Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Instil Patriotism To Preserve Brunei's Dignity, Sovereignty (MIB Series)

First National Day 1984

Old Lapau 1950
Instil patriotism to preserve Brunei’s dignity, sovereignty
on: February 27, 2017

by Dr. Muhammad Hadi bin Muhammad Melayong,
Senior Special Duties Officer, Secretariat Office, MIB Supreme Council

THE struggle for independence and self-rule by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam and Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, with the support of the Union of Brunei Malays (KMB) and the Youth Front (BARIP), demonstrated the depth of their patriotism for Brunei. Their patriotism became the driving force behind the youth of Brunei Darussalam who wanted to preserve the country’s dignity and sovereignty.

In a globalised world, patriotism infused with Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) values is a safeguard within the community and the political arena. As the national philosophy, MIB became a source of peace and harmony for the people and the country as a whole. These values unite and integrate Bruneians regardless of their backgrounds, religion and culture.

The MIB philosophy has existed for hundreds of years and has been an integral part in the lives of Bruneians. It is our national heritage that has been passed down over the generations and its values form the basis for Brunei’s development towards realising the goals of Vision 2035.

According to 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, MIB values are a necessary ‘firewall’ for countering the negative aspects of globalisation which threaten the patriotic spirit of Brunei.

The current young generation must be extra vigilant when using the internet and social media. Some individuals may easily be influenced by unverified information which encourages behaviour contrary to Bruneian ethics and principles. MIB helps filter out information, to ensure that it is beneficial and does not deviate from the simplicity of Bruneian life and customs.

During a student reception in London in 2014, His Majesty reminded the young generation that they must never allow themselves to be exposed to harmful negative influences unconnected to their studies. His Majesty also advised the students to exercise vigilance against destructive elements lurking everywhere and constantly fortify themselves with virtuous acts and deeds.

His Majesty further reminded the students to uphold their identity, integrity and the Bruneian spirit, and to always practise the MIB way of living and thinking. The students were also reminded that national pride is not measured from efforts to become a new nation, but by successfully maintaining one’s cultural heritage and identity.

In MIB philosophy, one of the important components of patriotism is love and respect for the monarch, which is a tradition rooted in Brunei’s socio-politic and economic policies.

The collapse of several countries in the 21st century is caused by increasingly irrelevant political systems that have been compromised by external parties, which breed rage and discontent in the minds of the populace towards their respective governments.

Alhamdulillah, under the sovereignty of MIB leadership, His Majesty has protected and provided well for the people of Brunei as the undisputed leader of the nation.

The ties between the monarch and the people are embedded in the ‘Perlembagaan Negeri Brunei 1959 Pindaan 2004 dan 2008’, which states the highest power and authority is His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

Formulated into the constitution (Dokumen-dokumen Perlembagaan – Pindaan 2008 – Bahagian 111 Perkara 4 Ceraian (1)) is that the highest ruling power in Brunei is His Majesty.

In a titah marking the occasion of His Majesty’s Silver Jubilee on September 20, 1992, His Majesty stated, “It is hoped that [MIB] will enjoin and instil loyalty to the Sovereign, forming a base of strength for the people and the country, while going through various facets of life and challenges every now and then.

“It is an the essence of our culture, which not only functions as a blueprint, but must be developed as a guide to ensure our way of life does not deviate from the concept and spirit of Malay Islamic Monarchy.”

Accepting and abiding by the laws of Brunei Daruss-alam symbolises the people’s loyalty towards their monarch who has contributed to the nation’s welfare. A prime example is the hoisting of the national flag on Brunei’s National Day, which is observed annually on February 23.

The simple act of hoisting a flag is a sign of patriotism, coupled with a show of support and loyalty towards the monarch. It is also a show of appreciation for the favours bestowed by Allah the Almighty, as written in Surah An-Nisa Verse 59, “You who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.”

During the Battle of Mut’ah, between the forces of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Byzantine Empire, in 629 AD, the flag-bearers on the front lines sacrificed their lives to keep the Islamic banner standing tall and preventing it from falling to the ground.

The flag symbolises national pride and dignity and it should not be disrespected, trampled upon or burned. On the occasions marking His Majesty’s birthday and National Day, we show our patriotism by hoisting the national flag as a sign of honour and respect towards the country, religion and monarchy.

Hoisting the flag is a symbol of genuine patriotism which shows that Bruneians will unite together to maintain the sovereignty of an independent MIB state.

We are taught to respect the national flag and to stand at attention when the national anthem is being played, as a sign of the Bruneian spirit.

Additionally, the national anthem serves as a prayer to Allah the Almighty to grant the sovereign, the people and the country lasting peace and prosperity under the protection of Allah the Almighty. We should realise that respecting the flag is an act of patriotism based on MIB principles. A strong patriotic spirit should be cultivated by Bruneians, especially among the current young generation and students, who are the future inheritors of Brunei.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Establishment of Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC)

An overview of Muara Container Terminal Port, 2017

MPC: Unlocking Muara Port to be international hub
on: February 25, 2017

THE establishment of the Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC), as the new operator for the Muara Container Terminal (MCT), will facilitate the growth in the logistics and manufacturing industries and unlock the potential of Muara Port to become a world-class international hub, a Ministry of Finance press release issued yesterday stated.

The recent establishment is in line with the objective of the Government of 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 to improve the efficiency of the container terminal and the overall logistics value-chain in the country.

