Friday, January 29, 2016

List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputies (28 January 2016)

Latest changes (appointment of Permanent Secretary and Deputy MOE) included up to 28th January 2016.

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)*
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof (Media and Cabinet)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar*

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad (Management and International)
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong*
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman Teo*

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Higher Education)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh (Core Education)*

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Dr. Haji Abd Manaf bin Haji Metussin

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil*

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)*
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Corporate Affairs and Public Administration)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali (Policy and Development)
Capt. (R) Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noeh (Technical)

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Pengiran Nirmala binti Pengiran Mohamed (Performance and Compliance)*
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid (Investment)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Nayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab*
Haji Osman bin Haji Mohd Yusof

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Azman bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned (Policy and Religion)
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah (Administration and Finance)

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Wardi bin Md Ali

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
--Vacant--

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle
Dr. Hajah Maslinah bte Haji Mohsin*

*Women

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Brunei Remains Vigilant Against Terrorism Threats

Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamdan bin Haji Abu Bakar, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, in a group photo with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and other ministers during the launching of the conference. BERNAMA
Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamdan bin Haji Abu Bakar, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, in a group photo with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and other ministers during the launching of the conference. BERNAMA

Brunei remains vigilant against terrorism threats
on: January 27, 2016

THE government of Brunei Darussalam will continue to be vigilant against terrorism or terror-related activities happening in the country, especially in the midst of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) phenomenon.

This was said by Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamdan bin Haji Abu Bakar, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office in a statement at the International Conference on De-radicalisation and Countering Violent Extremism 2016 (IDC 2016) held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from January 25 to 26.

He said, “In the case of Brunei Darussalam, in order to effectively address radicalisation and violent extremism, we must not undermine the fact that neither of these phenomena are exclusive to any one group or religion nor has it always been religiously motivated.

“Brunei intelligence and enforcement agencies will continue to learn and adopt best practices from our counterparts through the sharing of knowledge and their experiences to enhance the current strategies, policies and the undergoing rehabilitation programmes run by the government,” he added, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The deputy minister also stated that, “Although the process of de-radicalisation and reintegration is a long term process and evaluating the effectiveness of our rehabilitation efforts may be a long and daunting task, Brunei and the rest of the world strongly believe that these efforts are significant in ensuring the long term safety and security of our citizens.

The deputy minister, together with other ministers and representatives from Asean member states and other invited countries delivered their Minister Statements – Policy on Deradicalisation on the first day of the conference.

In his statement, the Deputy Minister also said that radicalisation continues to be a significant concern to security agencies all over the world and will remain as one of the potent threat facing our region, especially the extensive use of the internet as a tool in spreading violent extremism and radical propaganda.

On the second day of the conference, the programme was divided into four plenary sessions with respective topics related to deradicalisation programmes in certain countries and steps taken to prevent and countering violent extremism shared by invited experts and scholars.

The conference was launched by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Amongst other countries that took part in the conference together with Asean member states were Australia, People’s Republic of China, Japan, France, United States of America, United Kingdom, Italy, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

Other members of the Brunei delegation who attended the conference included senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and Internal Security Department.

The Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bears and Humans at Bukit Beruang



RozanYunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, January 24, 2016

IF A stranger to Brunei drives through from Tutong to Kuala Belait, he will come across a lot of place name signages along the highway and will, indeed, be surprised to find one that reads Perumahan Kampung Bukit Beruang, or “Bukit Beruang Village Housing Estate” if translated to English. If that special name of Bukit Beruang was to be translated further, it becomes “Bear Hill”.

Bear Hill or Bear’s Hill is, not surprisingly, quite a common name for places around the world. There is a Bear Mountain in California and in Brunei itself, there is a Sungai Beruang or “Bear River” not far from where Bukit Beruang is located.

In Canada, there used to be a place called Bear Hill in the early 19th century but since 2014, it had been changed to Maskwacis which still means Bear Hill in the Cree language.

South Dakota, USA, has a geological feature which is named Bear Butte. Bear Butte is called MathóPahá, or “Bear Mountain” by the Lakota Red Indians, or Sioux Red Indians. To the Cheyenne, it is known as Noahȧ-vose (“giving hill”) or Náhkȯhe-vose (“bear hill”),

According to John Knight in his book “Waiting for Wolves in Japan” (2003), in Japan, bears have an important place in Japanese culture. Japanese family names which bear the bear character would be Kumamura (“Bear Village”), Kumada (“Bear Field”), Kumazawa (“Bear Marsh”), Kumagai (“Bear Valley”) and Kumamoto (“Bear Origin”). While place names which also uses the bear character would be Kumayama (“Bear Mountain”), Kumaoka (“Bear Hill”), Kumagawa (“Bear River”) and Kumano (“Bear Plain”).

All these place names are associated with any of the eight species of bears in the world. Some may be where bears used to be found or located and hence that place carries the name of the bears. It is therefore not surprising that where the name of Bukit Beruang in Tutong would also be in reference to bears found in that area.

According to the elders of the Bukit Beruang area, Kampung Bukit Beruang was originally named Tepangan Beruang, which means “the tree where the bear lived”. Bears in that area are believed to nest or live on top of a certain tree and that is called ‘tepangan’.

It was said that in the old days, there were too many bears in the village. Every time a villager entered the forest, he would definitely meet a bear, especially villagers from Kampung Penyatang and Kampung Danau who were using perahus or small boats plying through the Rivers of Penyatang and Uropyang. These rivers were used as the route for their farming activities and to sell those agricultural products “bertamu” (“buying and selling”).

Most likely, the bears mentioned by those villagers are “Sun Bears”, a species of bears found typically in Southeast Asia and on the Borneo Island. According to studies on the sun bears, they are not very big. Sun bears usually grow to only about half the size of an American black bear. Males, slightly larger than females, are about five feet (1.5 metres) in length and weigh up to 150 pounds (70kg), a stature which suits their arboreal lifestyle and allows them to move easily through the trees.

What is interesting is that these bears have even been observed making sleeping platforms high above the ground out of branches and leaves. This means that the elderly villagers in Bukit Beruang were correct to describe that the bears in Bukit Beruang were found on top of trees and nested or lived on top of a certain tree.

The bears giving the name to Bukit Beruang are unique. There are eight living bear species in the world and the Malayan Sun Bears are the smallest of those eight species. The Malayan sun bear has short, sleek fur which is usually black but can range from reddish-brown to grey. Almost every sun bear has an individually distinct chest patch that is typically yellow, orange, or white, and may sometimes be speckled or spotted.

The Bukit Beruang bears or the Malayan Sun Bears have broad muzzles that are relatively short and a large head, giving the bears a dog-like appearance. They have small, rounded ears, a fleshy forehead that occasionally looks wrinkled, and an extremely long tongue which apparently is longest of all the bear species.

