Friday, November 25, 2016

Overcoming challenges of Westernisation, Globalisation (MIB Series)

The Castille War in Brunei

Model of Brunei's Mosque in 15th Century

Map Showing Pigafetta's Trip Around the World

Overcoming challenges of Westernisation, Globalisation
on: November 07, 2016
| Dr Muhammad Hadi Bin Md Melayong, Secretariat Office, MIB Supreme Council |

IN AN increasingly globalised world, it is next to impossible to overlook the challenges posed by external forces, especially in a borderless stream of modernisation.

These challenges to our national consciousness began after the arrival of Western powers to the East in the 16th Century. Our forefathers managed to preserve their cultural and national iden-tity, while a host of unwelcome elements brought by the Western colonisers spread throughout the region.

In Brunei Darussalam, the main defences that were used to safeguard our culture and national identity have been the values enshrined in our national philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).

The matter was stated in a titah by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, delivered during the National Day celebrations on February 23 ,2014:

“Di samping untuk mencapai Wawasan 2035 dalam bidang fizikal, kita juga ingin meraih rahmat dan keberkatan dalam semua aspek kehidupan. Kita turut menginginkan sebuah negara yang benar-benar memenuhi ciri-ciri ‘Baldatun Tayyibatun Warabbun Ghafur’, yang sejahtera lagi bahagia dibawah pemeliharaan Allah.

“Kerana itu, cara kita mengisi kemerdekaan ini sangatlah istimewa. Kita tidak lupa bersyukur dan berzikir kepada Allah dengan cara sembahyang berjama’ah dan sama-sama mengaminkan do’a. Inilah amalan Negara Melayu Islam Beraja, negara kita.

“Atas landasan unik inilah, kita terus berusaha memantapkan jati diri kita selaku orang Brunei. Perkara ini sangatlah kritikal bagi kelangsungan hidup kita dan proses ‘nation-building’.

“Malahan, pada hemat Beta, MIB adalah merupakan satu-satunya pendinding atau ‘Firewall’ yang kukuh lagi berkesan untuk menangani pelbagai isu dan cabaran globalisasi.”

Globalisation can contribute towards positive changes in human civilisation, especially with the advent of new forms media that enable distribution of unregulated information with an even faster delivery. Unfortunately, globalisation is also a double-edged sword with devastating effects to our culture unless it is properly regulated. At this stage of human civilisation, we need to be more prudent in embracing of globalisation, and able to recognise its destructive aspects. However, we can ensure that MIB values will serve as a guide in assisting us to face up to challenges in this age of globalisation.

We need to look into the lessons of history, to understand how Brunei was able to defend her national dignity and sovereignty. Access to unlimited information and unfiltered networks has enabled us to follow in our forefathers’ footsteps in ensuring the continuity of Brunei’s survival. Present-day challenges are outwardly different, but the risks often involve losing the MIB values that have been our country’s foundation, and the essence of our societal solidarity and harmony.

Out forefathers’ struggle to defend the nation’s sovereignty is a lesson how destructive forces brought about by foreign invasions impacted Brunei’s religion, culture, economy and political administration.

The result was a steady decline of Brunei’s rule over lands beyond present-day borders, followed by a period of political instability within the country.

The decline also caused a stagnation of the ruling political systems in the Malay world. In view of the sacrifices made by our forefathers to preserve their national identity, we cannot afford to have history repeating itself. The deterioration of the Brunei Empire occurred as a result of Western intervention that was also threatening the traditional trade system and weakening Brunei’s political sway over the entire Borneo Island. The arrival of the Spaniards in 1521 presented further challenges to the great Brunei Empire in terms of trade, religion and the socio-political system. The Sultanate was then threatened and attacked, to curb the spread of Islamic influence across Borneo.

Despite those encounters, the people of Brunei were willing to lay down their lives and possessions to defend the independence and dignity of their country, religion and ruler. The Castilian War of 1578 marked the beginning of a struggle in which the Spaniards attempted to bring Brunei under Christian rule. It is a historical event that deserves more exposure among members of the current generation, in their pursuit of modern life in a globalised world.

The arrival of the Spaniards was initially welcomed by the Brunei people in 1521. However, half a century later, what appeared to be friendly intentions was actually a planned conquest in disguise. The Spaniards wanted to spread Christianity across Brunei, and they demanded a cease to Islamic teachings (Dakwah) in the Philippines and the surrounding region.

This enraged Begawan Sultan Abdul Kahar (the Old Ruler), as evident from the contents of a letter sent from the Spanish Governor in Manila, General Dr Francisco de Sande, that read:

“Perkara yang seharusnya Duli Tuanku lakukan ialah menerima paderi-paderi Kristian ke negeri Duli Tuanku serta memberi jaminan keselamatan sepenuhnya kepada mereka menyebarkan ajaran Kristian dan begitu juga sesiapa sahaja di antara rakyat Duli Tuanku hendaklah diberi kebebasan dan kebenaran menghadiri syarahan-syarahan ajaran Kristian, dan sesiapa juga berharsat memeluk ugama Kristian bolehlah berbuat demikian tanpa sebarang gangguan ke atasnya.

“Seterusnya, patik menghendaki supaya Duli Tuanku jangan menghantar mubaligh-mubaligh ajaran Muhammad (Islam) ke mana mana bahagian kepulauan ini atau kepada orang Tingues (orang bukit) yang masih Jahiliah itu, bahkan lebih-lebih lagi tidak juga menghantar ke kawasan-kawasan pulau Duli Tuanku sendiri.”

In the interests of the nation and defending the moral dignity of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, Begawan Sultan Abdul Kahar and the reigning Sultan Saiful Rijal refused to accede to the demands. It was thus on April 14 1578, that the conquistador, De Sande, declared war on Brunei.

Thanks to Allah the Almighty, the Spanish invasion of Brunei only lasted three months, with the Spaniards and their followers retreating to Manila after setting fire to the grand mosque on June 23, 1578, as recorded in ‘Myth and Legends in Brunei History’, by R Nicholl:

“Pada senja hari Isnin (1578) Doktor (Francisco de Sande) telah membakar bangunan besar (masjid) itu. Ia terbakar sepanjang malam, dan pagi esoknya tidak ada apa-apa yang tinggal; tiga hari kemudian dia pun belayar…”

Historical accounts illustrate the firm resolve of the people of Brunei when it came to defending the dignity and sovereignty of their nation. It is the lessons derived from these accounts that we should bear in mind in an ever-changing world of globalisation, where we are constantly exposed to external influences. The main bastion of our religion, people and our country are the values of MIB, combined with the identity and self-respect of the people of Brunei.