The set-up will facilitate the growth in the logistics and manufacturing industries and unlock the potential of Muara Port to become a world-class international hub, the press release added.

The press release stated: “Through its initial focus on upgrading the equipment, MPC plans to improve port operation and enhance the level of port services.

“These include increasing the average gross crane rate from less than 20 moves per hour to 24 moves per hour; increasing the average terminal rate from 20 moves per hour to 40 moves per hour; decreasing the average berthing time from more than 16 and a half hours to 11 hours; and reducing the average time for container transfer by outside trailer from more an hour now to just 30 minutes.

“In addition, the company will also focus on opening and enlarging the available route networks, increase the transit volume, and gradually improving the influence of Muara Port. MPC plans to transform Muara Port into a regional hub by attracting international shipping companies and opening direct routes to Chinese and other Southeast Asian ports.

“Over 90 per cent of global trade is seaborne, and therefore ports are vital as an enabler of trade. Vital supplies such as building materials, food products, and fuel can only be provided through ports. They also support local industries enabling the economy to grow through import and export activities.

“In an increasingly competitive maritime industry, an efficient port operation is determined by its well-developed facilities for handling all types of cargo, a competitive tariff, a comprehensive use of information technology and a dedicated workforce. These will ensure that customers are always provided with good quality and efficient service.

“All these improvements along with the introduction of online permit application process, auto approval and online payment of duties under the Brunei Darussalam National Single Window and more recently the Royal Customs and Excise Department’s 24/7 service will enhance Brunei Darussalam’s Ease of Doing Business standing in the Trading Across Borders Index.”

MPC is a joint venture between the government through Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd, and Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group Co Ltd (Beibu) from China, a state-owned corporation of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Apart from managing and operating ports, Beibu is also involved in logistics, industry and trade, investment and real estate. Beibu visited Brunei Darussalam as part of the Guangxi Business Delegation in July 2016 and consequently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) in August 2016 to facilitate Beibu’s Investment interest. In September 2016, Darussalam Assets’ and Beibu signed a Key Term Sheet at the China-Asean Expo in Nanning, China.

MPC, which officially took over Muara Container Terminal on February 21 this year, will manage, operate, maintain and develop the Terminal. With Beibu’s vast experience in port operations and maritime logistics, the collaboration will further enhance Muara not only as an international port but a competitive sub-regional port within the BIMP-EAGA region.

The company is also expected to grow the export cargo volumes and cargo throughput at Muara, which in the long-term, will benefit the small and medium enterprises in the country through a reduction of the logistics costs.

MPC will also be expanding its portfolio to include managing and operating the adjacent MCT before the end of this year, bringing the entire operations under MPC.

The expansion is anticipated to spur the country’s economic growth in sectors outside oil and gas, and create more job opportunities for Bruneians.

MPC currently employs 86 people, of which 12 employees are senior management personnel from Beibu and 74 employees are from the previous operator, New Muara Container Terminal Services. Sixty-two of the employees are Bruneians. As the company grows, it will seek to add more local employees in all positions.

MPC’s short to mid-term plan is to upgrade existing container terminal equipment, introduce new port operational and administrative IT system, including the construction of automatic gate and implementation of CCTV system and building a new 50,000-tonne container terminal to increase the throughput capacity of the port.

With Brunei Darussalam intensifying its efforts to diversify the economy and attract foreign direct investments (FDIs), Beibu is also looking at other investment opportunities to create more industrial activities as part of the port’s ecosystem, especially in the development of industrial parks.

Sea-borne trade will continue to dominate global trade flow and the Asean region will continue to grow providing opportunities for investment and trade. The rejuvenation of Muara port is a timely development because the port plays a vital role as a centre for the distribution of goods and products to the market.

Muara port also plays an integral part of the logistics and supply chain. Hence, a fully developed and highly efficient port will not only benefit local businesses but also help to reduce transit time and logistic costs as well as improve its competitiveness. (Ministry of Finance)

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Saturday, February 25, 2017

33rd Brunei National Day

Patriotism fills nation
on: February 24, 2017

| Rokiah Mahmud |

AN EARLY morning heavy downpour that soaked the quiet streets of Bandar Seri Begawan failed to dampen the spirit of patriotism, love and loyalty towards the nation as thousands of citizens and residents flooded the capital yesterday to celebrate Brunei Darussalam’s 33rd National Day.

Following the arrival of 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, the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien was awash with a multitude of colours as thousands, young and old, serving and retired as well as the differently abled, marched in unison across the field’s stretch in a show of patriotism and loyalty.

Witnessed by 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; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah, the magnificent National Day parade and celebration saw more than a 23,000-strong team ranging from field performers, parade participants to students lining the way for the royal convoy.

Upon arrival at the Taman, His Majesty and members of the royal family were greeted by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Executive Committee for the 33rd National Day celebrations, as well as other members of the committee.

The royal convoy was greeted by enthusiastic people in their thousands with the royal salute and singing of the national anthem.

His Majesty then consented to inspect the royal guard of honour mounted by personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Royal Brunei Police Force.

With the theme ‘Accomplishing the National Vision’ (Menjayakan Wawasan Negara), yesterday’s event had been weeks in the making with thousands of participants enduring heat and humidity during coordinated military-precision training to provide the nation with the best the people were able to muster to mark one of Brunei’s most important historical events.

This year’s theme aimed to instil three main features – loyalty to the Sultan and country, belief in the values of Islam and the harmony of social and traditional practices.