With feet turned slightly inward, large naked paws and long curved claws, thus making the sun bears well adapted for climbing trees. Their feet are extraordinarily large compared with its body size, potentially assisting in digging and breaking into dead wood in search of insects. The Malayan sun bears on Borneo are the smallest of this species and are considered by many to warrant subspeciesstatus (Helarctosmalayanuseurispylus).

The Malayan Sun Bears even though relatively known but scientifically it is considered as the least studied bear species, and comparatively to other bear species, little is known about the Malayan sun bear. It is known to be an opportunistic omnivore, using its long tongue to eat termites and ants, beetle larvae, bee larvae, honey and a large variety of fruit species, especially figs. Occasionally, it will also eat small rodents, birds and lizards.

During periodic mass-fruiting events, fruit makes up most of the diet, providing the opportunity for sun bears to build up, or recover, fat and energy reserves for the prolonged period of low fruit availability following these events. The sun bear spent most of its day hours foraging, although in human-disturbed areas it becomes more nocturnal. Unlike other bears in other parts of the world, it does not hibernate, as food is available year round.

What is interesting from the history of Kampung Bukit Beruang is not just where the unique bears meet and from which the place is named but there is also the history of the village itself. Bukit Beruang is also the place for the meeting of the people from the west, namely Kampung Bukit Udal and its surroundings with the people from areas next to the sea namely Kampung Penyatang, Kampung Danau and Kampung Telisai.

Using the river route while trading and “bertamu” on the river at a place called called Tamuan Lawai, residents from the villages next to the sea would be bringing merchandise such as dried fish, shrimp and so on while the people from the interior would be bringing their farming produce such as rice, cassava, sugar cane and others. Their recorded history began around the 1940s and 1950s.

Bukit Beruang area has two distinctive places, the original village of Bukit Beruang Village as well as the National Housing Estate Bukit Beruang. There are about 4,000 inhabitants in these two places.

It also has good infrastructure such as two secondary schools, the Sayyidina Othman Secondary School and the Tutong Sixth Form Centre. It also has a mosque as well as a community hall for the use of the inhabitants. There is also a Fire and Rescue Station in the area. There is also a number recreational places for exercises and sports, children playground area, a futsal arena and a basketball court.

Readers will hope and pray that Bukit Beruang will continue to prosper for both its human and bear residents.

The writer of The Golden Legacy – the longest running column in The Brunei Times – also runs a website at bruneiresources.com.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputies (26 January 2016)

Latest changes (appointment of Permanent Secretary MPRT and Deputy Permanent Secretary MOH) included up to 26th January 2016.

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof (Media and Cabinet)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad (Management and International)
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman Teo

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Core Education)

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Dr. Haji Abd Manaf bin Haji Metussin

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Corporate Affairs and Public Administration)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali (Policy and Development)
Capt. (R) Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noeh (Technical)

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Pengiran Nirmala binti Pengiran Mohamed (Performance and Compliance)
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid (Investment)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Nayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab
Haji Osman bin Haji Mohd Yusof

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh
Datin Dr. Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina bte Pehin Dato Haji Abd Aziz

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned (Policy and Religion)
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah (Administration and Finance)

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Wardi bin Md Ali

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
--Vacant--

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle
Dr. Hajah Maslinah bte Haji Mohsin

Note:
This list is superseeded by the latest appointment. Link here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Brunei Darussalam Year in Review 2015



Oxford Business Group issued this report on 19 January 2016:-



+++++

Brunei Darussalam Year in Review
Economic News Update
19 Jan 2016

 While 2015 saw some progress in Brunei Darussalam’s ongoing diversification efforts, the challenging external climate, together with an increasingly competitive regional environment, further underscored the importance of pursuing non-oil revenue sources.

Lower global energy prices, on top of weaker commodity earnings, sparked a significant drop in government revenues in 2015, prompting both the public and private sectors to sharpen their focus on other areas of the economy, including financial services, the halal industry and tech start-ups.

However, a relatively strong Bruneian dollar and lower commodity prices also served to curb inflation over the year, with the consumer price index up by a marginal 0.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) in November, according to the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD).

The year ahead looks set to bring new opportunities from regional initiatives, notably the newly launched ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Progress in the Trans-Pacific Partnership also bodes well for the Sultanate, although both initiatives are likely to increase competition amongst signatories looking to position themselves as investment destinations.

According to the IMF, the economy is expected to rebound in the coming years, with GDP growth forecast to reach 3.2% and 3.8% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, before scaling up to 11.2% by 2019.

Energy earnings down

News at the end of 2015 that oil prices had fallen to their lowest level since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 reaffirmed the extent of the challenge facing Brunei Darussalam. The hydrocarbons sector traditionally accounts for roughly 60% of GDP and more than 90% of government revenue.

Brent crude futures dipped close to $30 per barrel in mid-January, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices were down 26.5% on the year, according to Platts Japan/Korea Marker, with the average spot price of LNG cargoes arriving in north-east Asia dropping to $7.40 per million British thermal units in January.

Lower energy receipts triggered a third consecutive year of recession in the Sultanate, with the economy expected to contract by around 1.5% in 2015, according to IMF estimates.

However, this marks an improvement over the 2.3% decline registered in 2014 and the 2.6% y-o-y contraction recorded in the first six months of the year, according to the AMBD. The first-half decline was a function of negative growth in both the hydrocarbons and non-hydrocarbons sectors, which shrank by 3.5% and 1.5% y-o-y, respectively.

Although the government trimmed the FY 2015/16 budget by $250m, the country is expected to post a fiscal deficit of 16% of GDP for the year, in contrast to the 28% surplus recorded in 2011.

While further spending cuts are widely expected, Brunei Darussalam is moving ahead with several key infrastructure developments, including the BN$1.6bn ($1.1bn) Temburong Bridge project.

Expected to be completed in 2019, the 30-km dual two-lane highway will connect the Brunei Muara District with Temburong to the south-east, with the initial phases of construction to handled by a combination of local, South Korean and Chinese firms.

Industry advances

The year also brought some positive news in the energy sector, as the Sultanate moved ahead with counter-cyclical spending measures.

The majority state-owned Brunei Gas Carriers took delivery of another LNG tanker in July as part of its plans to upgrade its fleet. The Amadi, constructed by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, should help the country deliver larger cargoes more efficiently, providing a welcome boost in an increasingly competitive market.

Meanwhile, work continued on the new oil refinery and aromatics cracker complex on the Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) industrial island, with ground broken in May for a bridge linking PMB to the mainland.

According to estimates from economists at the Asian Development Bank, the plant is expected to inject around $2bn per year into the Bruneian economy, boosting GDP by 2% once fully operational, with completion forecast for 2018.

Regional opportunities

Expanding regional and international trade remains a key strategic focus of the Sultanate, with a series of regulatory changes and liberalisation measures enacted in 2015.

In March Brunei Darussalam outlined plans to change its tariff structures, improve foreign direct investment rules and enact a National Competition Law ahead of the year-end launch of the AEC. According to regional press reports from early January, the Sultanate has achieved nearly all the tariff cuts envisaged in the AEC’s “Blueprint 2015” master plan.

