Saturday, April 30, 2016

Brunei Signs Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Minister of Energy and Industry at the PMO YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin (c) signing the Paris Agreement on behalf of His Majesty’s government on Friday, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Picture: Courtesy of Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO)

Rachel Thien
Sunday, April 24, 2016

BRUNEI on Friday joined 174 countries as they convened to sign the Paris Agreement on combating climate change at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Signing on behalf of His Majesty’s government was Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar.

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to work towards limiting the rise of global temperature to well below two degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratify the Paris Agreement.

In delivering Brunei’s national statement, the minister said Brunei accounts for 0.016 per cent of total global emissions annually, equating to about 7.244 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

“Regardless of this relatively low output, our commitment stands strong as part of our own national agenda to combat climate change, which is reaffirmed by our presence here today to sign the Paris Agreement,” he said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin also reaffirmed His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s titah at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014, where Brunei is committed to cut its total primary energy consumption by 63 per cent by 2035 from the Business as Usual case, with 2009 as the base year.

Brunei is also gearing towards increasing 10 per cent of its total share of the power generation mix from renewable energy by 2035, and is looking to maintain and enhance the country’s carbon stocks by increasing forest reserves from 44 to 55 per cent of the total land area.

The minister said the movement towards action against combating climate change will open up economic and entrepreneurial opportunities and innovation for the private sector in developing green technology and economy in Brunei.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin also called for countries to work together to support developing nations in the capacity building and knowledge transfer in this area.

Speaking to The Brunei Times in a telephone interview following the signing, the minister said Brunei has pledged towards the implementation of the aforementioned actions.

“In the next couple of years, we all have to play our part in implementing our commitment. Before the next meeting, Brunei will be up-to-date with the new requirements (under the agreement),” YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said.

He went on to say apart from the national actions which have been pledged towards combating climate change, it is pertinent for the government to work with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) here who advocate for a greener environment, as well as the public.

“Our NGOs such as Earth Hour, Green Brunei and Beach Bunch, among others, are good and they are on par with any other green NGOs around the world. They have good intentions and we all want Brunei to be an active player in the climate change agenda,” the minister said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said he salutes these NGOs, and called for more collaborative efforts with the government. The minister also said more concerted efforts needed to be taken holistically on Brunei’s ‘No Open Burning’ policy, as well as working with oil and gas producing countries on a zero flaring policy.

According to the World Bank, billions of cubic metres of natural gas is flared annually at oil production sites around the globe.

“Flaring gas wastes a valuable energy resource that could be used to support economic growth and progress. It also contributes to climate change by releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” the World Bank said.

The minister added it is important to ensure Brunei’s reserve-replacement ratio is sustainable. Bloomberg explains the reserve-replacement ratio is one indicator of a company’s long-term ability to maintain or expand crude and gas output.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said Brunei will continue to work to meet their international commitments for climate change, including submitting the Initial National Communications and pursue the practical actions and measures set in the Intended National Determined Communications in a timely and effective manner.

At the last 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, 196 parties adopted the Paris Agreement.

Friday’s signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement saw the largest number of countries to ever sign an international agreement on a single day.

The Brunei Times



The Paris Agreement (French: L'accord de Paris) is an agreement within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. An agreement on the language of the treaty was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. It was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day), and 177 UNFCCC members signed the treaty, 15 of which ratified it. It has not entered into force.

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to work towards limiting the rise of global temperature to well below two degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratify the Paris Agreement.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Soto and More by the River

Ikhwan Salleh
Sunday, March 27, 2016

LOCALS are always on the lookout for new hype through social media, especially ones that are related to food.

Just two months ago, photos of soto went viral on the Internet.

What was special about a bowl of noodles soaked in flavourful soup topped with sliced chicken and garnished with herbs? Nothing out of the ordinary. However, what caught everyone’s eyes was the scenic view of Kampong Ayer in the background.

People searched far and near for the eatery that is blessed with the breathtaking view of one of the nation’s heritage.

Not long after, the location was shared and with the existence of GPS, it was not hard for anyone to discover Soto Pabo, which is situated in the nook of Pintu Malim.

With only three months of operation, the new startup has garnered more than 15, 000 customers, who fell in love with the aromatic broth of soto as well as the scenery.

Of course, the food choices offered by the riverside restaurant include a lot of favourite staples that tickle the local palate such as nasi ayam penyet, tumpi, and fritters.

Grilled goods like Lukan Bakar or Ikan Bakar are also available from 9am to 8.30pm on a daily basis.

Moreover, patrons have the option to savour their meals indoor or alfresco.

Owner Pg Hj Abu Bakar Pg Hj Othman said the food venture started as a side business to cater to nearby contractors building the bridge to Temburong.

However, a wide range of customers started to drop by and from then, the eatery bloomed with liveliness.

“I must thank our customers, both locals and foreigners, who helped to market the place as one of the go-to spots in Brunei to eat,” said the 56-year-old.

Pg Hj Abu Bakar also explained the concept was long concocted as a way to please the eyes and taste buds of the public, in accordance with their motto – Menikmati selera kitani dengan keindahan Kampong Ayer.

Currently, Soto Pabo can only house 70 customers at a time and during peak hours, 12pm and 5.30pm, few customers may have to wait in line for their turn to sit down.

He stated they would like to stabilise the food venture before expanding it both in space and menu. “In which, we will add more items such as Nasi Sambal Udang, Lukan Masak Lemak and not to forget Ambuyat.”

He added the growth may give opportunities to locals, who are looking for work.

“So far, we have only hired locals… and we would like to keep it that way as a way to tackle the alarming unemployment rate,” he said.

“This will also give them the chance to learn entrepreneurship and culinary arts.”

The kitchen department is led by Pg Hj Abu Bakar’s spouse Diana Hj Untong, who is happy with the positive feedback from their regular customers.

“Positive or negative, we would like to accept every criticism as a way to better our service,” she affirmed.

She elaborated that their soto and the rest of the fare are recipes that were passed down through generations.

“It has become a staple for us to prepare it (soto) and other dishes during family occasions… and this is a good chance to share the good in it with everyone else,” she said.

For those who are keen to have a small gathering at Soto Pabo, the indoor room, can accommodate up to 30 people. In addition, guests can have the choice to order ala carte or buffet.

For bookings, call Pg Abu Bakar directly at 8998898. To get there, turn into Spg 222 on your right side if you are on your way from the capital to Kota Batu.

The Brunei Times

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brunei's Maritime Trade in the Past

A file photo of Kublai's Kahn, a 27-metre Chinese junk anchored in the Hong Kong Harbour. Chinese traders have been trading with Brunei since the early centuries. Picture: EPA

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, April 24, 2016

THE Maritime Executive website on February 24, 2016, had this news headline “Brunei: Asia’s Newest Trade Hub” as the website reported about the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Brunei and China, and that the sultanate has voiced her interest in becoming part of China’s Maritime Silk Road as Brunei attempts to reduce its dependence on oil and gas revenue.