The theme states that each citizen, resident as well as all sectors involved in national development have a role in ensuring that the Brunei Vision 2035 is successfully realised.

The Brunei Vision 2035 of His Majesty envisages making the country known throughout the world as a nation with people who are educated, highly skilled and successful that is measured by the highest international standards, as well as creating a dynamic and sustainable economy.

Yesterday’s celebration began with a parade led by flag bearers carrying a giant size national flag symbolising the nation’s sovereignty and the people’s spirit of independence and love and loyalty towards the nation.

Behind them were the 33 oath readers carrying national flags and the logo of the 33rd National Day; contingents of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force, differently abled, government ministries and departments, district representatives – all walked with full of confidence and pride reflecting their strong commitment in meeting the aspiration of the country.

A team of 100 students representing three different schools, namely Anggerek Desa Primary School, Haji Mohammad Jaafar Maun Primary School and St George’s School and the National Service Programme (PKBN) contingent of 360 trainees of the 6th intake performed a chorus describing the role of the young generation in realising the Brunei Vision 2035.

The parade also saw teams from higher education institutions, colleges, government and private secondary and primary schools, non-governmental organisations, banks, foreign associations as well as a group of excellent achievers marching to celebrate the country’s independence.

Educational institutions made up the largest single group in the parade with over 10,000 parading for them.

More than half of the march past participants comprised youth, showing their commitment in developing the nation’s capabilities.

Amid the march past, the proclamation of oath, led by Muhammad Ihsan Sabri bin Haji Abdul Manap, Acting Assistant Brunei-Muara District Officer as well as the call of ‘Allahu Akbar’ three times, led by Pengiran Muhammad Ameer Mubaarak bin Pengiran Haji Hashim, Administrative Officer Grade One at the Ministry of Education, echoed in the capital.

The oath readers’ team comprised 33 participants selected from various government and private sector institutions, higher education institutions, uniformed departments and associations. The team was also represented by two special needs participants who used sign language to deliver the oath.

The highlight of the 33rd National Day celebration was field performances showcased by some 7,133 participants that reflected solidarity among the people in upholding the commitment to realise the country’s vision.

Before leaving the Taman, His Majesty consented to meet and greet the participants and appreciate them for their committed efforts to make the 33rd National Day celebration a big success, overcoming a hostile weather.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Friday, February 24, 2017

HM Sultan Brunei: Strive To Realise Vision 2035

Strive for realising Vision 2035, Sultan urges nation
on: February 23, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

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 urged Bruneians not to let the Brunei Vision 2035 be just an intellectual rhetoric and sound beautiful only when expressed in words, but to implement it with full commitment and determination.

In a titah delivered on the eve of the 33rd National Day, which was broadcast nationwide over Radio Television Brunei (RTB), His Majesty said the people should be more agile to produce high results that can contribute to progress and help the nation realise the vision.

“Let us be grateful to Allah the Almighty for enabling us to celebrate the 33rd National Day this year in a peaceful and prosperous environment. This year, we celebrate the day with the theme ‘Accomplishing the National Vision’. The theme is appropriate after we used the theme ‘Generation with a Vision’ three years in a row.

“The Brunei Vision 2035 has set three key targets. To realise these targets, I have consented for the formation of a working framework which, among others, outlines the core areas that should be given attention for achieving the vision goals. Leaders for every strategy have also been appointed,” His Majesty said.

The monarch also urged the people to be united in achieving the national Vision 2035. “We should ensure that all efforts are based on consensus, relevant and meet the current needs. This is key to the success of the nation’s Vision 2035… This covers all, whether they are in the government or in the private sector, and it is crucial to instill the spirit of cooperation and understanding among them. All of us are required to work as a team without engaging in matters that are against the law.”

The monarch added, “Although we have the infrastructure, technology, equipment, mechanism and a good system, if our intention is not good, the outcome will also be not good. For instance, if there is corruption in the government, it will drag the nation towards a bad state, even though the workforce is highly skillful or comprised of scholars. We should control this to prevent the nation from experiencing undesirable developments.

“We have been seeing or hearing about many untoward incidents taking place everywhere such as breach of trust, corruption and so on. Places affected by these ills face various sorts of difficulties. In this context, Brunei should be vigilant and learn lessons from it.”

His Majesty also said that “on the occasion of this year’s National Day celebration, we need to stress on nurturing noble traits like honesty, trustworthiness and loyalty. Without these characteristics, life, or administrative mechanism, will not run well, and could be problematic and weak.”

“All programmes need to be knowledge-based, inclusive and able to touch all generations. The objective is to make all levels understand the true meaning of independence. It is hoped that all, especially the future generation, will truly appreciate and love independence,” the monarch said.

His Majesty also reminded that independence is part of the history of the people and a “crown” of the people. “Neglecting independence means neglecting history, which will in turn put the crown of the people in disarray.”

Concluding the titah, His Majesty conveyed his highest appreciation for all participants and those in charge of the 33rd National Day celebration for jointly making this year’s event a success.

The monarch also expressed his gratitude to all citizens and residents in this country, including public servants, those working abroad, security personnel and those working in the private sector, and prayed that the people and the nation may always be under the protection of Allah the Almighty.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Monday, February 20, 2017

HM Sultan Brunei launches New Royal Brunei Police Force Headquarters

His Majesty launches new RBPF Headquarters
on: February 19, 2017

| James Kon |

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 Inspector General of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), yesterday morning officially launched the new RBPF Headquarters located at the Jalan Tungku Link area.

