Showing posts from October, 2014

Brunei Down on Ease of Doing Business

Fitri Shahminan

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Thursday, October 30, 2014 - BRUNEI is now placed at 101 in the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report 2015, which lists a total of 189 economies.

This is 42 notches lower than its 59th ranking in the previous year.

The Sultanate ranked lower in terms of registering property, getting credit and resolving bankruptcy.

The Washington-based lender said entrepreneurs will need 101 days and go through 15 procedures to set up a new business in the Sultanate.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs in Singapore - which is one of the easiest places to run a business according to the World Bank report - only need 2.5 days to open a business, 31 days to get electricity and four days and $440 to import a container.

Businessmen also need 298 days and go through seven procedures to register a property in Brunei.

In comparison, entrepreneurs who dobusiness in other countries in East Asia and Pacific region will only need 78 days and go through five procedures…

Sultan Brunei: Use Science to Uplift Society


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday encouraged the use of science and technology to improve Muslims’ lives, but warned against using it to undermine the power of Allah SWT.

Delivering his titah during the launch of Knowledge Convention 2014, the Sultan said Islam cannot be separated from science and technology.

“There is nothing wrong with science and technology. Islam in its history of civilisation had contributed to the advancement of science and technology,” His Majesty said.

The monarch said Brunei is not left behind in terms of science and technology.

He said the country uses science and technology to implement the National Development Plans for its infrastructure — roads, buildings, bridges, provision of electricity and water supply, medical facilities and education.

“We make use of science and technology solely for its benefits, not to cause damage on this earth.

Speaking on the conven…

Sultan Brunei: Muslims Must Be Courageous

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Saturday, October 25, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday urged Muslims to be brave and dedicated in upholding and preserving the sanctity of Islam, and make sacrifices in doing good deeds for the sake of Allah SWT.

“By doing so, we will find that (in return) Allah SWT will definitely come to our aid; and this is His promise, verily, Allah SWT’s promise is absolutely true and it will be honoured and never will it be broken,” the monarch said in a titah to mark the Islamic new year 1436 Hijrah.

In the titah, His Majesty noted that Muslims today were weak and have become afraid to show the goodness of Islam and its teaching, placing themselves in a position that is no longer worthy of becoming the best of ummah (community).

This is why it is important for Muslims to learn valuable lessons and examples taught in hijrah — the migration of Prophet Muham-mad SAW from Mekah to Madinah. “Hijrah reveals to us how vitally importa…

Brunei Antiques

Brunei antiques can be quite addictive if one is into it. Take me for instance. I started off with a few pieces handed down by my mother who first got into the habit sometimes in 1980s. She kept them aside and dug them out during my youngest sister's wedding to make way for wedding door gifts in the store room. I realised how much I like them and have continued to the collection since then.

These ones are the latest to be delivered to me at the house which consisted of 6 periuks, 2 pelitas, one table pelita as well as several celapas of different sizes.

Brunei's Affordable Public Housing Bungalows

AsiaOne, Singapore

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 - Unlike the high-rise public housing available in various parts of Asia, Brunei's public homes come in the form of landed houses the size of bungalows in Singapore.

Each of these two-storey houses reportedly measures over 330 sq m or 3,552 sq ft in land area. In Singapore, bungalows have a minimum land area of 400 sq m or 4,306 sq ft.

According to a report on Taiwan's Set TV news, the price tag on one of these government-subsidised homes and the land it is built on is around $84,000.

The two-storey homes come with spacious rooms and kitchens and are comfortable to live in.

Homeowners can sign up for interest-free loans of up to 30 years. There is even a 3-month trial stay period with no charge.

- See more at:
This would seem like an extremely good deal to residents in other Asian countries where land and property are a …

US State Department: US Government Agrees Syariah Law Consistent with Human Rights


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Thursday, October 23, 2014 - BRUNEI must maintain its international human rights commitments as it rolls out the Syariah Penal Code, said a senior US official yesterday.