We believe and are confident that our experiences under the national philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy are a source of harmony and happiness both in this world and in the hereafter.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Brunei's Golden Period of Expansion - (MIB Series)

Part of Brunei's Canons from the 16th Century

Illustration of Ancient Brunei

Brunei’s golden period of expansion
on: October 24, 2016
| Dr Muhammad Hadi bin Md Melayong, Secretariat Office, MIB Supreme Council |

SULTAN Muhammad Shah adopted the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) as a governmental and authoritative foundation in the Brunei Empire in the 1360s. With MIB as the bedrock of the country’s philosophical and spiritual values, combined with his skilled leadership and the loyal support of his followers, it became the driving force in Brunei’s glorious expansion from the early 15th Century to the 17th Century.

Brunei continued its regional prominence during the reign of the third Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Sharif Ali (1425-1432). He was an Islamic scholar from Ta’if (Hejaz, South Arabia) and it was believed that he was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), through the lineage of Sayyidina Hassan, the Prophet’s grandson.

Brunei’s geographical location was an added advantage, being in the epicentre of the Southeast Asian trade route, allowing her to build ties with Chinese, Arabian and Indian traders, thus further exposing Brunei to commercial trade and Islamic influence. This allowed Brunei to strengthen her Islamic values, which was then adapted into the people’s traditional way of life.

With the loyal support of ethnic Chinese communities, Sultan Sharif Ali was able to establish an administrative base in Kota Batu. He was also the first Sultan to build a mosque, and his tireless dedication towards the country and the Islamic faith earned him great respect.

Loved and admired by his subjects, he became known later as ‘Sultan Berkat’ (the Blessed Sultan). As Brunei’s regional strength grew, so did the concept of MIB, which became the moral compass guiding the country’s administrative and management policies.

During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah, the fifth Sultan of Brunei (1485-1524), Brunei expanded her sphere of influence to the entire Borneo Island. The collapse of the Malaccan Empire in 1511 by the Portuguese, gave Brunei the opportunity to strengthen her trade relations, and consecutively the spread of Islam beyond her borders, namely to Palawan Island, Sulu, Belayan, Mindoro, Bonbon, Belabak, Belambangan, Bangi, Mentanai and Saludang (today known as the Philippines).

The growing influence of the Brunei Empire in these parts posed a challenge for the Portuguese and Spaniards, who at the time, were attempting to spread Christianity and restrict Brunei’s Islamic influence. This touched off 50 years of rivalry between the Spaniards and the Brunei Empire (the Castilian War), but driven by the principles of Malay Islamic Monarchy and with the protection of Allah the Almighty, the Brunei Sultans drove off the invading forces and continued to rule the kingdom as a Malay Islamic Sultanate.

Such leadership qualities, as exhibited by Brunei’s rulers, were based on their faith and the values of Islam.

They led the way in providing an exemplary set of standards, which further reinforced Brunei’s position during her golden age. Islamic values became a routine part of the people’s daily lives, and guided the administrative and ceremonial policies of state.

This in turn led to the establishment of the ‘Hukum Kanun Brunei’ (Brunei’s Code of Laws), the policies that dictated ethical processes, together with the structural development of royal and state customs. These days, it has become a philosophical legacy, protecting and providing stability to our monarchial institution.

It constituted broad legal aspects of the country’s legal system, which eventually gave way to the implementation of Syariah Law. The inscription of ‘Hukum Kanun’ became the mainstay of state governance, based on the principles of Malay Islamic Monarchy, as stated in the titah of Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Hasan:

“…maka inilah suatu risalah pada menyatakan Hukum al-Kanun di dalam negeri yang besar-besar dan segala adat yang takluknya dan dusunnya supaya manfaat atau negerinya dan segala Raja-Raja dan Manteri-manteri bahawa memeliharakan ia akan segala rakyatnya.”

The above titah describes the application of the ‘Hukum Kanun’ in the governing of state, administration of resources and state customs.

The Hukum Kanun Brunei constituted 47 aspects, including those upholding the rights of the ruler; criminal law and order; and laws on theft, marital rights, adultery, apostasy, commercial trade and usury.

All aspects of the Hukum Kanun Brunei contain Islamic legal and Malay traditions. The implementation of the legal system based on Syariah Law had already been in place, long before the reign of Sultan Muhammad Hasan, as evident from Spanish records on Brunei in 1588-1589, which clearly show that convicted criminals were given the death penalty.

While many tend to view the implementation of Syariah Law as a recent occurrence, historical sources suggest that it has been deeply rooted in Brunei since the 14th Century. Records of Hukum Kanun Brunei inscribed in Jawi can be found in the National Brunei Archives and the Brunei History Centre, as well as in many Western academic Institutions and libraries, which point to the existence of a MIB in Brunei since 1400 AD.

MIB has influence the values in the state administration and the daily life of the people in Brunei for hundreds of years. The strong stand for Islam in carrying the values of MIB has been the main factor behind the success and prominence of the Brunei Empire since the 15th Century. It is interesting to know why even western power are willing to invest their time to explore and appreciate the establishment of MIB and the success and prominence of the Brunei Empire.

There is no denying that the effects of globalisation has helped Brunei to achieve her present status, beginning with the British Residential System, but too much globalisation would mean losing our cultural heritage and identity.

MIB provides a counterbalance to Brunei’s rapid industrialisation, while protecting the country from losing her core values, which has helped to shape Bruneian society and bring prosperity to the people. MIB is a compulsory subject in Brunei’s education system, and a way of life that should be practised both in the workplace and at home.

You don’t have to be Malay or Muslim to understand that theft, falsehoods, rape and murder are moral crimes. As Bruneians, we are fortunate to have MIB which complements the Islamic way of life. It is our duty to uphold those principles, because by doing so, we can unite the country’s people, regardless of their ethnicity, race and religion.

MIB brings harmony, mutual respect and a better understanding between one another, and as Muslims, we should be grateful towards Allah the Almighty. As stated in a titah by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam:

“Dengan izin dan rahmat Allah serta berkat pegangan kita terhadap dasar-dasar MIB selama ini, maka Negara Brunei Darussalam terus meni’mati keamanan, ma’amur dan bahagia, di bawah perlindungan dan √≠nayah Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala.”

In this regard, the people have always strongly supported the policies that are in line with the teaching of Islam under the leadership of His Majesty. In the face of the many challenges besetting the country and its people, His Majesty demonstrated devotion and piety to Allah the Almighty by declaring May 1, 2014 as the official commencement of the Syariah Penal Code Order 2013.

This was a historical move to continue the development of Islamic Syariah that began centuries ago, under the reigns of previous Sultans, and has since remained as part of the governing system.