On hand to witness the auspicious occasion were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Deputy Inspector General of the RBPF; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, the Honorary Commissioner of Police; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Commandant of the Women Police; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Nor’ain, Deputy Commandant of the Women Police.

Upon arrival, they were greeted by Dato Paduka Seri Haji Mohd Jammy bin Haji Muhd Shah Al-Islam, the Commissioner of Police and senior police officials.

Following the launch, His Majesty signed a plaque in conjunction with the unveiling of the new building and also consented to a pesambah from the personnel and staff of the RBPF.

His Majesty and other members of the royal family also took a closer look at the environment-friendly building that was completed in August 2014.

His Majesty first visited the second floor of the new headquarters which houses the office of the Director of General Administration and Finance Department, the Training Division as well as the Personnel and Career Planning Division.

His Majesty then moved on to the fourth floor where the office of the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police are located.

Also attending the ceremony were Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamdan bin Haji Abu Bakar, the Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid, Permanent Secretary (Law and Welfare) at the Prime Minister’s Office; Mohamed Riza bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohamed Yunos, Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office, and other officials.

The design concept of the RBPF Headquarters new building reflects the identity of the Police Force, displaying its order and strength through the square geometry.

The design also incorporate environ-mental-friendly elements like the use of solar shading, a core design that maximises usable floor space and narrow floor plates to allow more day lighting and ventilation.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

HM Sultan Brunei: Uplift Law Enforcement To Face New World Challenges


Uplift law enforcement to face new-world challenges
on: February 19, 2017

| Azaraimy HH |

THE Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) needs to uplift law enforcement efforts as it faces constant challenges brought about by globalisation and a borderless world.

This was stated in a titah delivered 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, and Inspector General of the RBPF during the 96th Police Day Parade held at the Parade Square of the RBPF Headquarters yesterday.

His Majesty also emphasised the need for high integrity among the police force and urged them to increase their capacity and level of expertise in combating crimes, keeping up with the excellent police forces in the world.

In the titah, His Majesty expressed gratitude to Allah the Almighty for the success of the RBPF in celebrating the 96th anniversary of its establishment, and said that at 96, the RBPF has matured enough to face any challenges.

“Certainly, the RBPF is constantly facing challenges, especially brought by the waves of globalisation and a world without borders. This is why, it is necessary for the RBPF to uplift its efforts in the enforcement of law,” the monarch said.

The role of the RBPF is vast and the force stands for the stability, peace and security of the country.

Therefore, the RBPF must enhance its organisation, besides actively undergoing changes that are deemed necessary, His Majesty urged.

“These changes must be also towards enriching the minds and strengthening the ethical foundation of police personnel as law enforcers,” the monarch said, adding that “we shall not forget to strengthen our services with discipline, integrity, sincerity and quality, in order to effectively fighting the challenges that are regularly being faced”.

Integrity and ethics are always needed as they are closely related to policing work and are pre-requisites for police service, His Majesty noted.

“It is important as a guarantee that the services delivered to stakeholders or the society are excellent…It is time for police ethics to be integrated into the administration of the force.

“With this in place, I believe that the weak, insincere, less trustworthy and other negative elements that can harm the organisation of the police force can be deterred,” the monarch added.

His Majesty urged that the police force must have clear work ethic to ensure that they work hard and carry out their works intelligently and sincerely, not hoping to profit from the duties they perform.

“A person who has a healthy work ethic will carry out his duties without differentiating people based their social status or race, and will show respect to others.

“If ethics in police service is strong, the police force will become stronger, and they will enjoy a strong trust from the society which will help them establish a strong bond with the public. This will naturally become a catalyst towards solidarity and harmony in the society.”

To help policing in the country, His Majesty said public commitment is certainly needed.

“But, this does not mean that police personnel only know how to wait or to be too reliant on public cooperation, because if this happens, then this will certainly make the police force weak, and we do not want a weak police force.

“If the police force is weak, doors to crime will become harder to close, and if those doors are not closed, crimes will easily increase and the country may not be able to prevent as its security mechanism is weak.”

Therefore, His Majesty urged the police force to master the techniques, especially of crime prevention and investigation. It is not just enough to record the crime cases, but it is important to closing them as well, the monarch added.

“Naturally, crime is a complex phenomenon. It must be eliminated, and there is no compromise in it.

“Crime is a threat not only to an individual, but also to the country as a whole, thus the RBPF must increase its capacity and capability to the same level of excellent police forces in the world,” His Majesty urged.

In closing the titah, the monarch reminded the RBPF not to remain at the existing level but to continuously seek ways to change and improve to a much better level.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

His and Her Majesty Sultan Brunei Graces Chinese New Year Gala 2017

Their Majesties, royal family grace CNY gala
on: February 17, 2017

| James Kon |

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 Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam yesterday morning joined the Chinese community in celebrating the Chinese Year of the Rooster at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.

Accompanying Their Majesties to attend the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Umi Kalthum Al-Islam; Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar; and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Haji Idris bin Pengiran Maharaja Lela Pengiran Muda Abdul Kahar.

Upon arrival, Their Majesties and members of the royal family were welcomed by YB Ong Tiong Oh, a member of the Legislative Council (LegCo) and Chairman of the organising committee for the Chinese New Year celebrations 2017; Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin, honorary advisor of the committee as well as members of the committee.

