No reason to panic on global financial crisis
By Liza Mohd in Lima, Peru

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said the global financial crisis has certainly given us a great shock but there is no reason to panic.

The monarch said this in his address during the second Apec Summit Retreat Sunday, the last day of the 16th Economic Leaders Meeting.

His Majesty left Lima, Peru Sunday and arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii for a working visit.

Welcoming His Majesty at the Hickam Air Force Base was Lieutenant General Douglas M Fraser, Deputy Commander of the US Pacific Command.

Also at the air force base were Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin, Deputy Minister of Defence, and Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, as well as Mr William E Todd, the US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.

At the Apec Summit Retreat, His Majesty shared the same view of 21 Economic Leaders that we need to continue to bring the economies closer together and work in partnership to reach the Bogor goals and increase efforts directed at regional integration.

His Majesty further expressed delight with the recent entry of the United States into the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement or P4 and welcomed the announcement by Australia and Peru in making the same move.

The ruler added that Brunei is happy to contribute further to the process of regional economic integration in the Apec region and to the wider multilateral trading system.

His Majesty expressed hope that the financial crisis will not affect the vital technical assistance and capacity building programmes that Apec is currently undertaking. Such programmes are particularly important for a developing economy like Brunei towards helping to improve ways in which it operates in an efficient and business like manner and by this, it means its efforts on structural reform.

The ruler commended Australia's efforts in hosting the Ministerial Meeting on Structural Reform recently and thought that this was an area where capacity-building and the sharing of experiences would be useful.

His Majesty added that it is not a time to look at the past and worry but rather believe that it is the time to strengthen the whole process that we are engaged in.

This is where His Majesty thinks that the role of business people continues to be important and the emphasis of the host, Peru, on corporate social responsibility plays a big part in making the businesses to be more responsive to the economic development plans.

Meanwhile, the leaders vowed in a joint declaration to "act quickly and decisively" against the global economic crisis. - Borneo Bulletin (25th Nov 2008)