Monday, February 29, 2016

10th Brunei National Development Plan: Towards Accelerating Economic Growth

Monday, February 29, 2016

THE first National Development Plan (NDP) in 1953 was implemented with budget allocation of BND$100 million.

Since then funds allocated have gradually increased from one plan to the next, demonstrating the government’s strong commitment towards ensuring that development in the Sultanate is well on track for a sustainable economic growth and social prosperity.

Theme of 10th National Development Plan

The 10th NDP constitutes the second five year NDP in Brunei’s long-term development plan as laid out in the Outline Strategy and Policy for Development (OSPD) 2007 to 2017.

In line with the OSPD, the 10th NDP carries the theme “Knowledge and Innovation, Enhancing Productivity and Accelerating Economic Growth”.

With this theme, the 10th NDP will focus on efforts towards accelerating the national economic growth.

A higher growth rate would help Brunei gain higher incomes and speed up development. It would also generate many jobs, particularly for Brunei citizens and permanent residents, and create a vibrant private sector, as desired by the government.

A sustainable high growth would be attainable by increased productivity in the public and private sectors, including existing and new industries, on a continual basis.

Accelerated productivity would contribute towards the reduction of costs, continuous improvement in quality and increase in revenue.

Generating high productivity is not easy as it calls for concerted efforts from all and this includes continuing with existing efforts, for instance, in promoting investments in human resources, research and innovation as well as encouraging the use of latest technology.

10th NDP Achievement

2016 is the final year of the 10th NDP which covers the period from April 1, 2012 to Mac 31, 2017. The overall allocation for the 10th NDP is $8.2 billion to finance a total of 565 projects.

As of January 31, 2016, 485 projects have been implemented, of which 358 were already completed, while 90 are scheduled for completion by the end of the final year of 10th NDP. The government has thus far spent $4.7 billion to implement the projects.

The NDP allocation has been distributed among nine major sectors: Social Services, Transportation and Communication, Trade and Industry, Public Utilities, Security, Public Buildings, Technology and Info-Communication, Research & Development, Innovation and Miscellaneous.

The Social Sector gets the largest chunk with $2.6 billion, followed by Public Utilities with $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, $200 million has been allocated to finance research projects under the Brunei Research Council (BRC) and $250 million is for the human resources fund.

Some of the projects under the social services sector include the national housing scheme, schools and mosques.

The projects under the transportation and communication sector are the construction of roads and bridges, which include the Sungai Kebun Bridge which is currently being implemented and the modernisation of the Brunei International Airport project that has been completed.

Projects under the trade and industry sector encompass the construction of the Pulau Muara Besar Bridge and industrial sites, while projects under Public Utilities include electrical services such as upgrading of Lumut generator and strategic reinforcement and replacement of cables, transformers etc, and water supply projects such as the construction of water treatment plant and the Kargu Dam.


The provision of various sustainable infrastructure and facilities is testimony to the government’s continuous commitment to care for the wellbeing of the population, catering for the needs of present and future generations.

This could be seen from the numerous completed projects that have contributed to social development, community welfare and the improvement in the quality of life of Brunei citizens and residents. All these efforts are aimed to ensure the goals of the Brunei Vision 2035 would be achieved.

The Department of Economic Planning and Development

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Historic Gasing or Spinning Tops

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, February 28, 2016

A SPINNING top, or gasing as it is known in Brunei, is considered a universal traditional game and played in many parts of the world.

It does not matter the shape or the design of the top, it will have similar characteristics, which is made up of the top or head. The body will be made up of the rest of the top. Local traditional tops are made of wood, and generally played outside by boys.

Some say that the spinning top as a game started as far back as 2,000 years ago, and these records are found in reports in China and India. Even though we will never know who first started playing the game, it was evident that many communities considered the top spinning to be accidentally discovered by children.

According to Nasroul Hizam in a 2010 article on The Brunei Times, it is said that the gasing first came to the Malay archipelago in 450AD by traders from the Middle East.