Shaarik Zafar, the US State Department’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities, said his government believes that Syariah and human rights are compatible, although Washington has expressed concerns about some of the punishments prescribed under the Code.

Zafar, who is in the Sultanate on a two-day visit, met with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and senior religious officials yesterday, to discuss US engagement with the Muslim world, including counter terrorism and Brunei’s introduction of the Syariah Penal Code.

“Brunei has made commitments to international religious freedom and other human rights. The US government is not in a position to say what Syariah law is and what it isn’t. What we do say is that governments that have made a commitme…

Brunei's National Masterplan for a Sustainable Land Transport Masterplan

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, 21 OCTOBER 2013 - BASED on the findings in the National Master Plan for a Sustainable Land Transportation System For Brunei Darussalam conducted by the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS), a MRT or LRT system is not feasible for the country because of low population density and high price tag of the system.

The conclusion was revealed by Dr Diana Cheong, Chief researcher of CSPS, who is also the principal researcher of the master plan, during an interview yesterday.

"We conducted a cost benefit analysis not only on the cost efficiency but also environment, social and political factors. Based on Wawasan 2035 projection of four to six per cent economic growth and future population growth, it was found that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is more than sufficient to meet the needs of the people."

Regarding car dependency, insufficient public transportation and traffic congestion, she said, "The backbone of the strategies in the master p…

Asian Development Bank: Brunei's Economic Growth 2014-2015


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - BRUNEI could see a further contraction in its gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for this year and the next unless oil and gas production recovers, the Asian Development Bank said in its latest report.

In its recent Asian Development Outlook 2014 (ADO 2014), the ADB said the Sultanate is on track for a 1.1 to 1.2 per cent growth in GDP for 2014-2015 provided that the country manages to recover some of its declining hydrocarbon production.

Brunei’s oil and gas production declined in three consecutive quarters, falling by 10.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 from last year.

“Assuming some recovery in hydrocarbon production, forecasts are retained for slight economic growth this year and next,” the Manila-based lender said.

The ADB said that lower production in the oil and gas sector reduced GDP by 3.3 per cent in the first quarter, following a contraction by a revised 1.8 per cent in 2013.

The bank said shutdowns and maint…

Sultan Brunei attends Indonesian President Joko Widodo's inauguration


JAKARTA, Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday attended the official inauguration ceremony of the new President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.

Upon arrival at Gedung Nusantara 1, Kompleks Parlimen, the monarch was greeted by outgoing Indonesian President Dato Laila Utama Dr H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

His Majesty then joined other invited world leaders at the Sidang Paripurna for the official inauguration ceremony.

The monarch also consented to be formally introduced to the assembly of the Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat of Indonesia.

His Majesty witnessed the swearing-in ceremony of Joko Widodo as the seventh President and Muhammad Jusuf Kalla as Vice-President, followed by the signing of their letters of appointment and the new President’s inaugural address.

Other regional leaders present at the ceremony were prime ministers Najib Razak of Malaysia, Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, and Tony Abbott of Australia.

US Secre…

Sultan Brunei meets US Secretary John Kerry

JAKARTA, Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Indonesia yesterday.

The bilateral meeting took place during a reception for invited world leaders in Jakarta, following the inauguration ceremony of the new Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Senior US Department of State officials had said Kerry would meet leaders of Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nations to seek support against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The press briefing released by the US State Department on Sunday addded that the meetings could also touch on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

A press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said His Majesty and Kerry discussed bilateral issues and cooperation between Brunei and the United States, and exchanged views on regional and international matters of mutual concern.

Present were Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd …

Sultan Brunei Meets Italian Prime Minister and Dutch Prime Minister


MILAN, Friday, October 17, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday held two more bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of Italy and The Netherlands on the sidelines of the 10th Asia-Europe Summit Meetings (ASEM).

The Sultan first met with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the MiCo Congressi Convention Centre, where they discussed bilateral issues and cooperation between Brunei and the Netherlands.

