Call to overcome delays in achieving nation's goals
By Azaraimy HH

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in his address to the Legislative Council members, emphasised the importance of coming up with more urgent measures to overcome delays and shortcomings in achieving the country's goals.

Delivering his titah during the opening ceremony of the sixth Legislative Council meeting, His Majesty reminded the appointed members of the "approved additional allocation of $626.8 million for the financial year 2009/2010, which came with the hope that the operations of government agencies and implementation of development projects are not affected".

The monarch pointed out: "This surely needs a mechanism that is agile, efficient and not outdated, because economic development is not about reversing even a step back."

His Majesty also made another reminder to the members that the Legislative Council meeting is where grievances can be heard and presented to the government.

"All will be evaluated and examined," His Majesty assured, adding: "If they are deemed appropriate, then they can become a basis for national programmes."

The monarch urged the members the forum is a channel to present and debate opinions voiced by the representatives of society that must not be taken lightly and to be more aware of all the problems of the people in the country including those living in remote rural areas so that their problems could be raised and discussed during this year's council meeting.

The monarch also urged the government to be mindful of its responsibility to always approach the people of the country and provide them with useful information so that they can become aware and share in the importance of national planning and development for progress.

His Majesty added, "Every matter being discussed must truly take into account the concerns of the people and the nation, not other trifling factors. It must be looked into seriously and not lightly. Any statement or opinion must be supported and examined with facts to enable the discussion to take an orderly way, not let swerve away or lose its way from its true direction."

In his titah, the monarch provided an apt example: "Sometimes we learnt that there are projects that cannot be completed within a certain timeline that was been agreed upon. What were the causes for this to happen? This is what we need to study and query the reasons that led to this, either from the government sector or the developer."

His Majesty further posed the question: "What has led to these failures and what were their causes?"

It is important, His Majesty said, that the factors that led to these failures be explained in detail due to its usefulness in being able to learn from the mistakes and only by detailing out the mistakes, can we know the root cause of the failure, in order to never repeat the same mistakes again.

His Majesty also urged the government to take more immediate steps to overcome any delays or shortcomings whenever goals are not achieved, for making such delays or overlooking shortcomings would have terrible consequences for the country.

The monarch also praised the country's proven and stable socio-economy despite witnessing the tumultuous effects of the global economic crisis. This was in large part, according to His Majesty, to the nation's firm policies and the healthy spending styles without relying on debts.

His Majesty save his assurance that with the country's added confidence in the global financial market as well as in the increase of crude oil demand, Brunei would continue to be able to bear its government expenditures.

This is vital as Brunei moves forward towards economic diversification, leaving behind its traditional reliance on oil and gas, which is seen as among the main objectives of the country's vision.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam also offered some words of wisdom by saying that in the matters of development, it must be understood that a complete development should not just be focussed entirely on the physical infrastructure but must also be centred on spiritual development.

"There must be a balance between physical and spiritual development," urged the monarch. "It is no longer a secret that all the countries in the world are on the whole developing but their development are more focussed on the physical development."

The monarch went on to emphasise the importance and the role of education in the midst of progress. "It is true other countries may have progressed but in that progress, there are those who cannot sit comfortably, cannot enjoy sleep because their country is wrought with unrest, war and in-fighting with crime, drugs, corruption and others."

These, His Majesty added, make all the developments that have taken place become meaningless. "This is why I have never tired of speaking about education.

"Education is an everlasting investment that must not be neglected," His Majesty said. "Its policy must be healthy and its system must be correct. Good policies and systems can bring about spiritual development and not weaken it."

This was the reason why the monarch cited that he always instructed that religious education from the basic level be made compulsory. - Borneo Bulletin (12th March 2010)