The event saw the royal family joining a group photo session.

This was followed by singing of the national anthem and a pledge of allegiance taken by members of the Chinese community, led by Muhammad Firdaus bin Abdul Rahman @ Dr Tan Kah Hock.

The event also saw presentation of a pesambah to His Majesty.

The celebration was enlivened by an hour-long performance themed ‘Innovative Youth as the Prime Mover of National Vision’ which was carried out by students of Chung Hwa Middle School, Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB).

The performance that delighted Their Majesties and the royal family included Chinese traditional dances, poetry recitals, Bermukun – a traditional form of entertainment which is still preserved, a Wushu showcase in Kungfu Panda costumes, among others.

“It’s an extraordinary Chinese New Year celebration which was graced by the presence of Their Majesties and the members of the royal family. It’s a fantastic celebration and everything went smoothly without a glitch,” said YB Ong Tiong Oh.

He also conveyed his gratitude to the students, principal and teachers of Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB, as well as members of the organising committee in helping to make the celebration a big success.

Before concluding the ceremony, Their Majesties and the royal family viewed an exhibition of video conferencing system set up by students of Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB.

Also attended the celebration were Cabinet Ministers, prominent figures in the government and Chinese community and foreign dignitaries.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ministry of Education Make Changes to SPN21

MoE making three core changes to implementation of SPN21
on: February 16, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

THE Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman has announced that his ministry is making three core changes in terms of curriculum and assessment, the structure of the education system and the vocational and technical system, in response to the aspirations of 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 for the implementation of the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21).

Speaking at a dialogue session with Legislative Council members yesterday, the minister quoted from His Majesty’s titah during the celebrations for Teacher’s Day 2016 where the monarch underlined “the need for the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21) to develop and function in an integrated manner with the nation’s programme, as the basis for the national development plan in education.”

The minister said, “To strengthen the implementation of SPN21, several initiatives have been undertaken by taking some core changes into consideration. In the first aspect, regarding changes to the curriculum and assessment, among the newly-implemented initiatives is the Brunei Teachers’ Standard and Teachers Performance Appraisal.”

Meanwhile, efforts are also underway to strengthen the provision and intervention framework on the National Literacy and Numeracy Standard, with several curriculum experts being involved in the project, including international coaches and international school leaders.

“Their involvement is very significant, with regard to views and consultations in the employment of the best pedagogical practices and programmes to improve the quality of teaching and learning,” said the minister.

“This will not only improve student performance for the Primary School Assessment (PSR) and GCE ‘O’ Levels, particularly in English Language and Mathematics, but international coaches are also assisting the ministry in managing the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which has been disseminated to all schools, general public and parents.

“This programme will be exercised in 2018, to ensure the competency of our students on an international level, through participation in PISA.”

At the same time, amendments have been made to primary and secondary school education, to increase the effectiveness of the National Literacy and Numeracy Standard, including convening an integrated curriculum for Years 1 and 3.

“With the improvement of the integrated curriculum at primary levels, we hope to help students to be better prepared with the skills that have been applied within the early stages of education,” said the minister. “This should provide another advantage, at secondary school level.”

The minister also announced that the School-based Assessment has been consolidated in all schools, not only to provide knowledge and understanding to students, but “to provide skills that are more focused and adjusted towards high-order thinking which includes increasing application, analysis and evaluation of student involvement in practical work, projects, presentations and learning activities that are more geared to ‘quality-oriented education’, instead of teaching and learning for examinations.

“Meanwhile, in the aspect of education structure changes, students who are more adept in hands-on skills will be channelled to appropriate lessons so that there will be no school drop-outs. They will be given multiple pathways.

“In the aspect of changes to vocational and technical education and initiatives, it involves changes from the Technical and Vocational Education Department to Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE). Others include the renaming of IBTE’s Training Centre to IBTE Central and IBTE Satellite.”

Yesterday’s dialogue session also featured a briefing from the Ministry of Education on the National Key Performance Indicator, which was presented by Shahrizal bin Haji Emran, the Head of the Strategic Enterprise Performance and Delivery Unit (SEPADU).

He touched on the ministry’s initiatives for Vision 2035, which involve increasing the number of highly-skilled teachers and educational institutions; and continuing professional development from the Brunei Darussalam Teachers Academy (BDTA) to improve teaching methods, including assessment in equipping students with 21st Century knowledge and skills.

During the session, YB Awang Naim bin Haji Kamis, Penghulu of Mukim Kota Batu and a member of the Legislative Council, said that teachers should not be burdened with other tasks such as administrative and library work, which could interfere with their teaching duties.

“The ability and performance of teachers should be continuously monitored, as some parents may owe their children’s excellent school results to private tuition lessons,” he said.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Vertical Land Based Aquaculture Farming in Brunei

Project a win-win partnership for Brunei, S’pore
on: February 14, 2017

| Lyna Mohamad |

THE Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong in his speech during yesterday’s signing and ground-breaking ceremony, said that it was a historic day for both Brunei and Singapore as the ceremony marked the beginning of the construction phase for the vertical land-based, bio-secured and high-density aquaculture farming in the country by KR Apollo Sdn Berhad.

The realisation of the vertical land-based aquaculture farm project will be the turning point for Brunei, which uses traditional extensive pond culture with low productivity to the multi-tiered, indoor and high-density systems of fish rearing which is energy efficient and environmentally responsible.