Both His Majesty and the prime minister exchanged views on regional and international matters of mutual concern.

The monarch then held another bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Italy is currently hosting the 10th ASEM Summit.

They discussed bilateral issues and cooperation. His Majesty and Prime Minister Renzi had the opportunity to exchange views related to Europe and other regions.

Present during both meetings were Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila…

Brunei Energy Minister: Brunei Commits Green Development


MALAYSIA, Saturday, October 18, 2014 - BRUNEI Darussalam stressed its commitment to pursuing green development in order to develop the energy sector in a sustainable manner.

This was brought up by Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar, who was also one of the invited panellists in a Minister-Industry Dialogue during the Fifth International GreenTech & Eco Products Exhibition & Conference (IGEM) on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) in a statement yesterday said that the aforementioned commitment is in line with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s address at the recent UN Climate Summit where His Majesty announced Brunei’s commitment to 63 per cent reduction of primary energy consumption by 2035 from the business-as-usual scenario with 2009 as the baseline.

On …

Sultan Brunei: Brunei Do Not Condone Terrorism


MILAN, Friday, October 17, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah before fellow leaders from Asia and Europe made it clear that the Sultanate does not stand for terrorism, and called on regional and international partners to work in combatting its roots.

During the Second Plenary Session at the 10th Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) Meeting here in Milan, the monarch said increasing violence and brutality perpetrated by terrorist groups has sparked deep concern among ASEM member states.

The Sultan stressed that Brunei strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms, and totally rejects extremism and radicalism.

His Majesty said Brunei supports the recent UN Security Council Resolutions (2170) and (2178) to suppress the activities of terrorist groups.

Brunei, like other ASEM member countries, believes that the root causes of terrorism and extremism should be addressed in a comprehensive manner, the ruler added.

The monarch welcomed Malaysia’s prop…

Sultan Brunei meet EU President at 10th ASEM


MILAN, Thursday, October 16, 2014 - A DAY ahead of the 10th Asia-Europe Summit Meeting (ASEM), His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam met with the President of the European Council here in Milan yesterday.

His Majesty held bilateral talks with EU President Herman Van Rompuy at the Principe Di Savoia hotel.

During the meeting, His Majesty and the EU president discussed and exchanged views on regional and international matters of mutual concerns.

Also present during the bilateral meeting were Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, and other senior government officials.

Accompanying the EU president were Special Advisor on External Affairs of the European Council, Pedro Serrano; Director for Asia for the European External Action Service, …

Vintage Brunei Measuring Devices

Many young people do not know what these are. These were used by the Brunei Business Establishments, at the markets, at the provision shops. The Dacing or weighing scale was used to measure weights of goods being sold. These were used until about 1973 or thereabouts as Brunei changed to the metric system. The Dacing measures weights using 'katis' which is the local weighing term. During the conversion I remember the PR which keeps saying that one kati is equal to 600 grams.

The Gantang together with its accessories, the Cupak, the Cupak 4 and Cupak 8 are used to measure volumes of goods to be sold off. One gangtang is equal to 4 cupak. These were used probably much earlier.

Sultan Brunei: Greater Engagements Between Governments and People

Izzan Kassim

Saturday, October 11, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam called for greater engagement between governments and people in combating the challenges of the 21st century.

Challenges of the 21st century, such as economic inequalities, pandemic disasters or transnational crime, require the people to be contructively engaged by their government, His Majesty said in a titah delivered during the opening session of the Seventh Bali Democracy Forum (BDF).

His Majesty said that political, economic and social development can “promote greater interaction between the government and its people”. The resulting partnership should be peaceful, inclusive and consultative.

His Majesty associated good governance to “a partnership which recognises and supports the roles and responsibilities of all its stakeholders and is based on trust, dialogue and concensus”.

