Globalisation is the solution not cause of current crises
By Narissa Noor

Globalisation is not the cause of the current problems the world is facing, it is their solution.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam succinctly put it in his titah yesterday at the inaugural session of the 2008 Bali Democracy Forum, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

His Majesty shared the stage with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of East Timor Xanana Gusmao and others to discuss efforts in strengthening democracy in the region beset by a myriad of crises.

Accompanying His Majesty was His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The forum was attended by Head of States and Government, Ministers from Asean, the Asia-Pacific, South and Central Asia and the Middle East.

Speaking about globalisation as a solution, His Majesty said, "It provides chances like this for us to meet, discuss and devise ways of working together to meet the latest challenges successfully and to do this as governments."

The monarch welcomed the positive approach to global crises such as food and energy problems and the financial crisis, implicit to the forum.

"In Brunei, our system of government has lived through seven hundred years of (near unremitting crises)," said His Majesty and added that the country has persevered through "good governance".

Albeit several types of governments that exist in the region, there is one system that links them all. "It is complex and closely bound in its own very old history but, in English, it can be defined as a 'Social Contract'."

"Like all contracts in any system, if it's maintained, we all succeed. If it lapses, we all suffer," said His Majesty and added that good governance remains the fundamental basis of its success.

"This means ensuring that we all meet the targets set in the Millennium Goals," stated the monarch, emphasising its precedence in fulfilling the government's responsibility in providing its people with confidence for the future.

"For us, this means providing maximum healthcare to all, good education from early childhood onwards, easy personal access to government and its departments and agencies, the rule of law applying to everyone and respect for each individual, each family and each community, whatever their background, culture or faith," said the ruler.

His Majesty also referred to the achievement of Brunei's 30-year national vision, or "Wawasan", and what it means for economic development in the form of employment and future prospects.

Reiterating the importance of the Millennium Goals, His Majesty described an end result which hopes to give a strong regional and world view on the part of the Brunei people, "one which promotes respect and understanding for every other country and government".

This, His Majesty said, is the basis on which Brunei seeks to play its part in the affairs of the region and international organisations to which it belongs.

Co-chaired by President Yudhoyono and Australian Premier Rudd, the two-day forum is being held at Nusa Dua in Bali, and carries the theme "Building and Consolidating Democracy: A Strategic Agenda for Asia".

The opening session of the forum was followed by a lunch hosted by President Yudhoyono for the Heads of State and Government, Ministers and Head of Delegations attending the forum.

His Majesty left Bali for Brunei yesterday afternoon.

A doa selamat was read by State Mufti Pehin Dato Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

His Majesty was bid farewell at the airport by senior Indonesian government officials and Brunei Ambassador to Indonesia, Pehin Datu Harimaupadang Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Hj Husin bin Ahmad. - Borneo Bulletin (11th Dec 2008)