We should learn to trust ourselves to preserve and strengthen the values of MIB towards achieving the goals of Brunei Vision 2035; and to have better a quality of life, that goes with stable economic progress and a well-educated populace.

The success of the Brunei people is not limited to this world, but also extends into the next. Insya Allah.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Melayu Islam Beraja, MIB, Living Foundation of Every Bruneian (MIB Series)

16th Century Map of Borneo Island

MIB, living foundation of every Bruneian
on: October 10, 2016
Dr Muhammad Hadi Bin Muhammad Melayong
Secretariat of the Malay Islamic Monarchy Supreme Council of Brunei Darussalam

ARCHEOLOGICAL sources point to the existence of MIB coming to the tiny country of Brunei, then still known to the world as Po-ni, approximately more than 600 years ago. The concept itself was established by Awang Alak Betatar, the monarch in power at the time, in 1368 AD and later practised by his lineage till present day. Stated in Datu Imam Yaakup’s version of The Genealogy of Brunei Kings “The the first government to bring Islam into the Brunei government administration under the syariat of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the government of Paduka Seri Sultan Muhammad Shah”, the Muslim name bestowed upon Awang Alak Betatar when he converted to Islam following his marriage to the Princess of Johor, which we now refer to as ancient Singapore.

This article will focus on the beginning of MIB and how it became the living foundation of every Bruneian and shaped Brunei Darussalam to be the country that it is today; an fascinating country of beautiful Malay culture, with strong Islamic beliefs under the guidance of His Majesty, rich in history with a harmonious society working together for common prosperity.

One of the earliest mentions of Brunei was recorded in a poem of ‘Awang Semaun’, about how Awang Alak Betatar escorted by Pateh Berbai and Demang Sari, with a retinue of by 90 aboriginal people, travelled from Garang, Temburong District to Brunei-Muara and took up residence on the shores of Kota Batu. To be close to their ruler, his people built houses on the Brunei River, which eventually became the iconic landmarks, Kampung Ayer. This simple exchange of mutual respect and loyalty between a ruler and his people laid the foundations of MIB; a Sultan who loved his people, a people that loved their ruler in return, and the set of beliefs that bound them together.

Among others, part of Syair Awang Semaun decribes this story: “Bersama pula Pateh Berbai, Masuk ke Negeri Sungai Brunei, Sembilan puluh banyaknya ramai, Sekaliannya itu semuanya Sakai.

Awang Alak Betatar berkata kepada Demang Sari, Bersama Pateh kanan dan kiri Jikalau terpakai Awangku sendiri, Ke dalam Brunei kita bernegeri.”

We cannot simply base our opinions on a single historic analogy to illustrate the importance of MIB to our nation. Merely stating that MIB has been here for 600 years is simply not enough to satisfy the curiosity of our younger generations. We will need to show to them how it has shaped Brunei; how it kept the country at peace in times of great war and suffering, circumvented the cultural pitfall that is globalisation, and navigated the steady growth of Brunei over the ages. History is, and always has been, a strong and important process of nation building and development, and it is imperative that the youth of today are privy to the knowledge of yesterday for them to make proper decisions for the future of our nation tomorrow.

Some may argue that adhering to the antiquated beliefs will lead us to ruin; that we should follow in the footsteps of our neighbours and forsake the ideologies of old and accept the ways of modern society. But the cost paid by our fellow Malay neighbours was far too high; they have lost both their cultural identity and their political stability in exchange for economic success, something which Brunei can also achieve without sacrificing everything that makes her beautiful. That is what MIB all about.

We must be able to answer when we asked;

“What is MIB?”

“How is MIB beneficial to country?”

“Why is His Majesty always emphasising on the importance of MIB?”

Failing to address these questions mean we ourselves fail to understand the concept of MIB, and we will fail to help the younger generations understand and accept MIB.

Our new generations; our children, and their children’s children hold the future of Brunei. They will be the heart that pumps life into Brunei, and we owe it to ourselves to ensure what has shaped Brunei into what it is today, will not be unforgotten. It’s our responsibility to preserve the nation’s culture and source of pride and when we pass the torch to our younger generation, it’ll be their responsible to continue the legacy.

The new generation is becoming more intelligent, they will question everything. For them to accept the concept of MIB, we have to address all their questions and help them understand the history and the importance of the concept. We can connect to them by sharing facts on MIB; from the history of its establishment to the point where it has helped developed and governed the country today.

We want our generations to understand the importance of preserving our heritage and cultures. Taking some our neighbouring communities as examples. It is true that they are economically more advanced than we are, but what they’ have gained in economy, they lost in their cultures; a Malay country that is governed or shares power with non-Malays and socially globalised by Western cultures.

We will find a middle ground where Brunei can economically advance while preserving the values of her beautiful Malay culture and strengthen her Islamic beliefs. MIB will be the guide that will lead Brunei towards the preservation of her strong identity and integrity; a country with beautiful Malay culture, strong Islamic belief and governed by leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

It’s important that we refer to our nation’s history, and explore how MIB has helped Brunei gain independence, protect its people from globalisation, and advanced in political relations and its economy. As a country with a mix of ethnicities, religion and cultural backgrounds, we have to explain to the younger generations, as inheritors of the Brunei cultural heritage, why our traditions must not be lost.

The birth of Brunei Darussalam became the commencement of the MIB concept and up to this day, it still is the basis of the nation’s ideology. It is believed that MIB is a gift from Allah the Almighty. It groomed Brunei as a country and furthermore became a source of solidary and harmony for its people. MIB became the foundation for the country’s administrative policy.

His Majesty stated in a titah, “The policy in this country is MIB, thus all programmes and actions must be formed on the basis of MIB. Strong and perfect policy can hasten development, as well as creating harmony in society.”

MIB is more than a historical legacy. It has become part of Brunei life. It has given Brunei its identity as a Malay Islamic country governed by a Monarchy.

A country that is well respected and envied by its neighbouring countries and known globally as a country that preserves its heritage and culture by living it instead of archiving it in museums and in historical books.

Local historians confirmed that the MIB concept was established together with the beginnings of the Brunei Kingdom. As Brunei was geographically positioned at the centre of Malay archipelago’s trading route, Kota Batu became a trading centre for Arab and Western traders, according to Arab and Western historical manuscripts. Brunei was known as the Venice of the East by the Westerners.

MIB is not just about being a Malay, Muslim and living in a monarchial country. In its core, MIB carries the story of the beginnings of Brunei Darussalam, a concept that has kept the country in peace and harmony, protected from outside influence. It’s a concept that the people and their future generation need to preserve, a way of life that needs to be believed and upheld strongly in order to retain the sovereignty as a blessed Kingdom of Malay Islamic Monarchy.