It was also said that the name gasing was derived from two Malay words; the “ka” from kayu (wood, which the tops are made of) and “sing” from pusing (spin), forming the word kasing. Over time eventually the name gasing was used.

There are many variations of the story of how the gasing came to be created. One such story is that the “Buah Berembang” (Mangrove Apple) was used in a game by children. They spun the fruit with their hands in a manner similar to how the gasing is played now. The game then became a way for silat practitioners to train their hands, and gain strength and better reflexes. It was then that the idea for the gasing probably emerged and the fruit’s wide and slightly flat shape was copied and carved out of dense wood.

Another theory is that, prior to the gasing, a similar object which was round and flat – very much discus-like – had been used as a weapon to hunt animals. Later on, a rope was added to it in order to make it stronger. It became a way to test one’s skill and accuracy, which later developed into the traditional game we all know now.

In Malaysia, the first spinning top or gasing was made out of wood, and the ones especially used are buah berembang that are easily found by the beaches. In Brunei, there are many types of wood. A popular wood that is easy to find is the gasing ambuk. It is easily spinned just using one’s hand. There are also a number of wood which can be used as spinning tops. These include buah berangan, biji membangan, buah nyirei and buah pitabu.

How far back in time would the Brunei spinning tops go? In one of the latest archaeological discovery at Sungai Limau Manis in 2002, spinning tops were discovered among all the historical artefacts found there. The spinning tops had the shape of a gasing pelajau, which is named because it is shaped like a pelajau (a type of fruit).

It also called that because it was round like the tajau (a clay shaped container). The Sungai Limau Manis archaeological site is said to be as old as 1,000 AD.

According to a local legend, a wooden gasing belonging to Awang Semaun was believed to have turned into a rock. Awang Semaun was the half-brother of the first Sultan of Brunei.

According to local folklore, Awang Semaun and his nephew, Awang Sinuai, were playing a game of gasing one quiet day at Bukit Patoi in the Temburong district. When it was Awang Semaun’s turn to spin his gasing, it struck his nephew’s and flew away from Temburong to the Brunei River, where it bounced off the waters like a skipping stone and landed on Berambang Island, still spinning.

Enemies on the island spotted the spinning gasing and recognising it as Awang Semaun’s, used their own gasing to strike it and it flew off again, this time landing upside-down on the banks of the Berambang Island, where it spun until it turned into a big rock.

Today the rock resembles an upside-down gasing with marks around the rock that resembles the rope that is typically wound around a gasing. Batu Gasing Awang Semaun is located on the outskirts of Berambang Island facing Brunei River.

What the enemies on the island did to Awang Semaun’s gasing was to pangkah or to strike. Gasing pangkah is a highly skilled game where a long length of string is wound around a large wooden top and then flung onto a rubber mat, spinning the gasing. The opponent then flings his top at the spinning one, with the aim of blasting the first top off the playing surface.

To play this game, there will usually be two teams of four players each, and it is played on a round-shaped playing surface known as bong, which is 14 metres in diameter. The game begins when four tops from a group are spun on the playing surface and the other team members would try to strike each of these spinning tops with their own gasing.

The team that has the most number of spinning tops on the bong would be declared the winner but if the equal number from each team is still spinning, then the longest spinning gasing would be named the winner.

The types of tops played in the game differs in each state, and in Melaka, the popular tops used in this game are the berembang and tunjang type. But the gasing jantung, believed to have originated during the reign of the Melaka Sultanate, is now almost extinct after it was banned from the game in the 1970's due to its ability to “easily destroy” other tops during the game.

Today, gasing pelajau still continues to be played by certain segments of Brunei’s ethnic communities. It continued to be played in villages near Sungai Limau Manis. It is used to prepare oneself for the arduous work of planting rice as playing the gasing would strengthened the player’s hands. They needed their arms to be strong in order to cut branches of trees as they cleared their plantations to grow rice.