ASEAN has taken steps to reach out and involve its citizens, along with those in t…

Sultan Brunei: Examine New Curriculum SPN21 for Flaws

Waqiuddin Rajak and Amanda Yap

Friday, October 10, 2014 - THE Ministry of Education (MoE) must not only focus on the strengths and achievements of the national education system, SPN 21, but it must also look into the system’s faults and shortcomings, if any, as it conducts its review.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his Teachers’ Day titah said: “I still remember when the system was first introduced it showed a number of flaws. Have these weaknesses been addressed? What is the outcome?”

His Majesty in commending the ministry’s efforts also lauded its initiative to review the system.

His Majesty said he was pleased to know that the literacy rate in the country for men and women age 15 to 24 were at 99.18 per cent and 99.53 per cent, respectively, which showed that Brunei had met one of its targets in its Millenium Development Goals.

His Majesty said that Brunei had also fulfilled six objectives in the Education for All (EFA) frame…

Brunei Crown Prince: Towards Brunei Vision 2035

Nadzri Zailani

Thursday, October 9, 2014 - HIS Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of the new Majlis Tertinggi Wawasan Brunei 2035 (Vision 2035 Executive Council) attended the council’s first meeting held at the West Wing Conference Room at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) yesterday.

Upon HRH’s arrival, he was greeted by the Co-Deputy Chairman of the Council, Minister of Finance II Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim, and Energy Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Md Yasmin Hj Umar.

The recital of surah Al-Fatihah and Doa started off the meeting.

In a sabda, His Royal Highness said that “the council’s main role is to intensively and systematically assist the efforts of various government agencies in realising the success of the vision’s goals”.

He went on to congratulate the membe…

Brunei Air Force buys US$343 million Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

| Siti Hajar |

9 October 2014 - THE United States Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has confirmed that the US State Department has approved the possible sale of a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules medium-lift military transport aircraft and six Rolls Royce AE2100D3 turbo-propeller engines to the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

“I can confirm that we are looking to acquire the C-130J through the United States Defence Department and we are looking forward to making further progress in the procurement process,” Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat, Deputy Minister of Defence told the Bulletin yesterday.

“Training will also be included in the package and we are still hoping for further progress,” he said, adding that this was “welcome news”.

Brunei had requested clearance from US authorities to purchase the tactical transport aircraft, along with equipment, spare parts and associated training and logistical sup…

Sultan Brunei: No Leniency With Criminals

Nabilah Haris

Sunday, October 5, 2014 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called on law enforcers to find the perpetrator(s) of the recent murder of a woman at a recreational park and send a warning that Brunei is not a safe haven for criminals.

In a titah or royal speech delivered on the eve of Hari Raya Aidil Adha last night, the monarch noted that the perpetrator has yet to be found and whether they are local or not, should be brought to justice.

“I urge our security agencies not to stop pursuing the criminal until he is caught and brought to justice, and they must not be negligent in intensifying efforts towards the prevention of crimes and combating criminals,” His Majesty said, adding that the murder shook the entire country.

The Sultan said all security mechanisms must be improved, and agencies dealing with safety must always stay on their toes and not be fooled by evil tactics that threaten peace and safety.

The mona…

Brunei's Economy Grew 2nd Quarter 2014

Koo Jin Shen

Sunday, October 5, 2014 - BRUNEI recorded a 0.8 per cent economic growth in the second quarter compared to the previous year, the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) said.

The department attributed the gross domestic product increase to the non-oil and gas sector, which grew 2.5 per cent. However, the oil and gas sector decreased by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2014.

JPKE said GDP for Brunei at current prices stood at $4.944 billion.

It noted that the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors had increased by seven per cent year-on-year. This growth was due to increased production of livestock and poultry and vegetables by 12.6 per cent.

Fruits and other agriculture products had also increased by 4.7 per cent.

JPKE further noted the decline of the industrial sector by 0.9 per cent, noting this was due to negative growth of the mining sector by 3.2 per cent. However, the construction sector had increased by 2.8 per cent foll…

Sultan Brunei and United States President Barack Obama