He also noted that 80 per cent of the total production today was generated by the capture fisheries, however, data has shown that the capture fisheries have been experiencing a downward trend, which is due to many factors such as natural environmental impacts as well as over-fishing.

“Although Brunei Darussalam is slightly bigger than Singapore, land limitation is also one of our constraints, and that is why we are focusing on the aquaculture industry. And yes, we need the right technology and system to expand our fish farming upwards instead of sideways,” said the minister.

The over BN$20 million investment will realise the production of aquaculture food-fish and aquarium fish from this year onwards, he said, adding that it is one of the key priority projects for the fisheries sector.

He further pointed out that the project is set to prove that high-technology, vertical indoor farming operation is not only technically possible in Brunei, but it is highly viable and in this particular case, it is also economically and socially beneficial for both countries because, Brunei needs increased economic output and job creation, while Singapore needs a lot of seafood supply.

Increasing output is also the cornerstone of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism’s Strategic Plan, which was launched last month, added the minister.

“The use of technology in aquaculture is not just a matter of normal progression. It is a necessity for Brunei as it is consistent with our drive to improve productivity and to increase competitiveness, which will enable our products and services to penetrate the export market,” he said.

This, he added, is a win-win partnership for both countries as it will contribute to an increase in Brunei’s GDP and exports while supporting Singapore’s agenda for food security.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School

New Katok Arabic secondary school named
on: February 14, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

BY COMMAND of 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, the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) informed that His Majesty has consented for the new Katok Arabic Secondary School to be named Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School.

The ministry said the school is a project under the 10th National Development Plan under the Ministry of Religious Affairs at the cost of nearly $47 million.

The building is built on an eight-hectare (20 acre) site and is capable of accommodating 1,800 female students and a teaching workforce and administrative staff comprising 150 individuals. It was first used on January 3 at the start of new school term and the students were originally from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Damit Girls Arabic Religious Secondary School, comprising Year 7 to Year 11 students totalling to 1,350 students.

The school uses the National Education System for the 21st Century that covers Arabic schooling with emphasis on 21st Century skills, religious knowledge and Arabic language.

In terms of curriculum implementation, it uses two core curriculums, namely the national curriculum for general subjects and Ma’had Buhuth al-Islamiah curriculum from Egypt for religious subjects and Arabic Language.

It is a seven-storey building and its rounded shape depicts unity in the Malay archipelago where all the school workforce is a big family.

At the centre, lies a five-star skylight. All formal education avenues occupy the rounded open foyer at the centre to be used as a gathering avenue, exhibition and to conduct various activities. It also became the heart of the school.

The Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) concept was embraced in the early days of its construction, from the concept design where all buildings are facing the prayer direction (Kiblat).

Islamic design elements such as the garden and fountain, Kubah (dome), arches and geometric patterns have been used comprehensively in the design.

The building is equipped with basic academic needs such as 72 classrooms that are able to accommodate 25 students per room, 12 science labs, five computer rooms, a library, an administration office, teachers rooms, and two lecture halls capable of accommodating 300 and 150 students respectively.

The new building is also equipped with ample parking space, a canteen that can cater to 700 students, a multi-purpose hall for 1,500 students, a surau for female students that can accommodate 1,000 students, a dining hall that can accommodate 900 to 1,000 students, a hostel for 500 students, two warden houses and various sports facilities dedicated badminton and netball.

The provision of infras-tructure, conducive facilities and a high quality schooling system are among the continuous efforts of the MoRA through the Islamic Studies Department in realising the National Vision 2035 to have educated, highly skillful and successful individuals.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Monday, February 13, 2017

Culture of Health in Society

 ‘Instil culture of health in society’
on: February 12, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

DIABETES and high blood pressure are no longer diseases that affect old people. Nowadays in Brunei, young people aged 20-30 years and even children fall victims to these diseases, said Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi, the Minister of Health yesterday while addressing members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) during a dialogue session at the Women and Children Centre of the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital.

“A survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) has found that many children are taking fizzy drinks sold outside their school compound although school authorities have provided healthy food. We need cooperation from parents and family members to end this problem,” the minister added.

“This is a cause for concern for the nation as the young people are the asset of the nation and their future cannot be jeopardised.”

The minister added, “Brunei is still facing challenges from non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. These five diseases are the main cause of death in the country. Obesity rate in Brunei is the highest in the Asean region.

“As the situation is so alarming, the ministry is striving to give the best service in meeting customers’ high expectation in tandem with the social and economic development in the country.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi also touched on the three core strategies of the ministry towards realising its vision ‘Together towards a Healthy Nation’, which are: inculcating the idea that health is everyone’s business; preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases; and delivering excellence through consolidation and realignment of healthcare services to give value-added services to the public, reducing wastage.

The minister also highlighted the importance of instiling a culture of health for the wellbeing of the individual, family, society, and nation. Firm cooperation from all levels of the society is crucial in enhancing public awareness on the importance of taking care of one’s health, he said, stressing that health is everyone’s business.

“Changing the culture may take time, and we should do it step by step. For instance, from today, we could start cultivating healthy behaviours such as stopping smoking and eating wisely and moderately by ensuring that at least half-a-plate of fruits and vegetables, a quarter of carbohydrates like rice and another quarter of proteins like fish, meat or egg in the diet.

“We should also carry out sports activities five times a week and at least 30 minutes a day, which will have a positive high impact on our future health,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi added.