Even though gasing continues to be played in Brunei, and top spinning tournaments are held annually during His Majesty’s birthday celebrations as well as in the Borneo Games, some consider the game to be dying and need to be preserved for the next generation. Brunei still has a few of gasing makers, but their knowledge and skills need to be passed on to their children and those willing to inherit this skill.

The Brunei Times

HM Sultan Brunei Surprise Visit to Brunei Islamic Religious Council

His Majesty lambasts delay in Syariah law enforcement
on: February 28, 2016
| Azaraimy HH |

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 lambasted the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Attorney General’s Chambers over the delay in implementing the Syariah Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in its entirety.

Delivering a titah during a surprise visit to the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) yesterday at the Legislative Council Building in Jalan Kebangsaan, the monarch also ordered the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Attorney General to address the matter immediately, adding that “the country is not playing with this amendment, because this amendment is made in the name of Allah the Almighty and not to look for glamour. Carrying a work in the name of Allah the Almighty must be done with full commitment”.

His Majesty was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office.

His Majesty wanted to know the current status of the Syariah CPC, how many development phases are there and how many of them have been implemented to date.

The Syariah CPC seems to “just stay as it is and not moving at all whatsoever, the monarch noted, adding that “now it has been launched and gazetted. It has been two years since it has been launched, but it is still at a stage which only covers general offences”.

His Majesty asked until when it will be like this and when it will go further than this.

“The ministry may answer that the Syariah CPC still cannot be fully implemented because it has not been gazetted yet.

“My question is when it will be gazetted. Perhaps, the relevant authorities may answer again that they are still waiting for the Attorney General’s Chambers to review the draft.

“So, my next question is when the draft was sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers. The relevant parties may again answer that it was done in 2014.”

Voicing disappointment, the monarch said, “It has been two years, but the draft is still in the examination stage and (the process) seems to drag on without completion. It has not even been put together, I understand.

“How thick is this draft?” His Majesty asked.

“Perhaps, the Attorney General’s Chambers will tell us at the same time that there are many other laws currently being examined, thus the Syariah CPC can only be examined in June 2016. This is why it has taken too long.”

The monarch said he cannot accept this justification, and added that this can make people accuse that the Syariah CPC cannot run in the existing legal mechanism.

If the Syariah CPC is gazetted this year, we still have to wait 12 more months, which is in 2017, for the second phase to be implemented, while the third phase will have to wait until year 2018, His Majesty said.

“Not only the waiting period for each phase to be implemented is long, but the period for reviewing the draft as well.

“It is true that the reviewers of the draft will not review the draft as soon as possible, or they will not review it at all purposely,” His Majesty said.

His Majesty said in the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ strategic plan covers the mission and vision objectives of the ministry. They are: Empowering the formality and practice of Islam as an equipped and complete way of life to achieve a Zikir Nation; Support and conserve Islam and its formality as well as to develop Islam through effective and dynamic policies and administration for the development and prosperity of the country based on the law of Syara’, the national constitution, laws and the Malay Islamic Monarchy philosophy.

“Talking about the laws, there in front of us now is the Syariah CPC.”

His Majesty’s was greeted on arrival at the Legislative Council building by Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, the Minister of Religious Affairs and President of the MUIB.

Also present were Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Haji Abu Bakar, Chief of Adat Istiadat Negara; YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib, Speaker of the Legislative Council; and Dato Paduka Awang Haji Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud, the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs and Deputy President of Brunei Islamic Religious Council.

After the meeting, His Majesty consented to visit the Ministry of Religious Affairs. At the ministry, the monarch visited the Zakat Collection and Distribution Section under the Department of Islamic Religious Council, Haj Management Department, Policy, Planning and Research Section, Islamic Eminence Development Section and Information Technology Section.

The monarch then continued his visit to the Islamic Da’wah Centre where His Majesty visited Tafsir Darussalam Publication Unit, Da’wah Development Section, Muallaf Development Section and Islamic Da’wah Centre Exhibition Hall.