The year also saw reforms aimed at easing the process of doing business in Brunei Darussalam, led by improvements to the licensing process for start-ups.

A single business licence has been introduced, replacing the variety of licences issued by multiple authorities that were previously required. Additionally, a new authority was established to oversee licensing procedures, and an online portal to the Registrar of Companies and Business Names was created, allowing users to pay fees remotely.

According to media reports, the country’s streamlining efforts have reduced the wait time for licensing from three months to just a few days.

Market makers

In addition, the Sultanate’s financial sector is expected to undergo significant development in the next two years.

In May the AMBD announced plans to launch a securities exchange as early as 2017, following the introduction of new capital market rules in February. The new securities exchange will enable Brunei Darussalam to ramp up its role in the increasingly integrated ASEAN capital markets, allowing businesses to access funding via listings and other available instruments.

In another landmark move, the AMBD said in mid-June that it plans to issue long-term sukuk (Islamic bond) for the first time. Expected to take place in 2016, the issue will broaden and deepen the country’s Islamic bond market, marking the end of an era dominated by maturities of one year or less.

Such reforms should help Brunei Darussalam prepare for a year that looks set to bring a mix of new opportunities and familiar challenges.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Oil Price Affects Brunei's National Spending (2016)


Oil price drop affects national spending
on: January 20, 2016
| Siti Hajar |

THE falling global oil prices are taking their toll on Brunei’s economy, with the government acknowledging yesterday that the current international economic climate surrounding the oil and gas industry is expected to further feed into Brunei’s financial deficit, should the trend continue.

From a $213 million shortage in government spending for the year 2014/2015, it can spiral to $2.3 billion by the end of the current fiscal year if global oil prices continue to fall.

In a speech delivered yesterday at the launching of the Enterprise Open Day at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance II, pointed to the “reality” that the shortfall in income that accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP, “has implications on the government’s abilities and ways in current and future spend-ing, especially if the situation is prolonged.”

According to the short-term energy outlook report published by the US Energy Information Administration, the international benchmark for oil prices, Brent Crude, is predicted to be at US$40 per barrel for the year 2016, increasing next year to US$50 per barrel, which is about half of what prices were in 2014 at US$98.89.

The minister pointed out that over the past few weeks, a number of oil-producing countries introduced measures to offset the lowering price of international oil, including the introduction of Goods and Services Tax as well as reducing subsidies for certain oil-related products.

As of yesterday, the price for oil fell to below US$30 per barrel, attributed to the continuous global supply glut, stock piling and the recent lifting of sanctions over Iran, whose oil is expected to enter the already oversupplied market.

“Brunei Darussalam is not exempted from experiencing the negative impact brought about by this phenomenon,” he said, stating that current global oil price has significantly affected the country, whose government is financially dependent on the oil and gas sector by roughly 90 per cent.

In his reaction to these concerns, the minister stressed for the need to practise prudency in spending to ensure economic sustainability.

But because national spending isn’t limited to just the government, the people were also urged to “accept the fact that government’s ability to spend will be limited”, with the spending focus now being priority, needs, capacity and significance in harnessing economic activity and work opportunities for locals.

The public sector, he said, will be required to diversify the economy beyond the volatile oil and gas sector, referring to strategies that include attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and strengthening Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in keeping with several titahs made by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

“We need to change the ‘business as usual’ practice as a means to overcome our current challenges. The government, the public sector and the public must change their mindset and the way they work to one which is more positive in order to play a more significant role in being proactive and efficient in any effort, especially in terms of reducing their respective operational costs,” said the minister.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Latest List of Permanent Secretaries and Deputies 12 January 2016

Latest changes (transfer of Deputy Permanent Secretary, MPRT to MOF and retirements) included up to 12th January 2016.

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Yahya bin Haji Idris (Corporate Affairs and Civil Service)
Dato Paduka Haji Jamain bin Haji Julaihi (Energy)
Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman (Research and Development, Economy and Finance)
Dato Paduka Haji Joanda HA Rashid (Law and Welfare)
Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli (Industry)
Pengiran Datin Shazainah bte Pg Dato Paduka Shariffudin (International)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof (Media and Cabinet)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Datin Paduka Hajah Suriyah binti Haji Umar

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohammad
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman (Performance)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi
Datin Tan Bee Yong
Dato Paduka Haji Matnor bin Haji Jeludin
Sheikh Haji Fadilah bin Sheikh Haji Ahmad
Emaleen bte Abdul Rahman Teo

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Md Abdoh bin Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd Rahman (Core Education)

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Dato Seri Setia Haji Abd Aziz bin Orang Kaya Maharaja Lela Haji Md Yusof

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Md Lutfi bin Abdullah (Administration and Finance)
Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny (Technical and Professional)

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
--Vacant--

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Dato Paduka Dr. Haji Affendy bin Pehin Dato Haji Abidin
Datin Paduka Dr. Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Jalil

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
Muhammad Nor Shafie bin Dato Paduka Haji Jalil (IT, E-Government and Industry)
Dr. Hajah May Faezah bte Haji Ahmad Arifin (Economy and Finance)
Haji Md Azmi bin Haji Hanifah (Energy and Industry)
Md Riza bin Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (Corporate and Public Administration)

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Abu Suffian bin Haji Ali
Capt. (R) Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noel

Ministry of Finance (MOF)
Pengiran Nimala binti Pengiran Mohamed
Khairuddin bin Abd Hamid (Investment)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT)
Haji Sulia bin Haji Nayan
Adanan bin Haji Jaafar
Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abd Wahab
Haji Osman bin Haji Mohd Yusof

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Idris bin Hj Md Ali
Haji Md Sunadi bin Buntar

Ministry of Education (MOE)
Dr. Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh
Datin Dr. Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina bte Pehin Dato Haji Abd Aziz

Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA)
Haji Harun bin Haji Juned
Haji Roslan bin Tajaah

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)
Wardi bin Md Ali

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
--Vacant--

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS)
Noorjusmin bin Haji Abd Samad

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Dr. Rahmah binti Haji Said
Dr. Hazri bin Haji Kifle

Note:
This list is superseeded by the latest appointment. Link here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HM Sultan Brunei Launches Longest Bridge in Southeast Asia







Temburong bridge taking shape
on: January 17, 2016
| Siti Hajar |

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday morning consented to attend the foundation laying ceremony of the Temburong bridge.

Accompanying His Majesty at the ceremony were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

Upon arrival at the foundation laying project site of the Temburong bridge in Kampong Sungai Besar, Jalan Kota Batu, His Majesty was greeted by Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance II as Chairman of the National Committee for the Temburong Bridge; Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office as Deputy Chairman of the National Committee for the Temburong Bridge; and Dato Paduka Awang Haji Bahrin bin Abdullah, Minister of Development.

The ceremony began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah led by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

His Majesty then watched a video presentation on the concept of the Temburong bridge which showcased the design of the bridge once the construction is completed.

