Live prudently, avoid waste
By Azaraimy HH

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in a titah in conjunction with the National Day, has once again reminded the people to value the country's independence by living within their means and appreciate the many subsidies that include basic amenities such as free medical care and education, as well as basic commodities such as rice, sugar, fuel, electricity and water.

The ruler said all life's rewards come with the blessing of Allah, and all adversities are also Allah's will.

"All of it occurs for their own specific reasons and purposes," His Majesty said.

For that matter, His Majesty said, we should not forget Allah, including during events to celebrate the National Day.

He urged the people to reminisce the historic time when the country declared independence with the grace of Allah the Almighty ("Allahu Akbar") with His blessings and divine protection.

"Alhamdulillah", His Majesty said, "this intention has been attained with 27 years of independence resulting in progress in all fields."

The country should not forget to preserve this independence by practising sensible living, the ruler said, adding that people should be encouraged to manage their finances through financial planning.

The intention is to inspire changes in character and mindset, so the people will be accustomed to live a simple ordinary life and to appreciate its value.

"For example, by appreciating govern-ment subsidy, we must behave and think in a balanced way, by being thankful and through avoiding wastage and wrongful use," His Majesty stated.

His Majesty added that this includes all types of subsidy, especially basic amenities such as medicare, education, roads, as well as basic commodities such as housing, water, electricity, fuel, rice and sugar.

"All these services and needs are very important in contributing towards the welfare of the people," His Majesty stated.

"These depend on the economy and financial capability of the country that at this juncture is dependent on the country's oil and gas wealth," His Majesty said and added that the government looks to diversify the economy so in the future the country will no longer be dependent on oil and gas.

With the country developing diverse economic activities and a more broad income base, and further fuelled by a high growth rate, His Majesty said the prospect for continued peace and prosperity is bright.

To reach this objective, His Majesty said his government is laying a lot of importance on educational progress for the younger generation. For a small country with its small population size, His Majesty said "we only need highly educated citizens that possess diverse strategic expertise".

His Majesty also stressed that it is not enough for the younger generation to only have education, but also the concept of MIB and good character.

The monarch said this is the very reason why the country has established schools, training centres and high-educational institutions, provide scholarships to more eligible people in developing 'human capital'.

Also high on the government's agenda is public services, His Majesty added. His Majesty said public services is the machinery for the government to chart the course of development.

His Majesty said as the scope and level of public demands continue to expand, the public services need to allow room for the provision of policies and its fast and effective implementation.

"Public services has the responsibility to identify any existing weaknesses, as well as provide the mechanism to overcome these weaknesses," His Majesty said.

"Slowness or failure in implementing government programmes should not happen, because it is highly risky and make our competitiveness weak in attracting foreign investment."

"Naturally," His Majesty said, "the country already has its unique strengths, among which are peace and political stability, added by strong economic fundamentals blessed by Allah.

"All these become important assets to attract foreign investments into the country. It's only left to us to be clever in preserving and defending them," His Majesty stated.

"For that matter, both public and private sectors must strengthen their collaboration in preserving these valuable assets," His Majesty added.

This will not only raise the level of confidence among foreign investors, but will also be able to ensure continued prosperity for the country, His Majesty stressed.

The ruler ended his titah by thanking all layers of society in the country, including members of the civil services, security forces as well as those in the private sector for all their sacrifices and contributions for the country.

His Majesty also thanked and appreciated members of the working committees and other committees of the 27th National Day Celebration and all participants and officials who have worked tirelessly in making the celebration a success. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd February 2011)