The silk road refers to the ancient trade route with China dating back to the 14th century of which Brunei used to be a part of. The modern Maritime Silk Road is now officially known as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route Economic Belt, a Chinese initiative to increase investment and foster collaboration across the historic Silk Road.

What role did Brunei play in the maritime trade route in the past?

The maritime trade played and continue to play a very important part till today. Before the era of the airplanes, shipping was the dominant transportation being used for everything, especially trade. Goods were able to be moved about and shipped from one port to another that resulted in many foreign products being available in many parts of the world.

Southeast Asia is an equally important region which is rich with many products required by the international market. Southeast Asia itself is split into the Southeast Asia mainland and the Southeast Islands. Both areas produced high quality and exotic trades made up of minerals such as gold and diamond, forest produce and agriculture such as the sandalwood and spices and marine products such as pearls. These produce made the Southeast Asian region an important part of the maritime trade route which began from around the end of the century BC to the early part of the AD including up to now.

For regions around the Borneo Island, Brunei was an important port and was known by many names in the past. In Sanskrit, Brunei was known as Bhurni which means earth or country. In Arabic, Brunei was known as Barni, Burnai and Barani. Under the Javanese, Brunei was known as Buruneng.

In the Chinese records of the 9th to 15th century, Brunei was known as P’o-ni and Wen Lai and among the Western records, Brunei was known as Bruni, Brunai, Brune, Brunee, Bruney, Borneo, Borney, Bornei, Borne and Burni. These multitude of names depict the importance of Brunei as an important trading place in Southeast Asia in receiving travellers and traders of multi-ethnicity to for them to stop and trade.

Reasons for Brunei to be the centre of trade

Firstly, its geographical location. Its strategic position at the northeastern part of the Borneo island enables trading ships to berth. This allowed Chinese traders to deal directly with traders in Borneo. During the 12th century, Brunei was known by the Chinese traders as the Small Eastern Ocean. During the 13th century, the Eastern Trade Route linking Taiwan, the Philippines and Brunei with the major ports of China especially Quanzhou was formed. During the Ming Dynasty Brunei was also known as The Eastern Ocean and Beginning of the Western Ocean.

Secondly, Brunei like other countries in Southeast Asia benefitted from having a two wind monsoon system which affected many aspects of the people’s life. The first wind is the west or south winds during May to August and the second is the northwest or southwest winds in December to March. This allowed ships to travel to and fro China following the monsoon winds. The trade allowed many ports in Southeast Asia to benefit from preparing the ports and warehouses to providing services such as provisions and workers.

Thirdly, Brunei’s position in the Brunei Bay. The bay is the largest in the northern part of Borneo facing the South China Sea. Its calm waters and location in being a shelter from the strong monsoon winds enabled ships to berth and unload or load their wares. At the same time, the Brunei River which connects to the Brunei Bay is also a wide, deep and calm river. This river also connects to the interior of Brunei such as Limau Manis, Mendaun, Gadong, Damuan and the likes. Archaeologists have found a number of archaeological sites along these rivers with some dating to the early 8th century.

Fourthly, Brunei and its surrounding areas produced many exotic trading items of high quality and much demanded especially in China. Brunei was known for its produce such as camphor, rattan, sago, betel nuts, sandalwood, beeswax, birds’ nests and tortoise shells. Among all these, camphor was highly demanded, not just in China but also in the Middle East. According to Zhou Rugua, in the early 13th century, traders would bring items such as gold, silver, cloth, silk, glass bottles, beads, tin, ivory bracelets, lacquer plates and bowls and celadon vases.

In the 16th century, Brunei was said to export to Malacca, food products such as meat, fish, rice, sago and produce from the forest such as honey, beeswax and resin. Cowries and pearls were also traded as well as poor quality gold dust. Traders would bring in cotton cloth, brass bracelets, colourful beads and pearl beads.

Fifthly, Brunei has its own trading system. Before the arrival of Islam, Brunei was said to have its own trading system which had been put into place and controlled by the government. It was said that for each trading ship, they will be greeted by the King and the dignitaries and the operation of the trading will be arranged by the Ports manager especially with regard to prices and the way for the wares to be sold. It was only after everything has been agreed, that the traders were allowed to market their products. They will also be protected by the law. After they had sold their wares, a token of appreciation will be given.

Finally, the fall of Malacca. When Malacca fell to the Portuguese in 1511, Brunei became the Islamic centre and new maritime centre in Southeast Asia. In 1530, Goncalo Pereira wrote that in 1530, Brunei was a very important port and had trades with Malacca, Siam and China as well as other ports.

According to a Spanish report, Brunei was a cosmopolitan city in 1578 with inhabitants from China, Cochin-China, Cambodia, Siam, Patani, Pahang, Jawa, Sumatra, Acheh, Mulaku, Sulawesi and Mindanao.

The most important golden period of the maritime trades for Brunei was during the Song Dynasty in the 12th century. Before this period, the trades were controlled by traders from India, Persia and Arab, the three maritime powers.

It was only when the Southern Song Dynasty (1128-1279) wanted to increase their revenues by encouraging traders to China as well as encourage Chinese traders to go overseas that they became the best in the shipping world and able to overcome those three earlier maritime powers. The Chinese ships were much larger and were able to carry much more compared to all the other ships. The trades to Brunei naturally increased even in the 14th century during the period of the Yuan Dynasty (1296 - 1368) in China when the East Trading Route was introduced which benefitted most nations on the islands region of Southeast Asia including Brunei and the Philippines. Brunei continued to receive more trades in the 15th and 16th centuries during the Ming Dynasty (1364 - 1644).

Brunei also saw its own seafarers going overseas in large numbers and they were involved in the maritime trade in Southeast Asia up to the Gulf of Siam and China. One Portuguese report cited that they saw a number of Brunei ships in Malacca including among them a ship belonging to the Temenggong and an official ship from the Sultan of Brunei to the Portuguese authorities in Malacca.

The Brunei Times

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dental Treatment for the Poor in Brunei and India

How Brunei and India deals with non-registered dental treatment:


Story from Brunei

Woman pleads guilty for selling, fitting fake braces

Darren Chin
Sunday, April 24, 2016

A WOMAN yesterday pleaded guilty to 22 counts of running unlicensed dental service from her house in Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme (STKRJ) Kg Tungku yesterday at the Magistrates’ Court.

Hayimmah Bahri, 29, was initially reported to the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) by Dr Melanie Chin, a member of the Brunei Medical Board, after a number of patients had visited government dental clinics to repair or seek treatment for braces fitted by an online seller on Facebook accounts named ‘Sop Chery Chery’ and ‘Braces Orthodontics Brunei’ which caused damage to the teeth and its supporting tissue.

RBPF then conducted investigations and surveillance of the suspected Facebook accounts which revealed the identity of the defendant who managed the Facebook accounts and her house address that the unlicensed dental services were operating from.