Later His Majesty proceeded to officiate the foundation laying ceremony of the Temburong bridge, accompanied by the call of the Takbir led by the State Mufti.

His Majesty then signed a commemorative plaque of the Temburong bridge.

To bless the ceremony, a Doa Selamat was recited by the State Mufti.

Soon after the Doa Selamat, His Majesty heard a briefing on the progress of the landmark construction project from Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny, Permanent Secretary (Technical & Professional) at the Ministry of Development, as Chairman of Technical Working Committee for the Temburong Bridge.

His Majesty then proceeded to view the exhibition where a briefing on the construction of the Temburong bridge as a whole was given by Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Development.

After the briefing, His Majesty received a pesambah from the National Committee for the Temburong Bridge, presented by Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance II, as Chairman of the National Committee of the Temburong Bridge.

While viewing the exhibition, His Majesty was also briefed on the contract packages for the construction of the Temburong bridge by Haji Amer Hishamuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Zakaria, Acting Deputy Director-General of the Public Works Department, Ministry of Development followed by briefings by the managements of the Daelim Industrial Co Ltd-Swee Sdn Bhd Joint Venture and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited-Ocean Quarry & Construction Sdn Bhd Joint Venture.

His Majesty was also introduced to some of the locals who were currently working with these companies.

A total of 33 locals are now employed by Daelim Industrial Co Ltd, while 20 locals are employed by China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited.

His Majesty then proceeded to view Lego models of the Temburong bridge while hearing a briefing by Yee Kok On, Director of Department of Roads, Public Works Department.

His Majesty later signed a Commemorative Parchment, and joined a group photo session with members of the National Committee and Project Management of the Temburong bridge project.

Prior to departure, His Majesty attended a luncheon.

The Temburong bridge, which will link Jalan Utama Mentiri in Brunei-Muara District and Jalan Labu Estate in Temburong District, traversing the Brunei Bay, is one of the largest public infrastructure projects ever carried out in this country.

The construction of the Temburong bridge reflects His Majesty’s concern for the welfare of the citizens and residents of the country.

The construction will be carried out in several phases or packages and is expected to be completed in 2019.

The construction will take place over a five-contract package, or phases, to include work on a two 13.4km marine viaducts, a 1.1km cable-stay navigation bridge, the 11.8km Temburong viaduct, the installation of systems encompassing traffic control and surveillance, supervisory control and data acquisition and road lighting as well as the power supply system to provide high-voltage electricity to power the entire bridge.

In tune with Brunei’s Malay Islamic Monarchy philosophy, the bridge, which overlooks the Brunei Bay to one side and the water village on the other, will also feature several stars placed within crescent moons set atop towers, or pylons, that will also carry the three ‘Kalimah’ of ‘Subhanallah’, ‘Alhamdulillah’, and ‘Allahu Akbar’, with each signature tower dedicated to the country’s four districts.

In a New Year titah, the monarch had said the bridge would provide socio-economic opportunities for Bruneians, with tourism among several markets that can be expanded as per the country’s plans for financial diversity.

The contracts were awarded to two local contractors in partnership with two international companies with a total of 53 locals employed.

The average duration of each phase is approximately 39 months until the first quarter of 2019.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A 16th Century Spanish Account of Brunei


Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, January 17, 2016

MANY Brunei history enthusiasts are very familiar with Pigafetta’s narratives about Brunei. Antonio Pigafetta was the Italian chronicler who was part of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition around the world in the 16th century.

It was his description of Brunei that many historians quoted quite extensively. His description is very comprehensive and covered many areas including the first description of the city entirely built on salt water. Parts of his description of Brunei include the following description of Kampong Ayer complete with its padians:

“The city is built in the sea, the King’s palace and the houses of the principal persons excepted. It contains twenty-five thousand hearths or families. The houses are built of wood upon large piles, to keep them from the water. When the tide rises, the women, who are chief venders of necessaries, traverse the town in boats. In front of the King’s place is a large wall, built with bricks of great size, with embrazures, or rather port-holes, as in a fortress; and on the wall are mounted fifty-six bombards of brass, and fix of iron: in course of two days we passed in the city, they made several discharges from these guns.”

Pigafetta described the Sultan as: “the King, who is a Mahometan, is called Rajah Siripada. He is very corpulent and may be about forty years of age. He is waited upon by women alone, the daughters of the chief inhabitants of the island. No one is allowed to address him otherwise than in the manner I have described, through a sarbacane. He has ten secretaries constantly employed on different matters of state, who write on a very thin epidermis of certain trees which is called chiritoles. He never leaves his palace upon any occasion other than to hunt.”

According to historian, John S. Carrol writing in “The Brunei Museum Journal 1985”, there were others who also wrote about the expedition. He focused on one in particular which was written by a Basque who was a priest, an ecclesiastical censor of books for the Holy Office (Inquisition) by the name of Rodrigo de Aganduru Moriz.

Carrol noted that Aganduru Moriz was part of a mission arriving in Manila in 1606 where he was stationed in Zambales. It was probably around 1622 or 1623 when he visited Brunei and penned his chapter about Brunei. In 1626, Aganduru Moriz died in Spain after completing his book ‘Historia general de las islas occidentales of la Asia adyacentes, Hamadas Philipinas’.

Aganduru Moriz’s book published in 1882 tells about the exploits of the Magellan expedition as well as another expedition by Juan Garcia Jofre de Loaisa. Aganduru Moriz also quoted extensively the expedition of another Basque Juan Sebastian del Cano to Brunei where he described the Sultan of Brunei and the people of Brunei as follows:

“The king of the island is powerful and a great lord. The people are Muslims. In their customs they are like the rest, and this sufficies for now until we describe them when Doctor (Francisco de) Sande, governor and captain general of these Philippine Islands (1575-1580) conquered the city where the king is.”

The conquest of Brunei was when the Spanish in the Philippines attacked and conquered Brunei in 1578 before the Spaniards were driven out again. In those days, Brunei was seen as a big threat to Christianity. The destruction of Brunei became the Spaniards primary objective in the mid-16th century. After the Sultan of Brunei refused to accept a treaty with the Spaniards in 1573, a Spanish armada with 40 warships had arrived off Brunei in 1578.

The Spaniards sent a letter to the Sultan demanding among other things that “preachers of the holy gospel, who may preach the law of the Christians in your lands in all security”, and that Brunei not “send no preachers of the sect of Mohama to any part of these islands” and that Brunei must “forbid its people from asking tribute in these islands.”

Dr Francisco on learning that the Sultan would not agree to his demands, immediately attacked the 50 Brunei warships surrounding him. The Bruneians were caught by surprise and outgunned by the Spaniards, were not able to defend Brunei.

Aganduru Moriz continued to describe the visit of Juan Sebastian del Cano in Brunei where they were brought into the city by elephants. Even though Brunei did not have any elephants, Juan Sebastian del Cano noted that the elephants in Brunei were from the kingdom of Jor (probably Johore) which the kingdom of Pan (probably Pahang) follows and then that of Patan (probably Petani), and from here they brought ‘the king of Burney those which he had’.

