Brunei's vision needs to identify global trends
By Liza Mohd

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday said Brunei's Vision not only takes into account the nation's status but also global trends.

The monarch delivered a titah on the eve of the 25th National Day and said that the country would like to witness among others the growth of industries, nation's poverty being managed, the staggering increase in rice production and also the continuous efficient and outstanding role of public service.

The 25th National Day carries the theme "Kedewasaan Bernegara" or 'Maturity of a Nation'.

"Based on the maturity we have achieved, it is vital to possess determination and are prepared to implement changes based on observation or actions. Every step towards regeneration and changes should be based on Brunei's Vision by taking into account not only the nation's status but also global trends.

"The vision should also identify the need of knowledgeable human resources and it is vital in view of the small population. A quality human resource is a determining factor towards the nation's long-term progress," the monarch said.

"Because of that we should not neglect education as the nation aspires to produce many intellectuals with knowledge in various disciplines and from there we hope to witness the birth of leaders, thinkers and authoritative entrepreneurs."

The ruler reminded all that the education principles and systems should never overlook the pure religious values, as well as the nation's noble customs and traditions.

His Majesty also pointed out the achievements of the ruler's late father Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien who steered the country towards modernisation.

"The nation's direction of development is shaped by the vision and determination of the country's nationalists and intellectuals. The late Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien is a fine example of a renowned nationalist and earned the title 'Architect of Modern Brunei'," said His Majesty.

The ruler highlighted that one of the major deeds of his late father was the launching of the first five-year National Development Plan in 1953 and the early investment totalling $110 million to support Brunei's modernisation programme on a large scale and wider scope.

Brunei has been an independent nation for quarter of a century now and this indicates how time passes fast. During this time, various developments have been achieved to boost the quality of life for the population, said the monarch.

"Development in the country is a long and continuous process and it began in the country 25 years ago before independence.

"It has and is ongoing on the peaceful soil of Brunei Darussalam which upholds the philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy and will ceaselessly remain a sovereign nation, independent and democratic."

The ruler revived the public infrastructure in the country back then such as roads, which were less than 160 kilometres altogether, and the small number of houses and buildings.

His Majesty recollected that there was only one hospital and the population mostly were unable to read and write.

"The late Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien with his initiatives and vision focused on efforts to fulfil several basic needs such as health facilities, education, construction of houses, roads, electrical generators, communication systems and development of the oil industry, agriculture and fisheries. The National Development Plan as a whole has succeeded in giving peace and prosperity to the population and residents in the country," His Majesty said.

The developmental efforts until the nation gained independence have outlined a wider progress and brought forward a meaning of 'complete achievement' when Brunei entered the field of international relations, the Sultan said.

"Brunei Darussalam with the blessings of Allah SWT has established friendly relations with many countries worldwide. Brunei also has various high educational institutions and benefits from modern telecommunications and other developments," the ruler said.

However, to stimulate further growth, we should also increase efforts to change our mindset and attitude, as well as to strengthen our moral standing and good ethics to reach excellence, His Majesty added.

His Majesty urged authorities to get to the root cause of the severe flooding and landslides, which hit the nation recently and asked them to seek solutions on how to overcome them.

The ruler said Brunei was heavily hit by the floods, landslides, disruption of electrical supply and communication system recently.

The monarch said the natural disaster is without a doubt a challenge which serves as a reminder and lesson on what measures and early preparations should be taken to reduce the effects of the disaster.

Simple questions like why the disaster occurred now and not before and why certain areas which have never experienced floods and landslides before have been hit now should be pondered, His Majesty said.

"Such questions require accurate and factual solutions and not solely based on theories," the ruler stressed.

The ruler extended Brunei's appreciation to its friendly counterparts who have continuously provided cooperation since it reached full independence and further contributed on beneficial matters at the regional and international level.

His Majesty also extended his appreciation to all participants, crews and members of the National Day Silver Jubilee Celebration Committee who have worked hard towards the success of the celebration.

Lastly, the ruler sincerely extended his highest gratitude to all of the layers of the population, public service members, rescue teams as well as those employed in the private sector for their contribution towards the nation's development.

"Cooperation from the population and the government's attentiveness have further brought prosperity which we are benefiting from," His Majesty said. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd Feb 2009)