It is our duty and our future generation’s responsibility as well as the government ministries’ and the private sector’s to carry on the Brunei legacy, whether they are at home or work, and believe and accept MIB as part of their lives. This was mentioned in His Majesty’s titah of proclamation when Brunei gained her full independence on January 1, 1984:

“…Brunei with the will and mercy of Allah, glorified and exalted be He, will forever remain a Malay Islamic Monarchy which is independent, sovereign and democratic founded on justice, trust and freedom, and with the guidance and pleasure of Allah, Glorified and Exalted be He, will always strive to preserve peace and security, prosperity and happiness for my people. We will likewise maintain friendly relationship within the international community on the principle of mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of all nations free from outside interference.”

Finally, Brunei is so fortunate to have His Majesty as a ruler for 49 years (since 1967), and the citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam have continued to enjoy peace, prosperity and happiness.

This is definitely a blessing from Allah the Almighty, glorified and exalted be He, and God willing this will continue as long as our leader and the people in this country continue to discharge their duty and obligation to worship Allah the Almighty and follow the true teachings of Islam. As citizens and residents of Brunei, we should be grateful for this blessing because due to the able leadership of His Majesty and his predecessors who have always strived to protect Islam as a complete way of life in helping to maintain Brunei Darussalam’s status as a Malay Islamic Monarchy.

We pray to Allah the Almighty that the struggle for survival be continued by the future generations of Brunei so that in the time to come their efforts would remain in the annals in fighting for the sake of seeing that the laws of Allah the Almighty are upheld and continue to be practised in the Sultanate according to the MIB way of life, a heritage and identity of Bruneians in the pursuit of true happiness in this world and the next.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Age of Decline: Brunei in the late 19th Century (MIB Series)

Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin with top ranking Japanese military officials during the Japanese occupation of Brunei in World War II.

The situation of Bruneian people when the allied forces landed in Muara. – PHOTOS: MIB SUPREME COUNCIL

The age of decline
November 21, 2016
| Dr Muhammad Hadi bin Muhammad Melayong,
Senior Special Duties Officer, Secretariat Office, MIB Supreme Council |

BEFORE the 17th century, Brunei was a vast empire, and arguably the most influential in the centre of the South China Sea, with regions stretching as far as the present-day Philippines and parts of Indonesia. Prior to the rise of the Srivijaya and Majapahit empires, and after the fall of Malacca to the Dutch in the early 16th century, Brunei was the premier destination for traders between China and the West.

However, as colonialism gained full force in the 18th and 19th centuries, Brunei fell under Western colonialism and had its territories slowly but surely wrested away from its control until our sovereign state was left with only a miniscule area of 2,226 square miles.

Our country managed to retain its Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) identity, thanks to the tireless efforts of our forefathers. To better understand the signifi-cance of MIB in this day and age, we must first learn about the events which transpired throughout our history, for we cannot move into the future when our past is still steeped in mystery.

In the 16th to 17th centuries, Brunei was primarily a naval power, with vast fleets to protect and govern its coastal vassal states. Being an empire comprised of smaller states, it was inevitable that internal turmoil should exist among the governors of certain regions, and this was where the British adventurer, James Brooke, saw his opportunity.

In the 1840s, James Brooke, with the aid of superior weaponry and warships, crushed a local uprising that occurred in opposition to Pengiran Muda Makota, the governor of Sarawak at the time. As a result, James Brooke was installed as the Rajah of Sarawak, under the pretence of reorganising Sarawak and uniting the many Dayak and Malay tribes.

This was the beginning of the Brooke Dynasty, where Brooke and his successor, Charles Brooke, began seizing control of lands under Brunei rule in the name of British colonialism, slowly expanding their sphere of influence on the island of Borneo and to a certain extent, their influence on the Southeast Asian trade routes.

When Pengiran Muda Hashim and his family were murdered, James Brooke and Thomas Cochrane, the Rear Admiral of the British fleet in Singapore, attacked Brunei Town and forced the Sultan of Brunei to flee to Ulu Sungai Damuan, where he eventually was forced to surrender full control of Sarawak to Brooke’s regime in order to end the British occupation of Brunei Town.

This savagery could have spelt the end of Brunei as a sovereign state, but the Sultan made the decision to cede control of several large states, in order to preserve our national heritage and culture – a difficult decision for any country at any point in history.

The dispute over sovereign rights did not cease with the annexation of Sarawak. In 1888, in order to avoid a complete takeover, Brunei agreed to become a protectorate of Britain, in which the British would give counsel to the Sultan on all state and foreign affairs. This agreement did not stop the loss of territories however, with Charles Brooke’s seizure of Limbang in 1890 standing out as a primary example.

Worried about the obliteration of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) and the loss of our national heritage, Sultan Hashim Jalilul Alam Aqamaddin (1885-1906) had to relinquish his rule over Brunei in favour of a Residential System, where the British government would employ a Resident to have executive powers to counsel the Sultan on all matters except those that dealt with Islam.

We owe a debt to Malcom McArthur, who made a proposal to the British Government for the introduction of Residential System, in order to preserve the survival of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) in Brunei. The Residential System brought many changes and develop-ments to Brunei, including the introduction of formal education which eventually led to the growth of nationalism among the citizens of Brunei, but the real push for independence only came after one of the darkest periods in our history.

The World War II in the 1930s brought the Japanese to our shores in search of oil.

Their ‘Nipponisation’ process brought a lot of suffering to the people of Brunei, in addition to being yet another colonial power attempting to stamp their governance and culture upon the people. As members of the older generations will readily attest, the Japanese Occupation was nothing but destruction and suffering for many, if not all, Bruneians who were lucky enough to survive it.

Had it not been for the valiant efforts of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, together with his brother, Pengiran Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Safuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul ‘Alam) and Ibrahim bin Mohd Jaafar, who fought to keep up the morale of the Bruneian people, many more would have succumbed to the cruelty of the Japanese Kempetai Army, who treated anyone who was not Japanese with utter contempt.

The hardships of the Japanese Occupation ignited the fires of nationalism among Bruneian scholars, reinvigorating efforts to restore the ideals of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) to its rightful place at the heart of our sovereign state. Years of living under the rule of foreign powers had worn thin for the educated and the ordinary people, leading to the establishment of several movements to restore control to the monarchy, most notably Barisan Pemuda Melayu (BARIP) which was at the forefront in the fight for independence at the time.

Students who received formal education in Malaya – particularly at the Sultan Idris Training College in Perak – and in other countries were inspired by the nationalist movements taking place there.