The Castillians were brought into the city on the elephants and waiting “in the streets there were at one place or another four thousand Burneyes in ranks with cutlasses and shields, lances and naked creeses. Among this guard the Castillians arrived at the royal house.”

“They entered a hall where a very rich carpet was placed on the floor where they commanded our men to sit and to put the present next to themselves. They then opened certain doors or sliding windows, whereupon another hall higher than in which they were was discovered, which was incorporated with it, and it appeared to be all one, except for being a cubit more elevated, It was all hung with silk, and at its crest the king was seated with a son of his on a rich rug of gold and silk with its cushions.”

“It is the custom for this king to talk through a tube in this manner. He who talks to him takes the tube and talks with his secretary and the secretary has another tube which he talks to the king and receives the responses, and in the same order he gives them so that it seems to be a dance of sticks as they raise and lower the tubes.”

The visitors were well treated. It was described that ‘they took a collection of cloves and cinnamon and nutmegs.’ They were then taken from the palace and brought to a ‘very well decorated house, where they brought them a very splendid supper of capon, chicken, veal, pork, venison, peacock and other birds they noticed having been served thirty two different dishes, without appetisers or desserts.’

The visitors described Brunei as a city of ‘thirty thousand fires ’ which is equal to about thirty thousand families. ‘Many of the houses are very large although of very well carved boards, set on very thick posts of a fathom to a fathom and a half in circumference and of a wood so strong that they stay one hundred years under the ground’.

Brunei’s land was described as ‘most abundant with rice. The ordinary bread of these regions, chickens, deer, pigs, buffaloes and goats. They harvest much sugar. There are cinnamon, camphor, saltpetre, ginger, mirabolans, oranges, limes, and many other esteemed things.’

It is indeed interesting to read about the descriptions of the palace and of Brunei more than four hundred years ago.

The writer of The Golden Legacy – the longest running column in The Brunei Times – also runs a website at bruneiresources.com.

The Brunei Times

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tranquility at Tanjung Batu, Muara - Latest Brunei Tourism Destination












Adib Noor
Brunei-Muara
Sunday, January 10, 2016

TUCKED somewhere in Jalan Muara just before the scenic Muara Beach is a view like no other. Build as unique manmade landmark to maintain clean, sustainable rivers and a stable coastline around the area, this area has now become a haven for residents from the surrounding area.

This majestic location is named simply as Tanjong Batu which consists of a long stretched out manmade structure, and a specially designed seawall which provides protection to the coast line.

Once there, visitors will find a billboard which further explains the background and objectives of Tanjong Batu. The contents of the billboard stated that the area is part of project headed by the Ministry of Development Brunei Darussalam which was initiated to help Tanjong Batu from further land and cliff erosions. This project in turn aids in protecting the ecology of Sungai Pemburongunan and the rare turtle nesting areas along the coastal the region.

When I finally made my way into the venue I instantly fell in love. As you take a stroll along the manmade structure you are automatically surrounded by the natural beauty Brunei has to offer.

The sound of crashing waves as you stare across the coastline and long sandy beaches and on the other side the dense jungle and calming rivers, a perfect example of balance between man and nature. “I love it here, it’s perfect for a quick run and when I’m done running with my friends we just sit back and wait for the sun to set before heading back to our car,” said Zatty Joanda, a frequent visitor.

“The construction of the sea wall is a good move by those in charge providing not only a safe venue for running but also a nice place for fishing,” she further added.

Speaking of fishing fanatics, the manmade wonder is a favourite fishing hole for residents around the area. “Me and my friends love fishing here and it’s amazing how we never go back home empty handed,” said Ahmad Faizin one of the many fishing enthusiasts who have made the area a frequent fishing spot.

He further shared that some of the catches included squids, Sea bass , “bebatik” and many more in accordance to the season.

One thing everyone can agree on is the sweet sense of calmness that only Tanjong Batu can give. “This place is a so calming, especially when you just walk along the pavement, if I need a break I would just grab my longboard and cruise around until the sunset taking in the natural beauty around me,” shared 23-year-old Fakhrul Islam.

So do remember... if you are looking for a little piece of serenity then look no further. Tanjong Batu is the destination that you should head to.

Just cruise around the road heading to Muara beach and look for the turning to Tanjong Batu.

You will find sign boards which will guide you to the unique manmade Tanjong Batu structure.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Brunei and Malacca in the 15th Century


Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, January 10, 2016

ONE of the best sources for Malay history is the “Sejarah Melayu” or in English is known as the “Malay Annals”. The subjects covered in the work included the founding of the kingdom of Malacca and its relationship with neighbouring kingdoms, the advent and spread of Islam in the region, the history of the royalty in the region as well as the administrative hierarchy of the Malacca kingdom and its successor states. It is regarded as the finest literary and historical works in the Malay language. It was originally written in the Classical Malay in the old Jawi script.

The original version of it was said to be written during the reign of the Malacca Sultanate in Malacca. It was brought together when Sultan Mahmud Shah fled from Malacca in 1511. In 1528, the original document was brought to Johor from Kampar. In 1536, the document was seized by the Portuguese but it was later brought back to Malacca.

The original script was rewritten in 1612 commissioned by the regent of Johor, Raja Abdullah who later became Sultan Abdullah Mu’ayat Syah ibni Sultan Abdul Jalil Syah.

Today, despite the fact that there are a number of versions, Malay historians have considered this text as a primary source of historical information on past events as the events are verifiable by other historical sources.

One of the best translation of the “Sejarah Melayu” or the “Malay Annals” in the English version was done by John Leyden and published in 1821. John Leyden’s translation was from this version of the Annals dated 1612 and coded Raffles MS number 18, which is considered the oldest and most faithful to the original.

There is a possibility that Raffles MS number 18 version was developed further from a past genealogical list of kings complete with the periods of reigns and dates. This list of kings was subsequently enlarged by various stories and historically relevant material which was inserted into it in suitable places, but at the same time the dates of their reigns were removed.

It was theorised that this list could have been originally derived from other unknown Malay texts titled “Soelalet-Es-salatina” or “Su lank alatu’l-Salatina”, that was referred to by Petrus Van der Vorm and François Valentijn in their works “Collectanea Malaica Vocabularia” (Collection of Malay Vocabulary) (1677) and “Oud En New Oost Indien” (“A Short History of East Indies”) (1726) respectively.

However, in the introduction of Raffles MS number 18, it was described that the manuscript originated from another manuscript known as “Hikayat Melayu”, which can trace its origin to the time of the Malacca Sultanate (1400–1511).

The manuscript was brought together when the last ruler, Sultan Mahmud Shah fled from the Portuguese invasion in 1511 to Kampar.