The Borneo Bulletin

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Traindie Marina Resort: Where Authentic adventure lives

Rebecca Oi
Saturday, February 20, 2016

DURING His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s New Year titah, the monarch described the government’s ongoing Temburong Bridge construction project as one of the most important developments to date and viewed it as a large-scale modernisation of the sultanate.

The bridge, which spans across the waters of Brunei and connects the Brunei-Muara district to Temburong district, will provide greater convenience and potential for tourism.

Looking to play a key role in attracting tourist to the district is the first locally and privately owned Trandie Marina Resorts Sdn Bhd (TMR) located at Batang Duri, just few kilometres from Bangar town.

Catering to eco-tourism and wilderness activities, the resort, which was founded in 1996, is the poster child for tranquility, serenity as well as adventure and ideal for those seeking repose from everyday life.

Blessed with a wide range of natural resources and set among the jungles of Temburong, Trandie Marina Resorts caters to tourists, visitors and corporate bodies that are interested in rain forest adventures, team building, leadership programmes and a weekend getaway.

During an interview with The Brunei Times, co-owner and general manager of the resort Hj Hussin Ahmad who was also Brunei’s Shell Petroleum’s first local Head of Training and Advisor in Corporate Affairs said that the resort, which is highly recommended at travel website Tripadvisor, offers a variety of programmes as well as activities for their clients and visitors to choose from.

Among the exhilarating activities are the Two Ways Flying Fox across the Temburong River and Junior Flying Fox for children.

Hj Hussin said corporate bodies can take conventional meetings to elevated out-of-the-box adventures with the resort’s specially crafted obstacle challenge modules comprising the High Jacob’s descend, high ropes and planks, jelly tower parallel bars, octopus business challenge and the catamaran rail zig-zag run.

Meanwhile, two concreted jetties provide safe and comfortable boarding as well as landing while meeting the challenge of the most unpredictable fall and rise of Temburong river water levels.

Hj Hussin noted that experienced local guides are at hand to operate the four large and stable Tamuai (boats) which will transport visitors on exciting expeditions to national parks and waterfalls as well as act as safety boats during river water exercises.

“Our programmes range from a return visit to the Peradayan Forest Reserve, Bukit Patoi Forest Recreation Park, Batu Apoi National Tropical Rain Forest Park and surrounding waterfalls which are said to have water that taste sweeter and better than the best mineral water,” said Hj Hussin.

In addition, a two days, one night programme, which combines trekking to Telagong Mountain and jungle camping, or the Sunrise and Sunset programme which is combined with fireflies watching or crocodile spotting is made readily available for thrill-seeking adventurers.

Looking to catch a glimpse of nature and beautiful wildlife at its very best, the mangrove safari programme will allow visitors to spot tribes of Proboscis monkeys, inspect fish traps for its catchment of King Prawns and gather Nipah fruits while keeping an eye for other interesting inhabitants of the mangrove forest.

“Among our newer programmes are the Four Wheel drive vehicle journey, river crossing, trekking and this also includes abseiling down a hundred feet torrential waterfall. However a minimum number of eight participants are required for the Tabadak Waterfall abseiling activity,” said Hj Hussin.

Participants can choose to get wet and experience the beautiful clear waters of the Temburong river with body surfing and tubing or stay dry with the catamaran shuttle crossing and zip line on the Flying Fox back to the resort.

Hj Hussin said that the location of the resort also allows for one of the best bird watching experiences where an enthusiast or observant visitor may hear and spot elusive Gibbons, Hornbills, Egrets, Sparrow Hawks and Frogmouth Owls.

There are a variety of accommodations made available from Self Contained Deluxe rooms with attached showers and toilets to ones accommodating four to six people, large dormitory student rooms with bunker beds and even outdoor camping.

“The camping site provides a safe environment which is housed within the vicinity of our main chalets. It has a platform and roof to safeguard from animals, insects and heavy rain while four showers and toilets are located at the site,” said Hj Hussin.