Brunei had been under the control of foreign powers for decades, but in the period of peace which came after the near-decade of terror and turmoil which was World War II, the people suddenly had a window of opportunity to return their country to its Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) roots.

With Britain still reeling from the effects of war, its colonies began to demand independence in an attempt to shake off their colonial past, even while those countries were struggling in the economic and political sense.

Brunei intellectuals took note, and it was a long and arduous task, but by adhering to the ideology that was inherited our forefathers, Bruneians were slowly able to leverage themselves towards independence, beginning with the writing and signing of the Brunei Constitution in 1959, and culminating in the British-Brunei agreement signing of 1979, which allowed Brunei to regain control over its international affairs.

The efforts of our beloved ruler, Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, for the re-emergence of Brunei as a Malay Islamic Sultanate reached an agreement with the British Government, in 1957. Finally, on January 1, 1984, after a century of foreign interference, Bruneians rejoiced as their home country proudly claimed itself as an independent sovereign state.

This brings us to present-day Brunei Darussalam: a land that we call home, and of the people who dedicated their lives to protecting it. We need to appreciate the struggles of past generations, who never faltered in the face of challenges and adversity. We must always be grateful to Allah the Almighty, Who gave us a ray of hope when the future seemed bleak. And of course, we must pay our respects to the rulers of the present and past, who worked ceaselessly to protect the people of Brunei Darussalam, as much as they would their own families.

Malay Islam Monarchy (MIB) is a way of life in Brunei and a source of well-being, prosperity and security in this blessed world; and this ideal was expressed perfectly in the titah of our beloved 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:

“Kita semua wajiblah bersyukur kerana dapat menikmati keadaan aman dan makmur yang berterusan di negara ini, lebih-lebih lagi dalam suasana dunia yang sentiasa mengalami pelbagai cabaran dan pergolakan ini.”

(“We must all be forever grateful that we are able to enjoy continuing peace and prosperity in this country, especially given the turbulent and unstable nature of the world that we live in.”)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Permanent and Deputy Permanent Secretaries in Brunei (21 November 2016)

Permanent Secretaries and Deputies in Brunei Government (Updated 21 November 2016) as announced:

BY COMMAND of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced that His Majesty consented to the appointment of the following officers:

Capt (Rtd) Abdul Rahman bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy Defence and Appointment) at the Ministry of Defence as Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence; and

Pengiran Hajah Zety Sufina binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sani, Deputy Director, Secretariat Vision 2035, Prime Minister's Office, as the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Finance and Administration) at the Ministry of Defence.

The date of appointment of the officers is effective from 21st of Safar, 1438 Hijrah corresponding to 21 November 2016.

+++++

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

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

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Capt (Rtd) Abdul Rahman bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar

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

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

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof

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

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

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

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

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

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

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

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

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Capt. (R) Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noeh (Technology)
Pengiran Hajah Zety Sufina bte Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Sani (Finance and Administration)*

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

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

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
--Vacant--

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

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

*Women

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Consumer Protection in Brunei Darussalam



Consumer protection in Brunei Darussalam
on: November 17, 2016

CONSUMER protection is an essential element of a healthy business ecosystem. It provides safeguards to consumers from unfair trade practices such as deception and misrepresentation, making false claims including publishing of false advertisement and any related matters.

This encourages honest business dealings and instills overall confidence in the market to support business growth.

In Brunei Darussalam, the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Order, 2011 (CPFTO) was enforced on January 1st, 2012 to provide the legal framework for consumers affected by unfair trade practices to have remedy through mediation.

What does the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Order, 2011 (CPFTO) cover?

The CPFTO protects consumer against any unfair practices by sellers. Unfair practices cover conducts such as: Deceiving or misleading consumers, such as hidden fees and surcharges, manipulation of measurement units, using small print to conceal terms and conditions in giving discount.

Making false claims regarding products or services such as claiming a second hand good as a new/unused.

Taking advantage of consumers who have no knowledge about the products or services such as a car workshop mechanic misrepresents to a consumer to replace parts which are not faulty.

It has to be highlighted that the CPFTO protects consumers from any unfair practices, provided that there is a business to consumer (B2C) transaction.

The definition of a consumer in CPFTO is a person who purchases goods/services for personal consumption and not for commercial purposes.

For example, a restaurateur buying goods for his restaurant would not be classified as a “consumer”.

There are 20 specific unfair practices listed under the CPFTO, which are highlighted in the included infographic.

What should a consumer do when they have a complaint?

A consumer encountering unfair practices is to first approach the seller with supporting documents, such as receipts, to explain the problem and try to negotiate for a satisfactory outcome.

Most issues can be resolved at this stage. However, if the dispute remains unresolved, the consumer may report his complaint to the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) through the Consumer Affairs Division (CAD).

The CAD will negotiate with the seller on behalf of the consumer.

If a resolution cannot be reached, the CAD will conduct a mediation, involving the consumer and seller in the presence of CAD’s official as a mediator.

If the dispute still remains unsettled, the consumer may file a claim for civil remedies under Small Claims Tribunal or to court.

Courtesy of Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Sign Service Agreement With CSPS

The exchange of the signed agreement between Haji Mohd Zamree bin Haji Junaidi, Director of Tourism Development Department and Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Executive Director of CSPS, witnessed by Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. – CSPS

MPRT, CSPS sign service agreement
on: November 18, 2016
| James Kon |

THE Tourism Development Department under the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) yesterday officially appointed the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) to carry out a study on ‘Updating The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) and Passenger Exit Survey For Brunei Darussalam’ following the signing of a service agreement.

The survey, which will commence in December, will involve tourists at the Brunei International Airport as well as several immigration checkpoints around the country.

Signing the service agreement on behalf of the Tourism Development Department was Haji Mohd Zamree bin Haji Junaidi, the Director of Tourism Development under the MPRT, while CSPS was represented by Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Executive Director of CSPS.

Present as guest of honour and to witness the signing was Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism.

The principal consultants for the five-month national study are CSPS researchers, Dr Diana Cheong, Dr Giuseppe Rizzo and Liew Chee Hau.

The study has three main objectives, namely to collect, analyse and update the data required to compile the Tourism Satellite Accounts for Brunei Darussalam and its contribution to GDP; to assess the attitudes and preferences of a sample of tourists coming to Brunei as well as their level of satisfaction with the infrastructures and services available; and to identify patterns and correlations between preferences, behaviours, and background characteristics of the sample of tourists.

“This study will provide benchmark data for the Tourism Development Department to plan and formulate more effective strategies to attract more tourist arrivals in Brunei Darussalam. This will be invaluable as tourism is targeted as one of the sectors which can contribute to the GDP growth of the country,” said Haji Mohd Zamree.