In 1536, during the Portuguese attack on Johor Lama, where the exiled sultan established his base, the manuscript was seized by the Portuguese soldiers and brought to Goa, Portuguese India. It was decades later, in the early 17th century, that the manuscript was returned to Johor from Goa by a nobleman known as Orang Kaya Sogoh.

The Annals among others contain the genealogical origin of Sang Sapurba (said to be the father of the Royal dynasties of the Malay World) from Raja Iskandar Zulkarnain (Alexander the Great); the adventure of Sang Nila Utama from Palembang to Temasek, and the founding of Singapura; the legend of Badang, a man with an unusual strength; the story of Hang Nadim, the saviour of Singapura attacked by swordfishes; the fall of Singapura to Majapahit; the founding of Melaka; the story of Tun Perak, the most revered Bendahara of Melaka; the saga of Hang Tuah and his companions; the Legend of Puteri Gunung Ledang; and the Portuguese conquest of Melaka.

However, many of us in Brunei do not realise that Brunei was mentioned in the Malay Annals. Many assumed that the Malay Annals only contained tales of the Malaysian states and their royal families. But Brunei was indeed mentioned in the Malay Annals.

It is in the XVth chapter that Brunei appeared. According to the translation done by John Leyden and published in 1821, the text about Brunei read as follows:

“…Then, Tun Talani sailed away for China, when a violent storm arose, and carried him with the mantri Jana Petra, to Burne. When the Sangaji of Burne was informed of the circumstance, he sent to call them into his presence, and Tun Talani and the mantra Jana Petra were brought before him.”

“Then, the raja of Burne said to the mantri Jana Petra, ‘What is the stile of the raja of Malaca’s letter to the raja of China?” Tun Talani replied, ‘I, his servant, (sahaya) the raja of Malaca, to the Paduca of my father, the raja of China.” (“Sembah sahaya Raja Melaka, datang kepada Paduka Ayahanda Raja China”)

The raja of Burne enquired, “Does the raja of Malaca send this humble salutation to the raja of China, as an inferior?”

Tun Talani remained silent, but the mantri Jana Petra pushed forward and said, “No, Sire, he does not greet him as an inferior, for the meaning of (sahaya) the word used in the address, signifies slave in the Malayu language, and of course the phrase ‘Sahaya Raja Malaca datang kapada Paduca Ayahanda Raja China, ‘signifies ‘we the salves of the raja of Malaca, humbly salute the Paduca our father, the raja of China’.”

“Then said the raja of Burne, ‘Does the raja of Malaca send a humble salutation to the raja of China?”

Tun Talani was again silent, and the mantri Jana Petra pushed again forward and said, “No, Sire, he does not send a humble greeting to the raja of China, for the phrase Sahaya Raja Malaca denotes all of us here, who send the greeting, not the raja of Malaca,” on which the raja of Burne remained silent.

“When the monsoon for returning arrived, Tun Talani and the mantri Jana Petra asked permission of Sangaji of Burne, to return, and the raja of Burne sent a letter to Malaca, couched in this style, “May the greeting of the Paduca Anakanda arrive beneath the majesty of the Ayahanda.” (Paduka anakanda empunya-nya sembah datang ka-bawah Duli Paduka Ayahanda)

“Then Tun Talani and the mantri Jana Petra returned, and then they reached Malaca, they presented the letter of the raja of Burne to Sultan Mansur Shah, and related all the circumstances which had occurred to them, to the great satisfaction of the raja, who rewarded highly Tun Talani and mantri Jana Petra, and presented them with honorary dresses, and he highly praised the mantri Jena Petra…”

According to the book “Sejarah Berunai” written by Yura Halim and Jamil Umar published in 1951, the Sang Aji mentioned in the Malay Annals was Sultan Sharif Ali. Though judging by the years of reign of the various Sultans of Brunei now, there is clearly a difference of years during the reign of Sultan Sharif Ali of Brunei and Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca during which this tale was told.

Sultan Manshur Shah reigned from 1459 to 1477 but Sultan Sharif Ali reigned from 1425 to 1432. The possibilities then the Sang Aji mentioned in the book are Brunei Sultans reigning after Sultan Sharif Ali which are Sultan Sulaiman (1432 to 1485) or Sultan Bolkiah (1485 to 1524). If all the dates are correct then the Sang Aji Brunei mentioned in the Malay Annals is the then Sultan Sulaiman, the fourth Sultan of Brunei.

What is clear and important to note, as stated by Yura Halim and Jamil Umar in their book “Sejarah Berunai” is that there was no other mention of Brunei in the Annals.

Even though Brunei and Malacca did a diplomatic exchange, there was no indication that Brunei was a vassal state of Malacca even though the Malacca Malay Empire during that period was at its peak.

The Brunei Times

Friday, January 08, 2016

Brunei Arts Enthusiasts Association (PeSTAB)








Rebecca Oi
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Thursday, January 7, 2016

IN THE recent years, the local creative industry has become prominent in the sultanate, noticeably targeting the youth. The Brunei Arts Enthusiasts Association (PeSTAB) chaired by Awang Seruddin Haji Awang Damit has been striving to boost the industry since its inauguration in 2005.

Starting with a group of 15 people, the association has grown to 80 members specialising in all aspects of the creative and cultural industry which include craft, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts.

Speaking to The Brunei Times recently, Awang Seruddin said that PeSTAB is made up of professionals who have ample experience in their craft armed with the drive as well as the determination to succeed.

“We are different from other organisations as they would only concentrate on a specific skill set or talent. Rather, we are an association combining various genres of art and we would like to inspire and reward our members so that they could continue their creative spirits and innovation in developing it,” said the PeSTAB chairman.

He also added that the association is also in collaboration with ASEAN Puppetry Association (APA) of Brunei Darussalam headed by Hj Abdul Hakim Hj Mohd Yassin.

Both associations are active in organising workshops in puppetry in the country as well as participate in performances abroad with Awang Serudin delivering a country paperwork related to puppetry play in Brunei and performing a three-minute solo medley with puppets in Nanning recently.

Starting his career by chance as a dancer for the Ministry of Culture, Youth of Sports (MCYS) in 1983, Awang Seruddin said that he decided to form a group and this gave them the opportunity to showcase Brunei’s traditional dances in various countries around the world.

This then provided him with the idea to establish PeSTAB where all local artistes would be represented by the association.

This would be an ideal place for them to expand their personal and professional network, facilitate emerging and mid-career leaders in their careers both locally and internationally and keep up to date on issues, challenges and solutions.

“We are a dedicated team of people who have come together with the shared goal of strengthening and developing the arts in the sultanate. We achieve this by building leadership abilities, by recognising and discussing trends and new developments, and by exchanging knowledge and experiences with each other, “said Seruddin.

In addition to this, the association held their first ever awarding ceremony recently to recognise and honour PeSTAB members from the various arts including singers, dancers, comedians, scriptwriters, choreographers, poets and directors.