The defendant subsequently had her house raided by RBPF personnel on the morning of April 12, 2014 who seized a number of dentistry items including a dental chair, dental braces, cement and other orthodontic equipment.

During investigations, the defendant revealed that she had learnt how to fit braces in 2005 while in Madura, Indonesia.

Between late 2012 and April 2014, 22 patients were identified to have been given dental consultation and fitted braces by the defendant at her house after finding out about the unlicensed dental service via Facebook.

The defendant further revealed that customers were charged $150 to $450 for each braces fitted, depending on their teeth, and the defendant also charged $15 to $30 for monthly maintenance services of her customers.

She had bought nearly all the dental products and equipment from a Facebook online seller based in Jakarta while the dental chair was purchased through eBay.

During her mitigation, the defendant sought for a lenient sentence as she has two young children to take care of.

When asked by the presiding magistrate Azrimah Hj Abd Rahman why the defendant had chosen to commit the offence, the defendant replied that she was just looking to make extra income to support her family and that she had no intention to deceive anyone.

The presiding magistrate deferred the sentencing to May 2, 2016 and ordered the defendant to be remanded in Jerudong prison until then as deputy public prosecutor Dk Didi-Nuraza Pg Hj Abd Latiff objected to the release of the defendant on bail on the basis of the aggravating factors submitted in the case which warrants custodial sentence.

Practising dentistry without a licence or certification by fitting braces onto patients and giving consultation advice to patients is an offence under section 25(1) of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act, Chapter 112 which is punishable of up to five years’ imprisonment with a fine.

The Brunei Times


Story from India

BANGALORE: Ignoring noisy buses and curious onlookers, street dentist Allah Baksh plunges his hands into a patient’s mouth to fit a sparkling set of dentures for $12 in the Indian city of Bangalore.

With his plastic stool, mirror and glass cases of teeth on display, Baksh is among hundreds of such dentists frowned upon by their licenced counterparts in rapidly modernising India.

But the 54-year-old insists he is providing an essential service to tens of millions of poor who cannot afford a visit to a sterilised clinic.

“There are millions of poor people in this country who cannot pay for expensive dental treatment,” Baksh told AFP in between customers at his makeshift clinic where his tools include a large, metal file.

From dentists to shoe shiners, barbers and chefs, street services are an engrained part of life in India, particularly for the poor.

Baksh never formally trained as a dentist, instead learning his skills from his father, who came in 1984 to the southern, sleepy backwater now transformed into a regional IT hub and thriving metropolis.

Alongside his younger brother, son and nephew, Baksh set up their clinic 14 years ago outside a bus stand, where together they make and fit dentures for some 20 customers a day.

A full set of teeth, molded and ready to fit in 30 minutes, costs as little as Rs800, while a single false tooth sells for Rs50. Tools are thoroughly washed in soap and water — but not disinfected.

The teeth in all shapes and sizes are made in China and in India from dental cement. Soft pink adhesive is then moulded for gums and the teeth stuck in, with the dentists saying their handiwork lasts for at least four years.

India passed a law in 1948 allowing only licensed dentists to treat patients, but the legislation’s vague and outdated wording about exactly what constitutes a dentist has allowed many unregistered ones to operate.

In big cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, street dentist numbers have dwindled in recent years on growing awareness of contracting HIV/AIDS and other diseases, rising customer income levels, and a surge in dentist graduates.

But they still thrive in smaller cities as well as towns, although few perform root canals, fillings or other operations.

“There must be thousands of them,” Ashok Dhoble, secretary general of the Indian Dental Association, a private body of licensed dentists, told AFP.

“The oral healthcare (industry) is in its infancy and surprisingly we don’t have even figures on qualified dentists in India.”

Dhoble said 30,000 graduates join the profession every year, but India still has only one dentist per 10,000 people in urban areas and about 250,000 in rural areas, according to the US National Library of Medicine.

Dhoble branded unlicensed dentists quacks who were not worth the risk, despite a lack of ultra cheap services offered by licenced professionals for the poor.

“Ban them and they will be forced to look for another job. We can’t have cheap treatment as an excuse to continue this practise,” he said.

In Delhi’s crowded old quarter, third-generation dentist Satvinder Singh, 48, takes a lunch break from treating patients on the pavement.

Numerous posters advertising his services are propped up around him, as a multitude of vendors jostle for space.

Singh said his profession is slowly dying because of the growth of India’s formal dentist industry along with more hygiene-conscious customers.

“A few decades ago I used to get 30 customers a day. I hardly see two now,” said Singh.

“At my age I can’t change my profession. My sons are in a different business. I don’t want them here,” he told AFP.

Singh said a few decades ago, traders from a nearby spice market, Asia’s largest, would line up for his false silver and gold teeth, considered a status symbol.

“Earlier rich and poor would equally visit us but now we are looked down on,” he said.

For his part, Baksh remains adamant he is improving the lives of the poor, and that his family will continue the tradition.

“We have thousands of satisfied customers, who not only pay us but give us their blessings.”

Express Tribune Pakistan

Night Market in Gadong, Bandar

Adib Noor
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, April 17, 2016

TAMU Gadong night market, more commonly known as Pasar Malam, is one of the sultanate’s unique treasures.

It’s charm, quaint ambience and the friendly hawkers are a big draw. People who had experienced the tamu’s pleasant atmosphere are bound to visit it again.

Located close to Gadong, one of Brunei’s busiest central business district, Pasar Malam, comes alive as early as 4.30pm with brisk business until its closing time at around 11pm.

The market provides visitors with a wide range of choice — from authentic traditional Malay Kueh to the popular grilled favourites such as Ayam Golek, Ayam Salai, BBQ fish and many more. This apart, there are fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, toys and accessories among other things.

“I love Pasar Gadong, all I need is $10 and I can eat like a king,” says Rafie Nasiruddin. “Sometimes I get so much into it I buy more food than I can handle,” he adds.

Although the competitive and cheap-priced mouth-watering delights are a big attraction, there is no denying the magic that comes from the friendly vendors.

“We’ve been selling our Satay here for more than 20 years now. The first initiative was taken by my father and now I’m taking his place,” shares a market veteran , who likes to be known as Md Adi.

Adi says his Satay is made as per his grandfather’s original recipe that includes the rich and tasty peanut sauce.

“It’s always a treat to see familiar faces, especially the regular customers who come here for their favourite Satay right after their work day.”

“We love getting to know new customers especially tourists, we get to talk to them and it is always fun to share about our country with them, it’s always nice to see their reaction when they take a bite of our burgers and find out how cheap they are,” shares Bow of Bowgers who sells his own homemade burgers at Pasar Malam.

“Pasar Malam is a must for me and my friends during the fasting month. We usually drop by taking our time looking for the perfect treat to break the fast amongst the crowd, bump into familiar faces along the way and just eat at the parking lot,” says Rafie.