To entertain its visitors, the resort has constructed two gardens comprising orchids and medicinal plants such as Tongkat Ali, Misai Kuching and a variety of gingers.

“The wild orchids of Brunei and Borneo bloom from March to April and August to September. We have also built a high tree house, which is ideal for visitors to bask in the beauty of the flowers and the surrounding area,” he said.

The resort’s chef also prepares delicious meals for visitors and this covers grills, western, Asian and local dishes.

“We also provide a vegetarian menu as well as the district’s iconic dishes which include Udang Galah (King Prawns), wajid (brown sticky rice) and cendol (dessert) upon request,” he said.

Hj Hussin added that whether you are an adventurer at heart seeking new experiences, an urban dweller looking to escape city life for the weekend or even an experienced traveller searching for the best of what Brunei has to offer: there is something for each of you here at beautiful Trandie Marina Resorts.

For more information, please call Hj Hussin Ahmad at 8746332, Cynthia at 899 6067, Hj Moksin at 3525 007 or check out the website at

The Brunei Times

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Brunei Celebrates 32nd National Day

Quratul-Ain Bandial
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

MORE than 30,000 patriots filled downtown Bandar yesterday as the country celebrated Brunei’s 32nd National Day at Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS).

As early as 6am, people from all walks of life slowly streamed into the historic padang – where Brunei was declared an independent nation on January 1, 1984 – as the focal point for nationwide celebrations.

Students lined the streets leading to the capital – some armed with flags, others with the traditional hadrah drum – eagerly anticipating the arrival of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The monarch rolled up in his ceremonial black Rolls Royce, accompanied by several members of the royal family, including His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah; HRH Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah; HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik; HRH Prince ‘Abdul Mateen and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

Dressed in the khaki green uniform of the Supreme Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, His Majesty saluted as the national anthem, Allah Peliharakan Sultan (Allah Bless His Majesty), echoed across the field with citizens standing in recognition of king and country.

The Sultan then descended the royal dais to inspect the guard of honour, mounted by members of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).

Senior government officials, foreign envoys, and other invited guests took their seats in the grandstand to watch the annual march past of uniformed personnel, government agencies, schools, non-profit organisations and community associations. This year’s procession included 126 groups totalling 21,000 people.

The parade kicked off as 32 national flag-bearers, donning crisp white baju cara Melayu, proudly bore the weight of the giant flag into Taman SOAS. The RBAF then followed with an impressive display of weaponry and keen military timing as they walked in unison circling the padang.

Media and photography enthusiasts flanked either side of the field, vying to get the perfect shot as the assembled groups, dressed in their finest, marched into the taman.

The monarch stood for almost two hours as the procession of 21,000 people flowed past, honouring their spirited display of patriotism.

At the end of the march past, the crowd fell silent as Hj Abdul Hafiz Hj Md Daud, a government finance officer, led the public in reciting the national day pledge.

He told The Brunei Times that he was selected from hundreds of participants to be the chief oath reader.

“From hundreds of participants, only 32 participants and four reserves were selected (to be oath readers). We started our training on the January 16 and we had to go through from top 10 to top 6 and then top 3. And I only knew I was the main reader a week before the National Day.”

The two-hour event concluded with a sharp performance by the National Silat Association, followed by a colourful song-and-dance number by some 6,800 field performers.

The crowd encouraged and applauded the performers as they danced their way through the intense mid-morning heat, with several participants fainting due to dehydration.

Medical personnel were on hand to carry them off to the mobile clinics stationed outside Taman SOAS.

As the celebrations wound down, His Majesty made his way down to the field, taking the time to congratulate and thank the field participants before he left.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof, said the theme of this year’s celebrations – Generasi Berwawasan (Visionary Generation) – reflected the dedication and hard work of all the participants.

“I think the overall production was very successful. They trained very hard for the last few weeks. The challenge of getting everyone here from all over the country – the committee has done well to make sure they arrive on time and to take care of the welfare of the participants.”

The Brunei Times

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