The dialogue session was followed by a briefing on the challenges and development of the healthcare system as well as the latest efforts undertaken by the MoH.

The briefing was led by Haji Zakaria bin Haji Serudin, the Permanent Secretary at the MoH; Dr Hazri bin Haji Kifle, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy) at the MoH; and Dr Hajah Maslina binti Haji Mohsin, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Brunei's Own Shipping Line: Amann Shipping

Amann Shipping striving to slash logistics costs, boost connectivity
on: February 11, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

AMANN Shipping Group Sdn Bhd (Amann Shipping) has intensified its operations in its bid to support the Brunei Government’s initiative to further reduce logistics costs and improve connectivity.

Amann Shipping is gearing up to offer better connectivity and a more regular sailing between Muara and other ports in the region, the company said in a statement.

Amann Shipping is the operating company of Marzuq Holdings Limited (Marzuq), a joint venture company between the Ministry of Finance’s Strategic Development Capital and Go-Wide Shipping Holding Limited from Hong Kong which was incorporated in May 2014.

The joint venture is a significant effort to speed up the country’s economic diversification programme and to create new employment opportunities to the local people.

Established in July 2014, Amann Shipping aims to assist in developing the shipping industry in Brunei Darussalam and also to act as a platform to improve the import and export sectors.

Subsequently its container liner subsidiary, Amann Shipping Container Line Sdn Bhd (ASCL) was established in December 2014.

The national shipping line is expected to reduce freight and logistics costs in the country and create a more competitive logistics industry that will promote the development of local businesses and attract more foreign direct investments.

The establishment of Amann Shipping as well as the Ease of Doing Business measures undertaken by the government are expected to benefit local businesses including foreign direct investment (FDI) companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase trade activities with Asean member countries.

In Brunei Darussalam, the potential of maritime transport and logistics sector are yet to be fully unlocked.

As a consumer nation, the Sultanate is a market for foreign goods where majority of consumer products is imported.

The country’s dependence on foreign vessels to bring in goods into and also to export its goods from the country has resulted in Brunei’s local businesses paying higher freight charges compared to other economies in the region.

The other challenge faced by local businesses is when goods are imported into the country, private shipping lines would normally have to make other port calls in the region to maximise available freight spaces before discharging their cargoes at Muara Port. This arrangement not only prolongs the sea journey but also adds extra cost to the final price of the goods which the local consumers have to bear eventually.

ASCL hopes that the local freight forwarding companies will respond positively by lowering the costs on their part, to satisfy their customers and build long-term relationship with them. This could be achieved by coming up with different logistics solutions, offering value added services and improving their internal efficiency.

The new shipping line is expected to boost industrial and commercial activities by increasing the import and export activities at Muara Port. The local service and logistics industry which include pick-up, storage, handling, delivery and transportation services also stand to gain from this initiative.

This will further contribute to the development of Muara Port as a regional hub for maritime transportation in the future.

ASCL currently employs eight locals comprising two executives and four management personnel. With expansion plans in the pipeline, the company is expected to provide more jobs to locals as it continues to grow in the coming years, taking centre stage in the regional maritime industry.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Ministry of Communications Strategic Plan 2017-2022

MinCom presents its five-year strategic plan
on: February 08, 2017

| Wani Roslan |

THE Ministry of Communications (MinCom) in its effort to provide a better transport and communication system has structured five key areas in its Strategic Plan (2017-2022) that are still being considered and refined.

This was stated by Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Mustappa bin Haji Sirat, Minister of Communications, in a Muzakarah (lecture) session with the representatives of the MinCom and members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) yesterday, which took place at the Al-Mahabbah Meeting Room at the ministry.

The minister explained that the first strategy is focussed on customers, whereby the departments under the Ministry of Communications will pay more attention to the aspirations and needs of the public and establish a harmonious and friendly relationship with customers.

The second strategy is to strengthen the regulatory framework by revaluating the laws and regulations related to transport and communications with the aim to enhance connectivity and reliability of the public transport system and increase the ridership from 1.9 million to 3-3.5 million in 2020.

“The regulatory framework plays an important role. Communication is important to ensure the people have the opportunity or economic activities to engage in entrepreneurial activities. The roles of communication and transportation are to ensure the mobility of every citizen and resident, making sure it’s convenient, smooth and runs without any hindrance,” said the minister.

The third strategy is to achieve efficiency and cost effective management in the framework of public-private partnership (PPP) or corporatisation.

This strategy aims to make the ministry’s system management more convenient and create an approach for the public and private sectors to collaborate closely. In PPP, the public sector has the time and space, while the private sector has the resources and in facing the economic challenges, cooperation should be enhanced to utilise the existing resources, the minister said.

The fourth strategy is to improve the infrastructure including ports and airports. It is a continuous effort of the ministry to improve services for the public with the aim of increasing economic activity, the minister added.

The fifth strategy is to focus on Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) to cultivate the aspect of security, health and environmental care in the management of communication and transportation.

“The strategic plan will also be emphasising on achievements or a performance-based approach in providing services particularly to improve people’s movement and mobility in line with efforts to contribute to national economic growth. This is to ensure that all these comforts have their own specific goals,” said the minister.

“With connectivity and reliability, the contribution of the communication sector to the country’s economic development will be more substantive by providing more business space and employment opportunities,” he added.

Yesterday’s session also featured the ministry’s plan for 2017 which include major initiatives to better public transport, road safety and mobile phone coverage.

