Empowering the people
By Azlan Othman in Yokohama

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday underscored that it is important to coordinate economic, social and environmental policies to ensure growth that is balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure.

This was highlighted in his titah at the first APEC Leaders Retreat session, at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel, in Yokohama, Japan.

His Majesty also expressed his happiness that APEC economies are working together on a Growth Strategy that integrates human resource development, structural reform, green growth, knowledge-based economy and human security. This would allow economies to learn from one another through exchange in 'best practices' and consequently draw up a 'menu of options' in the pursuit of long-term growth.

In this regard, His Majesty welcomed the adoption of the 'Action Plan for Developing Human Resources, Vigorously Promoting Employment and Achieving Inclusive Growth' by APEC HRD ministers in Beijing recently. The Action Plan complements Brunei's commitment to bring about better employment opportunities and long-term economic security for its people.

His Majesty also emphasised that key for the APEC Growth Strategy to be successful is its people. Thus, it is imperative for APEC to secure the future of its people, by addressing the impact of natural disasters, threats of terrorism, health pandemics, food and energy crises on economic development.

His Majesty said APEC has shown it's capability, going by its past response to the SARS epidemic and the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and that APEC must surge on. His Majesty also said that he is happy to see the inclusion of Secure Growth in the APEC Growth Strategy.

During the retreat, His Majesty and the heads of state and governments of APEC Economies exchanged views on the theme "Sustaining Prosperity in the Asia Pacific Region".

Earlier, His Majesty attended a 'Welcome Working Lunch' for APEC leaders, held at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel. Welcoming His Majesty on arrival was Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Naoto Kan.

Later in the afternoon, His Majesty consented to attend an APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Dialogue at the Convention Centre, Pacifico Yokohama Hotel. The Dialogue was also attended by three business leaders from Brunei Darussalam. His Majesty and the other heads of state and business leaders discussed input from ABAC on improving the business environment and achieving APEC objectives.

Later, His Majesty consented to hold a bilateral meeting with Canada Premier Stephen Harper on bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual concern.

Present at the audience were Second Minister of Finance at the Prime Minister's Office, Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim, and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng.

In the evening, His Majesty consented to attend a cultural event and official dinner at the InterContinental Yokohama Grand Hotel. Accompanying His Majesty were Pehin Awang Hj Abdul Rahman, Pehin Lim Jock Seng and Brunei Darussalam's Ambassador to Japan, Alias Serbini and other senior officials. - Borneo Bulletin (14th November 2010)