“We kind of grew up here. I’ve been helping out at my family’s stall since I was six years old. We have met many familiar faces and seen them come and go. But for most of us who have been here for more than 10 years Pasar Malam is like a home to not only us but our customers as well,” says Mastika Hj Zain,

Words cannot do Pasar Malam justice. The only way to experience it is to drop by the market and get to know the vendors, explore and enjoy the eats and savouries at the sultanate’s best known place.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Brunei's Church Vicar, Chinese Temple Leader Joined Brunei Minister at UN Meeting

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng (3rd R) with other officials in a group photo at the Brunei International Airport yesterday. Picture: BT/ Fazizul Haqimie

Quratul-Ain Bandial
Sunday, April 24, 2016

BRUNEI’S Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade is leading a delegation to Azerbaijan to attend the Seventh Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) which will take place from April 26 to 27.

Themed “Living Together in Inclusive Societies: A Challenge and a Goal”, the forum will discuss the role of social inclusion in preventing violent extremism, echoing the respective Plan of Action that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released in January 2016.

Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng will join 2,500 delegates from around the world to come up with solutions to advance the UN agenda.

Other members of the Brunei delegation include:

* Hj Mas Reduan Hj Jumat, senior religious research officer at the State Mufti’s Office;
* Isham Ismail, religious development officer at the Islamic Dakwah Centre;
* Bishop Cornelius Sim, vicar apostolic from the Church of our Lady of Assumption; and
* Tiah Eng Beng, vice chairman of the Chinese Temple Federation,

as well as other officers from the foreign ministry.

Local activist Khairunissa Ashari from the Brunei Youth Council will be attending the UNAOC Youth Event, which brings together 150 young leaders to define “The Narratives of Tomorrow”.

“We are going to focus our discussions to maximise the youth experience and contribution, to facilitate learning, sharing and partnership building,” she told The Brunei Times.

“Prior to this we took part in an online learning module to prepare us for the discussions. Specifically as an outcome of the youth session, we will be creating ‘Narratives of Tomorrow’, combining the problems and recommendations from all participants. My group is going to focus on developing an inclusive society through intercultural perspectives.”

Khairunissa was selected by the UNAOC Committee to take part in the event.

The UNAOC was established by the UN General Assembly in 2005, an initiative aimed at galvanising international action against extremism through the forging of intercultural and interreligious dialogue and cooperation. The Alliance places a particular emphasis on defusing tensions between the Western and Islamic worlds.

Brunei became a member of the UNAOC in June 2012 and has also participated in other interfaith meetings around the world through platforms such as the Asia-Europe Meeting, Non-Aligned Movement and others.

The Brunei Times


Monday, April 25, 2016

British Judge in Brunei's Court of Appeal

Unique among many countries, Brunei's Judicial System uses British Judges as Judges in the Court of Appeal. This leads to impartiality and a sound judicial system. On 23 April 2016, Brunei appointed another British Justice to the Court of Appeal with the news as follows:


Sunday, April 24, 2016

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah (R), the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam being greeted by the newly appointed non-resident Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court, also one of the judges at the Court of Appeal, Justice Conrad Seagroatt (L) during the swearing-in ceremony at Cheradi Laila Kenchana, Istana Nurul Iman. Picture: Infofoto

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, yesterday presided over the swearing in ceremony of Justice Conrad Seagrott as the new non-resident judicial commissioner of the Supreme Court.

The monarch witnessed Justice Seagrott take the oath for the four-year post at Istana Nurul Iman. Justice Seagroatt is also one of the judges at the Court of Appeal.

Grand Chamberlain Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Penggawa Laila Bentara Istiadat Diraja Dalam Istana Pengiran Hj Alauddin Pengiran Paduka Tuan Pengiran Hj Abu Bakar began the ceremony with the reading of the appointment letter.

Also present were Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Hj Kifrawi Dato Paduka Hj Kifli, Attorney General Datin Seri Paduka Hjh Hayati Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohd Salleh, President of Court of Appeal Justice John Barry Mortimer, and Court of Appeal Judge Michael Peter Burrell.

Other attendees included High Court Judge Dato Paduka Steven Chong, High Court Judge Dato Paduka Hj Hairol Arni Hj Abdul Majid, Judicial Commissioner and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court Pengiran Hjh Rostaina Pg Hj Duraman and Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Juanda A Rashid.

The Brunei Times


Brunei's Principal Officers in the Legal and Judicial System:

Attorney General - Datin Seri Paduka Hajah Hayati binti Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohd Salleh,
Solicitor General - Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Juanda A Rashid (also Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister's Office)

Chief Justice - Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi bin Dato Paduka Hj Kifli
High Court Judge - Dato Paduka Steven Chong
High Court Judge - Dato Paduka Hj Hairol Arni Hj Abd Majid
Chief Registrar of Supreme Court - Pengiran Hajah Rostaina binti Pengiran Haji Duraman

President of the Court of Appeal - Justice John Barry Mortimer
Court of Appeal Judge - Justice Michael Peter Burrell
Court of Appeal Judge - Justice Conrad Seagrott

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brunei's Power Schemes (History 1966)

J E B White, State Electrical Engineer, and members of his staff inspect some of the new equipment on arrival at Gadong

Power scheme progress

APRIL 2, 1966 – Hundreds of tons of machinery has arrived in Brunei for the state’s $16 million electrification scheme, which is now well under way. It has come from Britain, Belgium, Italy and the United States, with insulators from Japan.

J E B White, State Electrical Engineer, told the Bulletin this week that everything is going according to plan. The scheme is expected to be completed towards the end of this year. It will be commissioned in stages.

Power will be generated at the new gas turbine station, run on natural gas from the oilfield, at Seria. It will be sufficient to meet the whole of the state’s immediate needs.

The station is designed so that extensions can easily be added as load increases.

The power station at Gadong, three miles from Brunei Town, has 3MW Ruston diesel generators.

This will act as a standby in the event of a breakdown at the Seria gas turbine station or if trouble develop on the 60-mile 66KV overhead transmission line to Brunei Town.

White said that, in case of the transmission line being damaged for a long period, both stations could be run with the damaged part of the overhead line isolated.

The generating sets, each weighing about 40 tons and the huge transformers were too heavy to put ashore at Brunei. The Electrical Department solved the problem by buying a 60-tonne low loader. This was driven aboard a Shell lighter at Kuala Belait and taken to Labuan.

There, the ship’s derrick lifted the machinery direct on to the low loader, which was still in the lighter. The lighter then returned to Belait, where it ran off the Shell ramp at high tide.

One piece of equipment, for the Seria power station, was carried as cargo from Labuan and taken to the site by a Shell road transporter.

Shell loaned the Electrical Department a large mobile crane for unloading. The low loader was driven to the required position. The crane lifted the equipment and the vehicle was driven away. The machinery was then put down exactly where it was needed.

White said difficulties envisaged in the early stages of the scheme had now been overcome. The 66KV switchgear erection is being completed by local workers under the supervision of A Philips, an engineer from South Wales Switchgear.

The overhead transmission is being supervised and erected by an Italian firm, Societa Anomina Electrificazione of Milan. They use Pakistani labour, who did similar work in Pakistan with the same firm.

Local contractors are being used for excavation work, for erecting tower foundations and assisting in the concrete work.

Erection of the 11KV switchgear is being completed by the Electrical Department staff at Gadong Power Station.

The gas turbine at Seria is being erected by International General Electric with the help of local staff. The 15MVA, 5MVA and the 2MVA transformers are being erected by the Electrical Department Staff.

The scheme when completed will be one of the biggest in the Borneo territories. It will be the only one using gas for power and the 64KV grid transmission line. – Ignatius Stephen

Monday, April 18, 2016

Istana Manggalela and Pengiran Shahbandar Hassan

Istana Manggalela

British North Borneo Company Board of Directors and Staff 1899

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, April 17, 2016

MANY people who had passed by Jalan Maulana to go to Kuala Belait would have seen Istana Manggalela right after the small roundabout. It is a beautiful small palace and despite it not being used for maybe decades, the palace continues to be well look after.

The work on the palace, that was started in 1956 and completed in 1958, was originally designed to be the palace for His Majesty Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien whenever he visited Kuala Belait.

In those days, the roads linking Brunei Town, the nation’s capital, to Kuala Belait were still in their infancy. In some parts of the journey, the roads would disappear and motorists had to drive their vehicles along the coast.

At some places, you had to wait until the tide ebbed out before you could drive across. However, if the sand was too dry, one could not use the beach as a make-shift road either.

So, unlike today’s comfortable one hour drive, in those days, the BSB-KB trip could take as long as one day or more. So a palace was essential for the Sultan to stop and rest whenever he went to Kuala Belait as well as for members of the royal family and entourage.

The original name of the palace was not Istana Manggalela, it was originally called Istana Hinggap – ‘hinggap’ is a Malay word meaning to stay temporarily. In Malaysia, this is widely used, in fact, there are still a few palaces called Istana Hinggap there.

Where does the name ‘Manggalela’ come from? According to an article in the Berita Muzium which gets their sources from a newspaper called Berita Brunei edition April and Edition July 1958, the name was derived from an old battle which happened in Padas, Weston in Beaufort, Sabah.

It was said that during the North Borneo Chartered Company days which then already controlled parts of North Borneo (Sabah), the Company wanted to own all the lands in Sabah including Padas which at that time still was still governed by the Brunei Sultan under the leadership of a Brunei noble named Pengiran Shahbandar Hassan. The Bruneians living around that region protested and the North Borneo Company sent its army.

During that battle, the North Borneo army failed to defeat the Bruneians.

Part of the reason it was said that around the Manggalela Fort, the defenders had put up a white cloth curtain as a shield against the army and bullets supposedly did not go through it. The shield was considered ‘magical’.

An interesting description of the battle named the ‘Padas Damit Battle’ can be found in the Sabah local government homepage which described the battle.

There was no mention of any magic bullet proof curtain but what was important was the building of a very strong fort made up of eight-foot-tall round wooden pillars at Kampung Galila which prevented the well armed British army from attacking. And what was also important was the bravery of the locals who were only armed with knives and swords as opposed to guns and cannons.

It was a long drawn out battle and fighting went on between these two sides in the period of December 1888 to May 1889. The locals eventually lost when the British declared them as pirates and started to kill them one by one.

The British eventually took over the area and renamed the whole area as Beaufort in 1895 after Governor Beaufort who was the British Governor based in Labuan then.

The name of the Istana was chosen in commemoration of the bravery and skills of the locals at that battle. Many details about the battle, were not mentioned in the short tales. Many details especially those who were involved were not known and whether the stories were true. There were even questions as to the leader of the fighters known as Pengiran Shahbandar Hassan as to who he was.

Mohd Abdullah bin Abdul Ghani in presenting his paper entitled ‘Pengiran Shabandar dan Perang Padas Damit 1888: Lagenda dan Kebenaran Cerita Lisan Masyarakat Beaufort Sabah’ for the second Borneo History Seminar in 2011 tried to answer who was Pengiran Shabandar in Padas Damit as well as what the actual events were by studying the various literature that exist as well as speak to local story tellers.

The British North Borneo Herald on November 1, 1888 described Pengiran Shahbandar as “Pengiran Shabandar, a chief distinguished ‘for ways that are dark and tricks that are vain’ is the ruler of Padas Damit, a river that was bequeathed to his half sister Fathima as a dowry by the late Sultan of Brunei.

On May 1, 1889, the British North Herald carried out another article and described the father of Pengiran Shabandar as “a strong adherent of Sir James Brooke and fought for him on several occasions, his son delights in recalling his father’s brave deeds and his love and reverence for the late Rajah”.

In the treaty signed on March 2, 1889 also gave his identity “the Pangeran Shahbandar hereby further agrees with a view to avoid all difficulties in the future to obtain the assent of His Highness the Sultan of Brunei and his signature to the Treaty and also the concurrence and signature of the Pangeran Baboo Fatima, and the Pangeran ...”

What we can deduce so far is that Pengiran Shahbandar Hassan is the step brother of Pengiran Fatima or Pengiran Babu Fatima who married a member of the Royal Family and was presented the area of Padas Damit as a wedding gift from the Sultan. Who then is Pengiran Fatima?

There were four individuals who could have been Pengiran Fatima. One is married to Sultan Hashim, another married to the prince of Sultan Muhammad Tajuddin, another is the daughter of Sultan Hussin Kamaluddin and a fourth is the daughter of Sultan Kanzul Alam and married to her cousin Duli Pengiran Di-Gadong. It is most likely that this last one is the one.

The written record of the Padas Damit Battle can only be found in the British North Borneo Herald and a book written by Owen Rutter in 1922, all written from the British perspectives. The issue first started due to the undefined boundary between Padas Besar and Padas Damit. There was an overlapping claim between the two. This could have been due to Sultan Abdul Momin who leased the land in 1884 had died on May 30, 1885.

The confusion went on for about two years before the Brunei Government issued a document that stated that everyone staying on the overlapping claim will be compensated. The British compensated the land owners but Brunei did not do so.

The British requested that the boundary markers be placed to indicate the two areas. However Pengiran Shahbandar and his men refused to do so and rebel against the British North Borneo. This was compounded by the fact that one of Pengiran Shahbandar's followers was a man named Patek who is wanted by the British as he was accused to have killed a British Army officer.

In July 1888, Governor Greah sent a letter demanding the surrender of Patek and. promised that the boundary will be set by the British Resident in Brunei. But this was ignored by Pengiran Shahbandar Hassan.

This became the excuse for the British to attack Pengiran Shahbandar and Padas Damit and hence the conquest of Padas Damit when the British won after an extended war against Pengiran Shahbandar and his people.

The Brunei Times

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Glimpse of the Iban Way of Life

Hafiizah Maideen
Sunday, April 10, 2016

THERE’S no better place to experience Iban culture than a visit to Mendaram Besar Longhouse at Labi II.

Located about 45 minutes to an hour from the Sungai Liang intersection in the Belait district, the longhouse – which was built in the early 70s and spans 93m in length – offers a glimpse of the residents, who still practise a number of the old way of life.

It has 11 doors, half as entry points and the other half are for its rooms.

Head of the longhouse Berandi Anak Jamau said in the olden days the longhouse only had two main entry points, located at each end.

“Visitors, or people of the longhouse will enter the longhouse from one end to go to the different rooms, passing by the folks at the ruai (communal area). This way, we know who comes and goes,” said Berandi. “But now, the longhouse is built with many entry points for convenience.”

Entry to the longhouse for visitors is priced at $3 for adults and $1 for children.

For day trips, visitors will get a glimpse of a day in the life of longhouse community, starting with Berandi, who will brief the visitors on its history and traditions.

They will also be treated to a performance of a traditional dance called Ngajat by one of the longhouse dwellers dressed in the distinct Iban costume.

The dance is usually accompanied by music played on traditional instruments. During this performance, visitors can learn to play the instruments and the basic steps to the enchanting dance.

Visitors will also get the chance to have their queries clarified at a question and answer session.

“Since a day trip is really short and there are limited things to do, we keep things brief,” said the head of the longhouse. “We show them our traditions and give them a tour of the longhouse.”

Another attraction at the longhouse is the display of handwoven bags made by the Women’s Bureau of the longhouse, headed by Hensona Anak Munah. These colourful handicrafts are a hit amongst the tourists, and are often bought as souvenirs.

“Sometimes, visitors will also be able to see a demonstration on handicraft weaving,” said Hensona, adding that the longhouse has plans to include weaving fabrics known as Tenunan Pua Kumbu as part of their visit itinerary.

The longhouse also offers guide to the nearby Wasai Wong Kadir (Wong Kadir Waterfall) if requested.

For those who would like to stay a night or two at the longhouse, there are group packages, which vary from $55 per head for a minimum group of five and as affordable as $28 per head for a group of 25.

The group packages include breakfast and dinner; so visitors will be able to try out Pansoh, a dish comprising chicken and cassava leaves cooked inside a bamboo.

If visitors feel a little adventurous, they can always asked for a guide to bring them on a night trek along Badin trail.

For more information on Mendaram Besar Longhouse, call Hensona at 8929170 or 3233200.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

YAM Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf - Yura Halim

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 and dignitaries during prayers for the late Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim. | PHOTOS: INFOFOTO

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 pays his last respects to Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim.

Kg Sengkarai Tutong, 11 April 2016 - 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 paid his last respects to Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim, who passed away peacefully at the age of 92 yesterday at his home 'Teratak Yura' in Kampong Sengkarai, Tutong.

His Majesty and other state dignitaries performed the funeral rites led by the State Mufti, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr. Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf, a former chief minister of Brunei Darussalam, passed away at 9.37am.

He was laid to rest at the Sengkarai Muslim Cemetery, Tutong.

Born on May 2, 1923, at Kampong Kandang, Tutong, he leaves behind seven sons, four daughters, 38 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. Three other children are deceased.

The former chief minister was an accomplished writer and poet, who wrote the lyrics to the country's national anthem.

With the consent of His Majesty, he was conferred the 'Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Jaya Negara' status on January 12, 1968. On May 16 that year, he was elevated to the rank of 'Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara'.

His long list of state decorations and honorary titles include: DK (Laila Utama) in 1968; SPMB in 1963; DSND in 1960; SMB in 1958; Order of the Raising Sun (from Emperor Hirohito) in 1984; CBE in 1968; POAS in 1962; PHBS in 1970; PBLI in 2008; PJK in 1959; PKL in 1959; Pingat Perjuangan in 1963; and Pingat the country's first written constitution.

He continued to carry out his state duties faithfully. At the age of 92, his last stately post was as State Dignitary Representative of the Legislative Council.

In the private sector, he was the former deputy chairman of QAF Brunei Sendirian Berhad that owns Brunei Press Sendirian Berhad and played a leading role towards the establishment of Media Permata.

He was the last surviving member of the seven member Brunei Constitution Committee (Tujuh Serangkai) sent by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam, the late father of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, to every Brunei Mukims during the process of constitutional reforms in Brunei.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law by the International Academy of Vancouver, in 1961, for his contributions and active involvement in public administration. He also attended Hiroshima University, in 1945.

He survived the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan; and in 2013, he was conferred with an honorary doctorate from Hiroshima University for his role in promoting peace and goodwill between Japan and Brunei Darussalam.

Shortly after Brunei's independence, the government of Japan conferred Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf with the First Class Order of the Rising Sun Award in 1985, one of the highest honours bestowed by Emperor Hirohito.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was also a renowned figure in Brunei's literary scene. He was an avid writer under the pen name of 'Yura Halim'.

In his lifetime, he received several literary awards including the SEA Write Award, Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Education Award, Honorary Doctorate from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, and the Brunei Darussalam Religious Meritorious Service Awards.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf received his early education at the Bukit Bendera Malay School in Tutong. He trained as a teacher at the Sultan Idris Teachers College in Tanjong Malim, Perak; and furthered his studies at Hiroshima University in Japan, and at the South Devon Imperial College in Devonshire.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf took up several careers in his lifetime: teacher trainer, assistant school headmaster, assistant information officer, Information Officer, deputy state secretary, state secretary, chief minister, High Commissioner of Brunei to Malaysia, and the Brunei Ambassador to Japan.

He was a member of the Privy Council and Council of Adat Istiadat.

His grandchildren, Pengiran Yura Sukma binti Pengiran Haji Tajuddin and Dayangku Yura Seri Kamalawati binti Pengiran Syed Issa, recalled how their grandfather liked to talk of his wartime experiences, to make them understand that nothing is more precious than peace and freedom.

They also recalled that their grandfather preferred to admonish them gently as a more effective way of discipline and correction. In addition, he liked doing things on his own, without asking help from others.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was a loyal Bruneian to the end, managing to attend the recent Legislative Council sessions as the State Dignitary Representative of the Legislative Council, despite his old age.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was an extraordinary man of many talents. The name 'Yura', that his children and grandchildren bear, is a legacy of the remarkable life and career that he led.


Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim

BA Hussainmiya

The passing yesterday of Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahim signifies the end of a most important era in Brunei's history. It leaves a big void in the evolution of Brunei's national landscape.

The original composer of Brunei's national anthem, he could be described easily as Brunei's man for all seasons whose career had roots in the pre-independence Brunei and until his death while he was still holding an appointed membership in Brunei's Legislative Council.

He was a subject of several studies. A few theses and articles have been completed about his life and achievements.

In 1999, Abdul Hamid Abas wrote a book on the Pengiran titled 'PM Yusuf: Ahli Pejuang Kebangsaan Brunei' published by the Language and Literature Bureau. The article was meant to sum up very briefly his career and assess his accomplishments as a country's top statesman.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf was born on May 2, 1923 in Kampong Kandang, Tutong. After receiving early education in the vernacular, he joined his other erstwhile nationalist colleagues to be a Malay teacher and went to study in late 1930s at the Sultan Idris Teachers Training College at Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia. This college, founded in 1922, became a hotbed of political awareness among the trainees mostly from rural Malaya, influenced by the radicalisation of the Indonesian nationalist movement.

The first to join SITC in 1929-30 from Brunei were Bashir bin Taha and Marsal bin Maun, a former Menteri Besar. They were followed by other nationalist stalwarts like Pehin HM Salleh, Pehin Mohamed Jamil Umar, Pengiran All Daud and others. Brunei's early political consciousness was articulated largely by these Malay educated school teachers who later actively involved themselves during the struggle to introduce the first written Constitution for Brunei and to rid the Residency Rule introduced way back in 1906.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf had represented the group of local intelligentsia and conservatives who aligned themselves with the palace unlike other political minded nationalists who wanted to establish a constitutional monarchy in Brunei. In reality, he parted ways from his political colleagues with whom he worked shoulder to shoulder in the early years to form incipient national organisations including PENA and BARIP.

Conscious of his little country's backwardness, he had remained a committed activist for the emancipation of the Sultanate from the British hegemony. His name first emerged during the formation of the BARIP or the Brunei Youth Movement which he helped to found in 1946 with people like HM Salleh. During one of his interviews with me in 1994, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf revealed it was a politically motivated organisation, albeit ostensibly meant to work for the social and political advancement of the Malays.

During the war years when Brunei came under a brief Japanese interlude since December 1941, he was chosen for a Japanese scholarship award and sent to Japan in 1944 to study at Hiroshima University of Arts and Sciences, the predecessor of Hiroshima University. He was a brilliant young man handpicked by the Japanese to be trained in their own country while other young men like Shaikh AM Azahari and Pehin Mohamed Jamil Umar were sent to study in Indonesia and Kuching respectively. Alas, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf's higher education prospects was cut short by the infamous atomic bomb attack on the city, but he survived and returned home in September 1945. In Brunei he continued his teaching career.

He was drawn close to the new Sultan to carry on a struggle to regain the Sultanate's lost sovereignty from the British rule. Thus during the 1950s, he became a close associate of the newly anointed Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien who came to the throne since June 1951. Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf, due to his astuteness and commitment to nationalist causes, became a leading member of a group of seven of the Brunei Constitution Committee, known as the Tujuh Serangkai or the seven branches whose task was to prepare an acceptable draft for the British Colonial administration to introduce the written Constitution for Brunei.

He was also a vociferous member in the Brunei State Council and was chosen to join Bruneian delegations to London for Constitutional negotiations. At times the British Colonial administration in many of their dealings with the locals had to put up with vociferous criticisms from him and two others in particular, namely Marsal bin Maun and Pengiran Mohamed Ali who came to be referred in the British documents as the Three big Ms of Brunei!

When Brunei faced a first manpower crisis due to an irate decision made by the then Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in mid-1961 to withdraw the Malayan officers including the principal officers in order to teach Bruneians a lesson for mistreating some of their officers, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf stepped in with other Bruneians including Pengiran Ali Daud to accept government positions.

Thus, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf became the Deputy State Secretary and the first Bruneian Director of Information in 1962. He later became the State Secretary just when in 1967 Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adui Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam abdicated the throne in favour of his son, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf then rose to become a Menteri Besar or Chief Minister from 1967 until 1972 when he retired from public service. His main preoccupation since then was his business undertakings.

He also became a Bruneian High Commissioner to Malaysia, and held several positions including as an appointed Legislative Council member.

He left a legacy not just as a supreme public servant but more importantly he left his mark in the local literary scene. A gifted writer, he wrote many poems, short stories and novels. His main novelette 'Mahkota Berdarah' depicting the infamous Brunei civil war between Sultan Abdul Mubin and Sultan Muhyiddin during the 17th Century stands testimony to his literary prowess.

During his early years, he used several pen names such as Yura Halim, Sekunar Hayat, and Tunas Negara to write his literary pieces. In addition to producing the first Brunei novel, his 'Sekayu Tiga Bangsi' (1965) was the first published anthology of Brunei poetry. He was also had written widely on Brunei customs, history, and culture, and in1946 composed the words for Brunei's new national anthem 'Allah Peliharakan Sultan'. He also wrote a book titled 'Barat-Timur dan Bom Atom' about his experience during the dropping of the atomic bomb. The book was recently relaunched in Tokyo.

A few years back he was the guest speaker at the Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Memorial Lecture in which he delineated his life story and contributions to his country.

A member of Brunei's Cheteria Order, he had received several State awards and decorations of high order. He also was the first Bruneian to be conferred with an honorary doctorate from Hiroshima University recently. Two other former students at the university were earlier bestowed with honorary doctorates - Hasan Rahaya, 91, a former parliamentarian in Indonesia; and Abdul Razak, 87, who taught Japanese in Malaysia. In Brunei, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Setia Negara Pengiran Dr. Haji Mohd Yusuf established the Brunei Association of Japan Alumni in 1986, of which he continued as a main patron.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Battle on Borneo's Northern Coast

Brooke's and HMS Dido's forces attacking a pirate stronghold in the background. The destruction of Marudu in 1845 during the height of the British expansion through Rajah Brooke and the British North Borneo Company was instrumental in allowing those expansions to continue, according to the author.

Rozan Yunos
Sunday, April 10, 2016

IN AUGUST 1845, a British newspaper, the Illustrated London News (ILN), reported a battle between Her Majesty's Ships – HMS Agincourt, HMS Vestal, HMS Dedalus, HMS Wolverine, HMS Cruiser and HMS Vixen – “in all twenty boats and near 500 men belonging to the squadron, under the command of Sir T Cochrane, Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief, and the fort of Schriff Osman, a well known daring Arab pirate, whose terrible piracies have paralysed the commerce of the seas around the northern portion of Borneo”.

The ILN reported that “the pirates were commanded by 10 Arabs, who had 100 men each, under their respective commands, the whole under the immediate direction of Osman, who was plainly seen controlling, with consummate coolness and courage, the line of his batteries – four 18-pounders, two 12-pounders, three 9-pounders and two 6-pounders – all long iron guns, bore upon the boats lying at the boom – besides twenty-two brass guns that fortified other portions of his defences, but did not bear upon the boats. His flags were shot away, but were immediately re-hoisted. The boom was admirably secured , and foiled all efforts for fifty minutes during which both sides were firing. As soon as the boats managed to get past the booms, only two guns more were fired, and firing ceased on both sides”.