The event was a platform to discuss viewpoints and suggestions on how to improve service quality standards and operational efficiency while providing participants the opportunity to share and exchange information on relevant issues.

Also present was Haji Azhar bin Haji Ahmad, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications as well as heads of divisions and departments under the Ministry of Communications.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

HM Sultan Brunei Plays Polo for Children Cancer Foundation

His Majesty leads team to victory in polo finals
on: February 06, 2017

| Khairil Hassan |

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday led the Black Team to an 8-5 victory against the Grey Team in the finals of the Richard Mille Charity Polo Tournament for the Children’s Cancer Foundation (YASKA), at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club.

In this photo, His Majesty, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel, Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah are seen with children from YASKA.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Brunei-Turkish Joint Venture Food Company

New company set to boost Brunei’s diversification drive
on: February 04, 2017

| Azlan Othman |

BRUNEI Darussalam’s efforts to diversify its economy by creating new business opportunities and attracting foreign direct investments continue to show positive results.

Supporting the Sultanate’s ambitious growth goals, Turkish food manufacturing company Marsa Yag Sanayi Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi based in Istanbul is set to open up a margarine manufacturing facility in Brunei Darussalam as part of its regional expansion plans.

The company named Western Foods and Packaging Sdn Bhd (WFP) will begin production in April 2017, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The establishment of Western Foods and Packaging (WFP) in Brunei is expected to leverage the Turkish company’s expertise in producing margarine, oil and fats for the export market.

A joint-venture between the Government of 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 through the Strategic Development Capital Fund of the Ministry of Finance and Marsa Yag Sanayi Ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi, the project will spur the country’s economic growth in sectors outside oil and gas and create more job opportunities for Bruneians.

Marsa was established in Turkey in 1922.

While the company’s products were initially produced for local consumption, it began exporting in 1969.

The company currently exports products to 60 countries across the world and has a total turnover of over $100 million.

The company’s annual production capacity includes 200,000 tonnes of margarine and 100,000 tonnes of liquid oil mainly from its plant in Adana, the largest in Turkey. The company also produces shortening, sunflower oil, olive oil, ghee, pasta, flour, powder soup, desserts and semolina. Marsa aims to strengthen its global market status through its advanced production technology, world-standard quality and new products.

WFP’s manufacturing facility is built on a 1.9 hectare site in Serasa Industrial Area and set to begin production in April 2017 with a starting production capacity of 200 tonnes per day of margarine.

The main raw material for the production of margarine is palm oil and the finished products will be exported to the Asian region. WFP is currently in the process of getting Halal certification for its plant and its products to cater to Muslim consumers as well as to help promoting Brunei Darussalam’s Halal logo internationally.

WFP is also looking into downstream opportunities for its products which can be used as ingredients to make biscuits, chocolates, pastries and ice cream. Its by-products can be used as chicken feed and to make soap and detergent.

The company, which currently employs 17 people comprising 13 locals and four expatriates, is expected to create 100 jobs for locals when it goes into full production this year.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Saturday, February 04, 2017

HM Sultan Brunei Visits New Gadong Market

His Majesty makes surprise visit to new Gadong market
on: February 04, 2017

| Aziz Idris and Abdul Hakiim Yakof |

TRADERS and visitors at the refurbished Pasar Pelbagai Barangan in Gadong received an unscheduled visit 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 last night.

His Majesty, who arrived at about 8.30pm, spent a full hour mingling with vendors and visitors who were awestruck at the monarch’s surprise visit.

The high-roofing of the night market provided ample cover to deter the light rainfall last night.

Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by a crowd of people who were thronging the busy market hunting for their favourite local delicacies.

The ruler walked through the spacious alleyways, passing by the vendors who expressed gratitude to His Majesty for reviving the night market in Gadong.

This justifies His Majesty’s image as “the people’s monarch” for being on the ground together with his people and listening to any grievances expressed, said Muizzuddin, co-founder of Street Waffles (SWE).

“We could not believe that we had the chance to meet His Majesty in person and have a face-to-face conversation,” he added.

He was one of the 16 young entrepreneurs who were granted with the Micro-Credit Scheme, an initiative by DARE (Darussalam Enterprise).

Muizzuddin also received a unique gift as a memento when His Majesty signed on his menu cover. The menu is now proudly placed at his stall where he described it as a “royal blessing”.

Meanwhile, Estonian tourists, Riina Vello and Agne Tsääro, happened to be at the right place and the right time when they got the rare opportunity to take photos with the monarch.

“It is our first time in Brunei and it is very clean here and the people are very polite and helpful. We visited the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque in the capital as well as Kampong Ayer today. Our encounter with His Majesty just made our trip to Brunei more worthwhile,” they said.

They added that they will be visiting Ulu Temburong the next day before they continue their tour to Kuching, Sarawak and the rest of Borneo.

The project shows His Majesty’s concern for the vendors at the popular night market and the monarch’s commitment to resolving the problems faced by the hard-working men and women who have been keeping the market appealing to visitors near and far.

The new Pasar Pelbagai Barangan Gadong has taken into account the needs of vendors and visitors with ample parking space, high-roof ceilings, smoke ventilation system, spacious alleyways, prayer hall and other amenities including fire preventions, routine maintenance and hygiene control.

The Pasar Pelbagai Barangan was officially launched on Thursday by Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The refurbishment of the market was done under the Julangan Titah Project, an initiative of the Office of 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.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin