on the banks of the river, about ten miles from the sea. The mouth of the river is narrow, with a bar in front of it, on which there are scarcely seventeen feet of water at high tides. Further up, the river has a considerable depth, and here the shipping lies, particularly the Chinese junks, which are moored head and stern. The town, which is on low ground, contains a considerable number of houses, built on posts, four or five feet high, which, at the rise of the tide, allow the water to pass freely under them. The streets are formed by canals, either natural or artificial, which facilitate communication; and the are always covered with boats, which are managed by women with great dexterity." Illustrated London News, December 13, 1845.

"Our correspondent, the Reverend O'Donnell Ross Lewin, naval chaplain to HMS Audacious, describes Brunei as a town actually built in the water, the houses being erected on piles. It stands in the estuary of a river, and can be approached only by small vessels. The Sultan's palace is entered by a ladder." Illustrated London News, October 13, 1888.

"The town of Brunei, the capital of the Malay Sultan who reigns over the greater part of North Borneo, is situated fourteen miles up the Brunei river, which here expands into a lake, with many islands, or rather mud-banks. The houses, constructed of wood, bamboo, and thatch of 'attap' or palm-leaf, are raised upon frames supported by piles in the water, so that the only communication is by means of boats and canoes, the population is estimated at 30,000." Illustrated London News. December 10, 1881.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Kampong Ayer had managed to continue its tradition as the place of choice by many Brunei Malays to stay in. Even with the coming of the first British Resident, MacArthur, who declared that he wanted a new town on dry land, the Kampong Ayer survived.

Even though Kampong Ayer experienced fundamental charges with the shifting of the administrative centre, the Kampong Ayer did not depopulate. In 1971, the Kampong Ayer population represented 60 per cent of the Bandar Seri Begawan residents. Today the Kampong Ayer is still a vibrant place and still housed a number of Bruneians.

The Golden Legacy is the longest running column in The Brunei Times. The author also runs a website at

-- The Brunei Times --

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Raising of the Giant Brunei Flag

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Monday, February 11, 2013 THE giant national flag was raised yesterday, marking the start of the 29th National Day celebration.

The flag-hoisting ceremony took place in front of the Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Among those witnessing the ceremony was Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, as the guest of honour.

In his speech, Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) who was also the event's chairperson said, the hoisting of the national flag marked the beginning of the 29th National Day celebration which will involve all the rakyat.

"Hoisting the giant national flag is an important mechanism through which we portray our love, pride and patriotic spirit," said Hj Mohd Rozan. He added that by hoisting the flag, Bruneians avouch their role as inheritants of the nation who are developing, progressing and defending independence. Hj Mohd Rozan said this year's national day theme, Negaraku Brunei Darussalam (My country Brunei Drussalam), invites us to portray a sense of belonging felt being in our beloved country.

He went on to say that as with every National Day celebration, he expressed hopes that every one of the rakyat would empower the nation into being a nation that is Baldatun Taiyibatun Wa Rabbun Ghafur, which means a good nation that is peaceful, properous and in search of Allah (SWT's) will.

The ceremony proceeded with the handing over of the giant national flag by the guest of honour to personnel from the Royal Brunei Navy to be hoisted. As the flag was raised, the national anthem "Allah Peliharakan Sultan" was sung by the choir from Sayidina Umar Al-Khattab Secondary School and Pg Anak Puteri Hjh Masna Secondary School, accompanied by the Royal Brunei Police Force band. Posters of the 29th National Day celebration and flags were handed over by the minister to all district officers to be distributed to the people in their respective areas.

Also present were Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman, Yang Amat Mulia Pg Seri Wijaya Pg Hj Ahmad Pg Mohd Yusof, Senior Assistant to Chief of State Adat Istiadat, together with secretaries and permanent secretaries at the ministy. Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Commander Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin and Commissioner of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), Pehin Orang Kaya Pendikar Alam CP Dato Paduka Seri Hj Hasrin Dato Paduka Hj Sabtu were also present.

Nurhamiza Hj Roslan

-- News Article Courtesy of The Brunei Times --
-- Photos Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kibaran Jalur Kuning Putih dan Hitam

Kibaran Jalur Kuning Putih dan Hitam
Sebuah sajak karya Haji Rozan Yunos, 6 Februari 2013
Wahai anak watan
Tengoklah dan saksikanlah
Bendera kita berkibar di angkasa
Tidakkah kamu gementar
Tidakkah kamu merasa bangga
Melihat jalur kuning putih dan hitam
Berkibar di angkasa
Perjalanan kita amat jauh
Lebih satu abad kita dinoda
Di bawah perlindungan bangsa asing
Pemerintahan dijalankan
Menggunakan nama Sultan
Tetapi jauh dari realitinya
Berkibar di angkasa
Apakah malang nasib pertiwi
Tidak berupaya mempertahankan diri
Negara diperkosa tanpa bistari
Tetapi kita bangun
1959 pemerintahan dalaman
1984 pemerintahan keseluruhan
Berkibar di angkasa
Tidak ada titisan darah
Hanya keringat di badan
Sultan yang keduapuluh lapan
Memperbetulkan jalan
Dengan perlembagaan diadakan
Bertawakal kepada Illahi
Berkibar di angkasa
Nasib kita mula berubah
Illahi kurniakan sumber galian
Menjadi pembela bangsa dan negara
Negara miskin menjadi kaya
Berupaya membina anak watan
Itulah sejarah perlu dijaga
Berkibar di angkasa
Falsafah negara tidak digubah
Memang sudah turun temurun
Sejak zaman Awang Alak Betatar
Melayu Islam Beraja sudah namanya
Budaya Melayu sudah warisan
Tidak perlu dipersoalkan
Berkibar di angkasa
Alhamdulillah kita ucapkan
Kemerdekaan penuh dikecapi
Laungan Allahu Akbar dilaungkan
Penuh dengan kesayuan dan kebanggaan
Brunei sudah negara merdeka
Jalur kuning putih dan hitam
Berkibar megah di angkasa


Today is the day, Brunei Darussalam's giant flag is raised in Bandar Seri Begawan to mark the beginning of the 29th National Day celebration. As Chairman of the Organising Committee for the event, I thought I will mark it with the publication of this sajak which I wrote a few days before.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Life Is a Gift

Life Is a Gift
Today before you say an unkind word
Think of someone who can't speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food
Think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife
Think of someone who's crying out to the Al-Mighty for a companion.

Today before you complain about life
Think of someone who died too early on this earth.

Before you complain about your children
Think of someone who desires children but they're barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house someone didn't clean or sweep
Think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive
Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job
Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another
Remember that not one of us is without sin.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down
Put a smile on your face and think: you're alive and still around

Inspirational Quotes