The ILN reported that the enemy had suffered a great loss, “their leaders, five of whom were dead or desperately wounded, and the remainder having fled”, convinced them that victory was hopeless, and deserted in all directions. A few of the more daring, in bringing off the last of their wounded and dead, were shot down by the marines and seamen. Spoils of every description were found; and, in one hour, the village and forts for a mile up were wrapt (sic) in flames. Thirty proas were burnt, and two very fine ones on the stocks, two magazines of powder and houses filled with camphor, china ware, English manufactured goods, French prints, and splendid timber were found and fired in every directions. Several slaves effected their escape. They had orders to pitch the enemy's dead into the river as fast as they fell, or carry them away to the jungle, the Illaloon pirates considering it a great disgrace to leave their bodies in the hands of an enemy”.

Another news paper based in Hong Kong by the name of The Friend of China also published same accounts of the same battle on 17th September 1845. The Friend of China was incorporated with the Hong Kong Gazette which was a mouthpiece of the Hong Kong government, though by 1845, the connection was dissolved.

The Friend of China had an interesting account that the battle was being instigated by Brunei. The newspaper reported that “the Sultan (Omar Ali Saifuddin II 1829-1852) informed the Rear Admiral that at Maludu Bay, on the northern extremity of the island, there was a notorious piratical colony commandered by an Arab. The man, the Sultan declared, would oppose any European settlement that might be formed in Borneo Proper, and that it was of the utmost importance that he should be expelled in the island, and the horde be dispersed. This portion of Borneo is included in the territory ceded to Great Britain many years ago, and is near the island of Brambangan, which at one time was in the possession of the East India Company”.

The ILN did not report the British losses during the battle but the Friend of China reported that “the loss in this brilliant little action was rather severe. Twenty-five were put hors de combat while lying on the raft – 10 of them killed and 15 wounded. Among the officers, Mr Leonard Gibbard of the Wolverine was killed and Lieutenant Heard of the Samarang, and Mr Pyne, second master of the Vestal, wounded”.

So, who is this person, whom Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II declared as someone who would oppose any European Settlement that might be formed in Borneo Proper?

According to a paper jointly written by Baszley Bee Haji Awang Basrah and Bilcher Bala entitled Syarif Osman Syarif Ali, Syarif Rum Syarif Osman dan Dayang Chahaya Sultan Muhammad Fadi: 1830 an - 1845 Tokoh Utama dalam Kerajaan Marudu presented during the second Borneo History Seminar in 2013, Syarif Osman Syarif Ali, Syarif Rum Syarif Osman and Dayang Chahaya Sultan Muhammad Fadl were the eminent characters in the area around that time.

The writers argued that similarly to Syarif Ali who became Brunei's third Sultan, and Syarif Al-Hashim who founded the Sulu Sultanate, both in the 15th century, Syarif Osman could have became just as great with the Marudu government in the 18th century as the other two Syarifs in Brunei and Sulu.

There were several versions as to the origin of Syarif Osman. One version from the Tuausg said that Syarif Osman was from Kagayan Island. Another version was that he came from an Arabic bloodline. Whereas another local tradition in Marudu noted that his grandfather, Syarif Abdul Kadir, originated from Baghdad. It was also said that his real name is Syarif Osman Indal Lama and came to Marudu with a friend named Syariff Syee.

Another version said that his father Syarif Ali came to Brunei and married a member of the royal family. Syarif Ali then went to Marudu to become a religious teacher. A Sarawak tradition said that he is cousin to Syarif Masahor who fought against Brooke in Sarawak in 1853-1860.

Most importantly, the local tradition said that Syarif Osman died before the British and Brooke attack in 1845. It was then Syarif Rom took over from Syarif Osman and the said battle in 1845 was actually between the British and Syariff Rom. Syarif Rom was a fierce man and was feared by everyone. He is said to be married to a Brunei lady named Dayang Cahaya and in another version he is married to a Marudu lady named Siti Aishah. Dayang Cahaya is also said to be the granddaughter of Sultan Jamal Al-Kiram and the daughter of Sultan Muhammad Fadl of the Sulu Sultanate.

Marudu itself was considered by Western writers to be a port and the market place of slavery for north Broneo. However, local historians considered that during its heyday, Marudu was a proper government (coastal state) and should be considered as the only local government which had appeared on Sabah. The governance of Marudu by the Syarifs showed the dominance of Syarif Osman and Syarif Rom as the local dominating factors in the short-lived government. And it was said that the existence of Marudu as a new political power caused uneasiness among the elites in both Brunei and Sulu. Marudu was able to dominate among the warlords of the Irranun and covered the areas of Teluk Marudu, Lahad Datu including Tempasuk, Tuaran, Pandasan and up to Tungku on the eastern coast.

Marudu became successful with trade. But jealousy among the elites, made them allies with Brooke and accused Marudu as being a pirate and slavery centre. Brooke saw Marudu as a rival who can compete against him and his expansion in Sarawak. Brooke convinced the British Navy of the need to destroy this pirate nest and this was followed with the attack on Marudu on 19th and 20th August 1845 resulting in the British destroying Marudu and killing many of the inhabitants.

The destruction of Marudu in 1845 during the height of the British expansion through Rajah Brooke and the British North Borneo Company was instrumental in allowing those expansions to continue.

The Brunei Times

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Kuih Mor - A Brunei Favourite

‘Kuih Mor’ is traditionally rolled into a ball before it is baked. Picture: Courtesy of Norhafizah Hj Bagol

New and different variations of the ‘Kuih Mor’ are also popular now and use ingredients such as Oreo cookies. Picture: Courtesy of Norhafizah Hj Bagol

Nurhamiza Hj Roslan
Saturday, September 5, 2015

DESPITE first making its appearance in the Sultanate during the 1940s, Kuih Mor continues to be a household favourite today as a tea time snack or festive treat particularly during Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.

Siti Norhafizah Hj Bagol, a final year student at Universiti Brunei Darussalam who researched on Kuih Mor as part of her Brunei Traditional Industry module, said the three-ingredient sweet treat may have existed in Brunei as early as the 1940s when padi was known to have been grown to make different food items.

Over time, the cookie has also become a popular door-gift choice often handed out at Malay weddings or gatherings, said Siti Norhafizah.

Made with flour, oil and granulated sugar which have been ground into a powder, the bite-sized biscuits have a crumbly texture and are coated with powdered sugar.

The age-old technique of making Kuih Mor by hand has however changed over the course of time, with many now opting to use electrical cake mixers and food processors.

Much in the same way, the tradition of families gathering together to roll the mini balls of dough before they are baked has been substituted with ready-made tubs of the cookie available at supermarkets and through various online bakeries.

Siti Norhafizah said that earlier versions of Kuih Mor used rice flour and oil, while later versions were made with wheat flour and ghee.

Newer versions of the favourite see makers trying to give its simple flavour new twists by adding crushed peanuts or Oreo cookies.

Its longstanding and widespread popularity is not just unique to Brunei. In neighbouring Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore the coffee-table staple is known as Kuih Momo, Kuih Makmor or Kuih Makmur respectively.

The Brunei Times

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