Among the winners were Aizuddin who won PeSTAB’s Most Popular Male Artiste and Hj Jali for The Most Popular Male Comedian Award

“The prospective recipients of the awards were nominated in terms of their activeness, suitability and performance art, among other criteria. Members of the public also had a say in deciding the winners of the many categories by voting online via PeSTAB’s Facebook page, and their Instagram and Twitter accounts under the username pestab_brunei,” said Seruddin.

When asked of the association’s future plans, Seruddin enthusiastically said that there are plans to start on a film production next year which would involve up to 50 volunteer members.

“The film will be based on a previous theatre performance titled ‘Puteri Bukit Tempayan Pisang’. However, it will be a hybrid between an old legend and a new twist in the storyline which include special effects that have not been used in the sultanate,” said Seruddin.

Seruddin said that Bruneians are gradually recognising the talents and the contributions of the local creative industry and this can assist in developing the sultanate’s industries and economy instead on depending on the oil and gas industry.

“We have two or three films which have been produced and directed by locals in Brunei and thus has assisted in showcasing our country’s creative talents regionally and internationally,” said Seruddin who has also been involved in the production of video clips and advertisments.

He urged youths to harness their potential by becoming more interested in getting involved in the local creative industry as he initially did and by doing so, succeeded in honing his craft which eventually became a rewarding career.

“I hope that the youths would eventually become agents of change by contributing towards helping in developing the nation through their skills and knowledge,” he said adding that anything is possible if they put their minds to it.

The Brunei Times

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Brunei Tourism To See Stronger Support

The Oxford Business Group on 29th December 2015 reported the following:

+++++

Brunei Darussalam | Tourism 
Economic News Update | 29 Dec 2015

A cabinet reshuffle in Brunei Darussalam has sharpened the country’s focus on tourism against a backdrop of sluggish industry growth and falling visitor numbers.

Created in October 2015, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is charged with exploring ways of leveraging Brunei Darussalam’s strengths, which include its strategic location in the heart of the ASEAN region and a variety of natural attractions.

The reshuffle was widely welcomed by the country’s tourism operators, many of whom see it as a sign that the government is looking to shore up support for the industry, which is seen as a key component of the national effort to diversify Brunei Darussalam’s economy.

Abundant attractions

Emerging niche markets, such as the eco- and agri-tourism segments, together with short-term stays, feature prominently on the list of areas targeted for development.

Brunei Darussalam has an abundance of primary rainforest, which covers an estimated 70% of the country’s terrain, and is home to a wealth of flora and fauna, including some species that are only found within its borders.

In an interview with local media, Chuan Pyng, general manager of Century Travel Centre, said Brunei Darussalam had much to offer nature lovers, if marketed effectively. “We should try to capitalise on eco-tourism and heavily promote eco-friendly locations like Ulu Temburong and the Mangrove Resort,” he said.

Local initiatives targeting tourism growth are also being developed. In October Tutong District announced plans to attract some 60,000 visitors over the next two years under its tourism development strategy.

Officially launched in late August, the Tutong Destination Programme aims to promote the district’s attractions and places of interest under a single industry umbrella. The programme is also looking to create job opportunities for locals and promote locally produced goods.

Boosting capacity

Steps already taken to strengthen Brunei Darussalam’s tourism infrastructure, led by a $150m airport revamp, should support the new tourism drive.

The Brunei International Airport Terminal modernisation project, scheduled to come on-line by the end of 2015, is expected to double the facility’s annual passenger-handling capacity to 3m, paving the way for the country to carve a niche as a regional air logistics hub. Facilities will include 13 new check-in counters, bringing the total to 40, as well as eight passenger boarding gates. According to the Brunei Economic Development Board, which is overseeing the project, baggage-handling capacity will increase by 50% to 1330 bags per hour.

Tour operators will be looking for the new infrastructure and initiatives to help reverse the decline in arrivals witnessed last year.

While tourist arrivals slipped from 85,599 in 2013 to 78,436 in 2014, as per figures from the Department of Economic Planning and Development, the industry’s long-term prospects remain bright, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Tourism directly accounted for 1.5% of Brunei Darussalam’s GDP in 2014, with forecasts suggesting its contribution will rise by 2.5% in 2015 and 4.7% per annum through to 2025 to reach BN$515.8m ($365m), or 1.8% of GDP.

In employment terms the sector has a more significant footprint. While tourism directly accounted for 2.4% of total employment in 2014, according to the WTTC, the sector and its related fields comprised 7.6% of the national total, or some 15,500 jobs. By 2025 the industry will provide an estimated 20,000 jobs, equivalent to 7.7% of total employment.

Moving forward

While the airport expansion marks a key step forward, other infrastructure shortfalls present hurdles for sector growth. The lack of public transport in particular is seen as an obstacle, as ease of transit is often a deciding factor for tourists.

Critics have also noted that the country’s port facilities are largely structured to cater to industrial activities, making them less suitable for cruise ships. A lack of manpower in the hospitality industry is another concern for the industry’s development.                                                              

In March Pehin Dato Yahya Bakar, minister of industry and primary resources, said improvements to infrastructure had a key part to play in driving Brunei’s tourism industry forward. He added that Brunei Darussalam would be looking for private sector input in its efforts to cultivate places of interest.

“Currently the Tourism Development Department has identified several sites across the country to be [designated] as tourist sites, and it will be open to domestic and foreign investors,” he told local media.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Discovering Anduki Park












Hafiizah Maideen
BELAIT
Sunday, January 3, 2016

TUCKED away in the corner between Seria town and Lumut, is a recreational park known to the locals as Anduki Recreational Park.

Built sometime in 1992, the park is located on the roadside of the old road connecting Lumut-Seria and Kuala Belait. It was constructed to commemorate the silver jubilee of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. The project was developed by Brunei Shell Petroleum.

Originally, the park is a series of abandoned natural sand pit – formed due to its location near the coast. These flooded sand pits were transformed into a 53-hectare landscaped leisure area, whereby the former deep sandpits have been converted into a broad lake in the middle of the recreational area.

Back then, the lake serves as the focal point for a range of recreational activities including fishing, boating and windsurfing. Recently, it became popular for radio-controlled (RC) boats race. The rising popularity of the race has led to a newly constructed RC boat station – two-storeys in height, where racers can easily watch over their game.

Due to this facility, the park has often became the site of RC Boats championship in Belait district. Local RC boat racer Abdul Musa said that interest in the activity in Belait has risen since the RC boat station was built.

“It helps a lot of the racers, rather than playing the game on the same ground level as the lake,” Abdul Musa said. “The new waterfront is also helpful for viewers, and the fixed facilities – prayer hall and washrooms – have made the park more visitor-friendly.”

Various renovations has given the park its beautiful surroundings and facilities that are enjoyed by the public today.

In addition to the newly constructed RC boat station, a 3.2-kilometre jogging track has been constructed – one of the tracks goes around the lake. These tracks are also suitable for cyclists and leisure walkers.

Picnic spots have been renovated and equipped with shelters to provide shade and seating, along with designated barbecue pits.