CSPS is a provider of survey services, data mining and analysis “in all areas of national development, including tourism for Brunei”, Dr Diana said. “Our data expertise ranges from secondary sources such as official statistics and relevant literature, to collecting primary data when such data does not exist. We have conducted a number of national level surveys including statistically representative samples for both local and overseas clients such as RTI USA, World Bank and Asean.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

US Navy and Royal Brunei Navy Conduct Historic Dives on Wartime Shipwreck

US Navy and Royal Brunei Navy divers in a group photo at the wreckage site of the USS Salute during the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2016 Exercise on November 15. – TASK FORCE 73

US Navy and RBN conduct historic dives on wartime shipwreck
on: November 18, 2016
| James Kon |

ON JUNE 8, 1945 during preparations for amphibious landings in the Battle of Borneo, after clearing 143 mines from harbour entrances along the coast of Borneo, the USS Salute was struck by a Japanese mine and sunk to the bottom of Brunei Bay . Six crew members were killed and three went missing.

Recently US Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) ONE teamed up with Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) personnel for a historic diving operation on the former USS Salute.

The diving operations were the first ever conducted by the US Navy on the wreckage of USS Salute, which rests at the bottom of the Brunei Bay, under 90 feet of water.

The operations involved divers embarked on the USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52), which was in Brunei for the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2016 Exercise.

The dives on the World War II minesweeper were preceded by a remembrance ceremony at the US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam on Nov 14, where US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Craig Allen and Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, Commander of the Task Force 73, acknowledged the services and sacrifices of the fallen sailors who served on board the USS Salute.

“We have a unique opportunity during CARAT to pay tribute to the sailors of the USS Salute who gave their last full measure for our nation,” said Rear Admiral Gabrielson. “Our remembrance ceremony and diving operations on Salute solemnly honour an important historical site, and pay rightful respects to the legacy of brave Americans who will never be forgotten.”

The USS Salute struck a mine on June 7, 1945 while conducting sweeping operations for an Australian landing force in preparation for the Battle of Borneo that liberated Brunei from Japanese imperial forces. The USS Salute sank just after midnight on June 8, after a failed attempt by two Navy landing craft to salvage the ship.

Lieutenant James J Hughes, an officer aboard the USS Salute who survived the explosion, later recalled the final hours before the minesweeper sank.

“The ship was hit mid-ship, right underneath the belly, and it came right up through all the decks,” said Hughes. “Anybody in that area was killed, especially in the engine room.

“They didn’t have a chance. We hit it about four in the afternoon, and sank about midnight. We were making the last run of the day.”

For US Navy divers who visited the USS Salute’s wreckage, it was an opportunity to pay tribute and reflect on a wartime site in which several US service members perished.

“These operations provided US Navy divers a unique opportunity to work alongside our Bruneian counterparts on a very meaningful project,” said Lieutenant Chris Price, the Detachment Officer in Charge of the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE. “We are preserving our navy’s rich history and heritage, and giving a very fitting remembrance to these fallen sailors.”

Divers from the US Navy and the RBN conducted joint operations on the USS Salute wreckage, in support of CARAT Brunei 2016.

As one of the original CARAT partners, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) has engaged annually in CARAT since the exercise series began in 1995.

The United States and Brunei have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1845, when the USS Constitution dropped anchor in Brunei Bay.

Task Force 73 and DESRON 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organise resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multi-lateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

US, Brunei Military Ties will continue to be close

 
Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, the Commander of Task Force 73 with Brigadier General (U) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sahat, Joint Force Commander of the RBAF at the launching ceremony for 22nd CARAT Exercise. – JAMES KON


US, Brunei military ties will continue to be close
on: November 15, 2016
| James Kon |

THROUGH 22 years of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Exercise, the military relationship between Brunei Darussalam and the United States is outstanding, and will continue to be close, said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, the Commander of Task Force 73, who is currently in the country for the joint exercise.

Rear Admiral Gabrielson was speaking to the local press yesterday, following the launching of the 22nd annual CARAT maritime drill at the Training Centre of the Royal Brunei Navy in Muara.

During the interview, Rear Admiral Gabrielson said, “CARAT is important for our 170-year-old relationship with Brunei, and these exercises are good for several things such as training maritime enforcement and the marine forces.

“In addition, the exercise is important in the building of new friendships for the future leaders of our militaries, so that they will continue to work together not only today, but for years to come.”

Rear Admiral Gabrielson reiterated that CARAT is an important dimension for both Brunei Darusslam and the United States, as countries with a common interest of shared security in the region and around the world.

When asked whether the CARAT exercises would continue in the years to come, he replied, “It’s an important relationship-building tool for both countries. We have every reason to believe the exercise will be continued, and we are very excited about that.”

CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the United States Navy and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

The CARAT Exercise aims to enhance regional military-to-military cooperation, building friendship and strengthening professional skills among participating forces. As one of the original CARAT partners, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces has been part of the naval training exercises since it began in 1995.

Members of the public can also watch joint military band performances at 8pm tonight, in the Times Square Shopping Centre; at the Brunei Shell Recreation Club (BSRC) in Seria, tomorrow; and at the Jerudong Park Playground on Friday night.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Brunei, A Green Gem in Heart of Borneo


File photo of the Temburong rainforest. – AZROL AZMI

A green gem in Heart of Borneo
on: November 12, 2016
| Azlan Othman |

KEEPING up the spirit of the Heart of Borneo Declaration, Brunei has been effectively managing its forest resources through commendable conservation efforts over the past years that have gained global recognition for the Sultanate.

Brunei Darussalam has also gained international acclaim for having bio-rich tropical rainforests, majority of which are still in pristine condition and protected by effective legislation, despite occupying just one per cent of the total forest in the island of Borneo.

Brunei Darussalam is among those countries with a leading forest area, according to Asia Development Bank (ADB).

According to ADB’s Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2016 (Key Indicators 2016) report published this week, Laos topped the list with a forest cover of 81.3 per cent followed by Bhutan (70 per cent), Brunei (70 per cent) and Papua New Guinea (70 per cent).

The report was prepared by the Development Economics and Indicators Division (ERDI) of the Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department (ERCD) of the ADB.

Forest area is a crucial foundation for maintenance of biodiversity, management of sustainable water sources, and even in mitigation of harmful consequences of extreme weather conditions, the report said.

Estimates based on the latest data suggest that about 22.2 per cent of Asia and the Pacific’s total land area is covered by forest.

Forest cover in East Asia is estimated at 30.9 per cent and in Southeast Asia at 28.6 per cent. On the other hand, forest cover in Central and West Asia is estimated at 2.6 per cent.

