Budget for better Internet access
Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in His Majesty's birthday titah yesterday announced a budget allocation for a fibre-to-the-home project to provide a comprehensive broadband infrastructure.

"In line with the current demands and global developments in the ICT field, I have consented to a sum of $230 million under the 10th National Development Plan for the Ministry of Communications to implement the fibre-to-the-home project.

"This undoubtedly will lead to a better quality of Internet development that is affordable to the public. At the same time, the development in this service will boost the country's competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment," His Majesty said.

The monarch, however, cautioned on the adverse effects of the misuse of the Internet.

"We should also be aware of the adverse effects of the misuse of such technology. Hence it is very appropriate for the interested parties to step up their capabilities and vigilance in matters pertaining to control, prevention and enforcement.

"Parents, teachers, community-at-large as well as NGOs and more so the youths are the biggest users of such ICT facilities. We should take heed of the benefits. The obligation goes to all where we should practise decent values and norms and uphold our identity in line with the MIB (philosophy)," the ruler said.

His Majesty said, "We are a developing nation with the laws, education and good values moving forward on the basis of pure Islamic teachings. We offer friendships to all global societies and tell them we are also good partners who are always ready to respect anyone. We also hope that our counterparts will make a similar stand in understanding and evaluating our aspiration for safety and security even though our perception is different."

On the smuggling of diesel fuel, the monarch said, "Wrongful acts should not happen such as the smuggling of diesel fuel out of the country, which brings losses.

"My government will not hesitate to use the law to wipe out such crime."

On job promotion for civil servants, His Majesty said the "civil service is an engine and that efficiency and discipline still need an improvement.

"The career development of an officer that emphasises leadership still requires attention. Hence, I have consented to a method of 'fast track' job promotion in a way that is not exclusive and also part of the effort of the programme in replacing the Division II officers and above.

"Such method is capable of encouraging officers who make an outstanding performance to be hardworking and be committed in their work.

"On health, the government will not neglect to enhance the scope and quality of services. However, non-infectious cases such as diabetes, kidney problems, high blood pressure, heart diseases and cancer continue to increase, and at an alarming level.

"In my opinion, the way to tackle these diseases depends on the awareness and determination of every individual. To be healthy, it requires a discipline in lifestyle by taking healthy foods in appropriate proportions and exercising regularly.

"In this context, I would like to see the extent to which the campaigns and promotions are successful, including assessing them empirically. Deaths are not due to diseases but also due to road accidents, which are also alarming as the rates continue to surge.

"The public normally aspire for a quality road system, but many have neglected the government's hope for road users to be of quality.

"To date, I am pleased with the Demerit (Points) System, which has a high potential for (promoting) safe and courteous road usage.

"In the international arena, I am satisfied that we also played a mutually beneficial role in various fields, especially in regional and global cooperation and underlying the basis of respect, kindness and non-interference.

"In 2013, Brunei will become the Chair of Asean and will host an Asean Summit and related meetings."

In concluding his Titah, His Majesty said, "I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all levels of the community, including the civil servants, security personnel and those in the private sector for their support to my government.

"Similar appreciation is also extended to the committee members in making the birthday celebrations a success this year. I also pray for the country's continued peace and prosperity and blessing and protection of Allah the Almighty, Amin." - Borneo Bulletin (16 July 2012)