Speaking to one of the joggers in the area, Mohd Izam Aswandi said that while the place is popular because of the RC race, the recent renovations has made the park come alive with families during Friday to Sunday afternoons.

According to Mohd Izam, parts of the jogging track which surrounds the lake was disconnected for some time in 2014.

“It was fixed recently, and a lot of people have taken the opportunity for a leisure walk surrounding the lake,” said the Seria resident, who frequents the park after working hours.

The site is also landscaped with attractive plants and shrubs, with tall trees found in coastal areas providing a nice natural shade for the joggers. The playground area has also been enlarged; other new additions include a waterfront and refurbished washrooms and praying hall.

However, certain sightings of crocodiles have made visitors more aware when having picnics or activities in the area; warning signs have also been put up near the lake. Its location near to Belait’s only airfield – Anduki airfield – also means that the sound of helicopters would be inevitable throughout certain times of the day.

The Brunei Times

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Origin of Kampung Sultan Lama

Teachers at Sekolah Melayu, Kampong Sultan Lama

Kampong Sultan Lama is the most packed village facing Jalan Stotn

Kampong Sultan Lama facing Jalan Pretty

Major Function are often held at Jalan Pretty

A village inhabitant keeping a payau in the confined space of k

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, January 3, 201

BANDAR Seri Begawan, a historic city, has changed a lot in recent years. Just off the city centre, we can see a towering tower holding the cables to the cable stay bridge crossing over from Bandar Seri Begawan to the Sungai Kebun area, a journey which can take an hour before and slashed to minutes with the new bridge.

The historic houses of Kampong Ayer which used to straddle both sides of the Brunei River now only straddles the far side. The Kampong Ayer houses on the town side of Bandar Seri Begawan has completely disappeared now. In its places are small mangrove trees and sandbanks. The Bandar Seri Begawan beautification project is underway and means many changes to the old city centre of the nation’s capital.

Today’s article will focus on one of a number of Kampong Ayer villages which used to be part of Bandar Seri Begawan.

The focus will be on Kampung Sultan Lama or the Old Sultan’s Village. Many Bruneians fondly remember this village and actually feel nostalgic about the village. This is generally due to its location and many older Bruneians remember the many shop houses which used to used to be the front and aligned with Jalan Pretty.

Kampung Sultan Lama is the one and only village which used to hug one major road of Bandar Seri Begawan. Many of the houses actually opened up to Jalan Pretty. Even though, we have other villages such Kampong Sungai Kedayan hugging the same side of Bandar Seri Begawan, but the village only opens up direct to the lagoon’s road of the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

It was said that the name of the village Kampung Sultan Lama or the Old Sultan’s Village was named after Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamadin, the 25th Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam who reigned from 1890 to 1906. He stayed at Istana Kota located at the village. It was not until 1922 that when Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II who decided to build a brand new palace, Istana Majalis, a new palace on dry land, that a palace was built on dry land.

It was also believed that the name of the village before being called Kampung Sultan Lama was Kampung Yang Di-Pertuan Lama before 1892.

However when referring to the list of Kampong Ayer villages described by Sir Spenser Buckingham St John in his book entitled “Life in the Forests of the Far East” first published in 1862 in two volumes by Smith, Elder and Co in London, the names of the village as either Kampung Sultan Lama or Kampung Yang Di-Pertuan Lama were not in use. This could mean that the then Sultans did not stay in the same village then.

In ascending the river from the right, St John described the first village as ‘Terkoyong’ which was derived from the word koyong or shell. The villagers collected pearl oysters as well as collected the contents of the oyster for food.

The next village was the ‘Labuan Kapal’, or the ships’ anchorage. The water up to the wharves was deep so that ships could load without using boats.

The villagers themselves made kajangs or mats used to cover boats and walls of houses.

Other kampongs were known as ‘JawatanJeludin’ and ‘Khatib Bakir’ made up of traders and blacksmiths; ‘Peminiak’, from minyak or oil; ‘Pengiran Ajak’ and ‘Ujong Tajong’ were made up of general traders. Sungai Kedayan was the residence of the Temenggong and Pemancha and various other government officers and the villagers themselves cast brass guns, goldsmiths and the women made gold brocades (jong sarat). Two mosques were built here.

By the 1970s, Kampung Sultan Lama was bordered by a few villages such as Kampung Bendahara Lama, Kampung Pemancha Lama, Kampung Pengiran Kerma Indera Lama, Kampung Pengiran Tajudin Hitam, all of which are named after the Wazirs and Cheterias and other dignitaries who used to live in those villages.

By the 1970s too, the village was a relatively large village. It started from the current Royal Wharf and extended all the way to the boundary of Kampung Sungai Kedayan which is roughly at around the centre half point of the lagoon encircling the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

There was a small filling station just at the end of Jalan McArthur and the beginning of Jalan Roberts. This filling station was one of two filling stations built in the immediate city centre (the other one was next to the current fire and rescue station in front of Jalan Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien).

Uniquely at the entrance of Kampung Sultan Lama stood a concrete arch to commemorate the coronation of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the 29th Sultan on August 1, 1968.

The commemorative concrete arch was presented by Yang DiMuliakan Pehin Orang Kaya Di Gadong Dato Seri Setia Haji Mohd Yusuf. This arch played an important role to people who stayed at Kampung Sultan Lama especially to those before the 1990s. It always became the centre or the point of reference for sending or fetching children to and back to schools as well as for picking up passengers from outside the city. When the Yayasan Sultan Foundation building was built in 1993, the arch was finally moved to its current location.

In the village, Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien was born on September 23, 1914.

The village also hold the distinction of being able to supply musicians for the royal household Naubat Diraja. Other villages supplying musicians include Kampung Pemancha Lama and Kampung Sungai Kedayan. Even though, the village of Sultan Lama does not exist anymore, the descendants from Kampung Sultan Lama are still picked to be members of that music group.

On June 13, 1966, a Malay primary school was opened known as Sekolah Melayu Kampong Sultan Lama. It had 32 students in Primary 1 to Primary 3 Only. Its first principal was Cikgu Abd Rahman Haji Othman. In 1975, a new school building was built and the school was renamed Pengiran Digadong Haji Mohd Salleh Primary School.

In 2005, the primary school was converted to be a religious school and renamed the school as Pengiran DiGadong Haji MohdSalleh Religious School. The number of students had dropped and the primary school students were transferred to Dato Godam Primary School.

Kampung Sultan Lama was engulfed in a huge fire in 1981 where it destroyed about three quarters of the village. A smaller second fire destroyed most of the remaining houses in the area. All of the village inhabitants had moved to dry land and the majority of them are staying at Kampung Perpindahan Mata-Mata Gadong.

The area where Kampung Sultan Lama used to be was razed and flattened and upon it now stand the Sultan Haji HassanalBolkiah Foundation Building.

The writer of The Golden Legacy column – the longest running column in The Brunei Times – also runs a website about Brunei at bruneiresources.com.

The Brunei Times

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