According to the report, the economies with air pollution levels that are below the maximum air pollution level set by the World Health Organization (WHO) include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, the Federated States of Micronesia and New Zealand.

Brunei now has the highest proportion of intact peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia. According to the Forestry Department, about 80 per cent of the peat swamp forest is still in good quality, covering around 16 per cent of the country’s total land area.

The department said last year that forest law and the national forest policy have been further strengthened with the formulation and implementation of the National Master Plan or Vision 2035.

Embedded in the five-year national plan are the implementation strategies and programmes of the forestry sector that provide allocation of government funds for projects that would facilitate economic and environmental development as envisioned under the Vision 2035.

In Brunei Darussalam, there has been a strong political will at all levels of the society to manage and conserve its forest resources since 1934 when the Forest Act was formalised in the country.

The high appreciation for forest and the role of forestry in the Bruneian society have ensured active participation from a wider range of stakeholders in the protection and conservation of the Sultanate’s natural forests.

Meanwhile, commitment by three governments in Borneo to a common conservation vision to effectively manage the island’s forest resources was further strengthened with the International Conference on the Heart of Borneo, which ended on Wednesday (November 9, 2016) in Sabah with a promise not to let the future generations down.

Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia had made a commitment nine years ago to secure a sustainable future of Borneo’s highland rainforest by signing the historic Heart of Borneo Declaration that committed them to a common conservation vision.

Under the common vision, the countries are to ensure the effective management of forest resources and the creation of a network of protected areas, sustainably managed forests and land-use zones across the 22 million hectares which constitute the Heart of Borneo – an area which covers almost one third of the island.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Monday, November 14, 2016

Twin Strategies to Realise Brunei's Growth Aspirations


Twin strategies to realise Brunei’s growth aspirations
on: November 14, 2016
| Danial Norjidi |

EARLIER this year, the National ICT White Paper and National ICT Manpower Masterplan were launched.

The White Paper and Masterplan were launched by the Ministry of Communications (MinCom) and the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) on February 4.

During the launch, AITI said in a statement that the National ICT White Paper was created to outline a strategic plan and programme for the implementation of ICT at a national level, to support the country’s aspirations for Vision 2035.

“The preparation of this White Paper focusses improvement efforts through initiatives that can be applied across the board over the six key sectors that include e-Government, energy, health, transportation, education and service.”

The National ICT White Paper was commissioned by MinCom and AITI to set the strategic direction for ICT in Brunei Darussalam for 2016–2020.

The White Paper itself advocates a ‘National Digital Strategy’ with ICT playing a role as Brunei’s future engine of economic growth. It consists of proposals to assist the country to leverage on ICT to diversify economically, boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), improving the quality of life for citizens and to achieve its goal of a ‘Smart Society’.

It also contains considerations from international ICT benchmarking findings and the influence of worldwide ICT trends, as well as input from a representative sample of local stakeholders.

Key concerns are raised in the White Paper, along with recommendations on how to address them. These concerns include: minimal successes from ICT industry development for economic diversification; lack of ICT manpower resources and possible mismatch; lack of consolidation and sharing of reliable and key data; silos and lack of integration across agencies; and bottlenecks in ICT infrastructure and common platforms.

The National ICT White Paper outlines three strategic outcomes: a vibrant economy powered by ICT, ICT-smart citizens, and a connected and capable nation.

Four strategic thrusts have been developed to realise these outcomes: create a thriving ICT industry; achieve a productive and diversified economy based on knowledge and innovation; inform, engage and empower the people; and build a next-generation government.

In total, 21 programmes have been proposed to set these thrusts in motion. Supporting these programmes are recommendations for the essential ICT enablers that prop up the entire ecosystem.

According to an excerpt from the White Paper, “The recommendations…stand guided by sound principles, namely top-down design, effective centralisation, citizen-centricity, demonstrable success, mobility first and context aware. When guided and executed well, it aspires to achieve eight key targets by 2020.”

These targets are: six per cent contribution by ICT sector to GDP; 6,000 skilled ICT professionals; five local SMEs with regional business; 30 places improvement in key rankings; 80 per cent customer satisfaction; cost of broadband to be 1.5 per cent average monthly income; 50,000 online B2C marketplace transactions; and 18,000 citizens trained in ICT literacy.

Meanwhile, the National ICT Manpower Masterplan was developed to complement the National ICT White Paper, in addressing workforce demand and the ICT skills gap.

“The Masterplan identifies the future needs of the ICT industry in the country by organising strategies and programmes to ensure the ICT-skilled workforce can meet those needs,” said AITI in its statement. “The Masterplan has been set up as a way to overcome the challenges of the ICT workforce and to enable ICT to be a key pillar of economic growth.”

Several key issues have been identified to be addressed from the analysis of the current ICT manpower, coupled with feedback from the industry and education institutions. These key issues include limited perception of an ICT career; lack of data on ICT manpower; skills gap and mismatch in the ICT talent pool; and insufficient demand for ICT services on the domestic front.

The Masterplan was devised as a means to overcome these challenges and enable ICT as a major pillar for economic growth. To measure success, the strategic goal is to grow the number of skilled professionals to 6,000 by creating 1,800 additional jobs in ICT by 2020.

In addition, the Masterplan identifies three desired goals as important proxies to the strategic target of 1,800 additional jobs, namely making ICT an attractive career option for Bruneians; developing highly skilled ICT professionals with industry relevant competencies; and creating a vibrant ICT industry in Brunei Darussalam as a source of employment.

To achieve these goals, four strategies with 21 programmes and initiatives have been proposed. The strategies involve attracting Bruneians to ICT careers, deepening the existing talent pool, and creating opportunities for ICT employment.

The Minister of Communications, Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat delivered a speech during the launch of the White Paper and Masterplan.

“The launch of the National ICT White Paper and National ICT Manpower Masterplan is indeed timely, as we focus our attention on diversifying the country’s economy,” he said.

In that speech, he also shared that a number of studies showed that in developing countries the ICT sector contributes five to 12 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For Brunei, this contribution reached 1.4 per cent in 2013.

“Although the economic situation is still uncertain, IT stocks continue to survive and perform well, being among the most expensive in the international market,” he said. “This fact has added confidence that the ICT sector can be advanced and developed, and open investment and work opportunities to be spearheaded by the private sector in particular.”

ICT, he continued, encapsulates almost all aspects of human activity and has been instrumental in improving the standard of living and wellbeing.

He said that, as a tool, digital technology is able to generate creative results such as multimedia, digital programs or system applications that have a high value to consumers and the society.

These results, he said, bring huge benefits because their impact on expanding connectivity through cyberspace and facilitating change; enriching the repository of knowledge and information; and improving performance with more efficient and effective management.

“To summarise, in order to produce something, ICT relies on human capacity, imagination, creativity and intellectual capability,” he added.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Permanent Secretaries and Deputies in Brunei Government (updated 14 November 2016)

Permanent Secretaries and Deputies in Brunei Government (Updated 14 November 2016) included up to 14 November 2016 as announced:

BY COMMAND of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced that His Majesty has consented to appoint Haji Mohd Yusra bin Haji Mohd Salleh, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates as the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The date of appointment of the said officer is effective from 14th of Safar, 1438 Hijrah corresponding to 14 November 2016.

+++++

PERMANENT SECRETARIES

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

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

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

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

Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
Haji Abd Mutalib bin Pehin Dato Haji Yussof

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

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

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

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

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad

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

Ministry of Health (MOH)
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin

DEPUTY PERMANENT SECRETARIES

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

Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)
Capt. (R) Hj Md Amirul Shahnoel bin Hj Md Noeh (Technical)
Capt. (R) Abd Rahman bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar (Defence Policy and Development)

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry of Development (MOD)
Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin

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

Ministry of Communications (MOC)
--Vacant--

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

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

*Women

Friday, November 04, 2016

Visionary Youths: Catalyst for Transformation

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 delivering his titah at 11th National Youth Day celebration at the International Convention Centre in Berakas |PHOTO COURTESY : INFOFOTO


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Today's youth should continue pursuing bold endeavours such as entrepreneurship and seize the vast opportunities available in many sectors by broadening their horizons, 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 remarked yesterday.

Delivering -a titah to thousands of youth from different backgrounds and organisations during an annual assembly to mark the 11th National Youth Day celebration at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas, the monarch also urged the country's youth to be relentless in investing time and energy for their own progression.

Touching on the theme for this year's celebration 'Visionary Youth: -Catalyst for Transformation', His Majesty said, "This should be embraced as a challenge. Transformation means bringing in an era of changes and opportunities for all, especially the youth, who are the agents of change."

Even at a young age, many of our youth today have triumphed in various sectors such as medicine, law, engineering, religion and entrepreneurship, noted His Majesty, which he said is a testament to the youth's attitude for making rapid change. "These achievements are means for them to delve into shaping the country's future."

Calling the youth as "pillars" of the nation's strength, His Majesty said visionary and outstanding youth are what the country needs, while reminding that weakness and giving up is never an option and are not the youth's nature, as they must be bold and courageous.

Noting that many of the younger generation today have explored entrepreneurial opportunities that began from humble beginnings such as car wash services, fish rearing, creative industries and many others, His Majesty said that even from scratch, it can flourish into something great with hard work and perseverance.

His Majesty further said this is a form of challenge that requires sacrifice and hard work that entails not only money and energy, but more essentially, time. "When time is used in the path of virtue, that is considered the most effective sacrifice," the monarch added, while noting that this is a smart practice that is in the right and safe path.

His Majesty also highlighted that even Allah the Almighty has sworn with time, that all mankind are in loss, except for those who fill in their time with good virtues, as stated in Surah Al-'Asr in the Al-Quran.

His Majesty further noted that time utilisation is a challenge for all and cautioned that if it is
not being used wisely, one will plunge into a life-crisis, which he said must be overcome at once.

"With so much time and chance to continuously develop, the decision rests on the youth to grasp the opportunities," the ruler said, while expressing hope that the country's youth will demonstrate these qualities.

His Majesty also cautioned the youth to always keep in mind their religion and cultural roots, by staying away from being too immersed in today's age of unrestricted technology in a world without borders, which the monarch said could mess with people's minds, causing them do the unthinkable.

"And then, there comes a group that glorifies freedom without restriction that sparks a new culture that no longer cares about tradition and religion. Usually this group is dominated by the youth everywhere," His Majesty said, while expressing hope that Brunei's youth will not be "trapped in such free concept", but will remain as youth that are faithful to the religion and abide by national laws and traditions.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Al! Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday attended the 11th National Youth Day celebration held at the International Convention Centre, Berakas.

His Majesty, who was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik, was greeted on arrival by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awa.ng Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof.

The theme of the annual event is 'Visionary Youth: Catalyst for Transformation'.

In his opening speech, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu. Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said His Majesty's presence was reminder to the country's youth of the important role they play in society by making a meaningful contribution to social development, as well as the progress of the nation and religion in order to face challenges in the era of globalisation.

The minister said the theme was chosen to take into account the importance for youths to prepare themselves to be educated, skilled and successful citizens who , can contribute towards creating a society that is of quality, as well as in generatingaOnamic and resilient economy under the objectives of the Brunei Vision 2035.

"Transformation is a must to achieve a developed country," he said.

The youths and youth organisations who have made the country proud through their services to the nation were awarded under four categories - Excellent Youth Award, Youth Volunteer Award, Young Leader Youth Award, and Youth Association.Excellent Project Award.

The recipient of the Excellent Youth Award went to Siti Huzzaimah Yadey binti Haji Rosli, Chairwoman of the Kampung Junjungan Women's Association; while the Youth Volunteer Award went to Nurizzatul Izzah binti Haji Abdul Rahman from the Society of Human Development (KESAN); the Young Leader Youth Award then went to Mohammad Anwar bin Haji Mohammad from the Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT); and the Youth Association Excellent Project Award went to Green Xchange from SCOT.

All the recipients received a trophy, Kain Tenunan (woven fabric), certificate of presentation and $3,000 cash.

The award was presented to show recognition and appreciation to the youth movement in Brunei Darussalam for responding to His Majesty's titah to support the youth in upholding the spirit of volunteerism.

The minister's opening speech was followed by a titah from His Majesty, and the recitation of the Youth Pledge led by Dr Mohd Ezam bin Emran, a cardiologist, along with a group of youths from various backgrounds and organisations.

The celebration also featured a video produced by the Creative Youth Group led by Haji Mohammad Sukoran bin Haji Ismail that showed the achievements of youths in different fields in order to inspire other youths to continue to pursue their goals.

The monarch later toured the Youth Entrepreneur Innovation Showcase 2016 and received a pesambah from the National Youth Day Celebration Executive Committee 2016.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said the celebration brought together almost 1,000 youths who have answered His Majesty's call to utilise His Majesty's Government's youth development programmes and projects.

Another aim of the celebration is to gather youths from across the country to participate in activities that are meaningful , and provide an opportunity for them to exchange views, especially on the development and progress of youths.

Inspirational Quotes