Collective effort needed to combat rise in crime
Hakim Hayat

AMID recent reports of rise in crime such as burglaries in the country, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah yesterday called for concerted efforts from the people like stepping up security measures and self-vigilance in safeguarding their own vicinities while complementing the work of relevant enforcement agencies in combating the menace.

Delivering a titah on the occasion of the 3rd National Excellent Village Awards (AKC) held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas yesterday, the monarch stressed that particular attention should be paid to safety aspects in determining the excellence of villages, apart from taking into account aspects of leadership, economy, education, religion, community as well as cleanliness and livelihood. Otherwise, His Majesty said, their efforts would be in vain.

These incidents, His Majesty said, are not isolated but becoming rife in many villages, with reports of victims being threatened with sharp weapons, before cash and valuable belongings are taken away from them. “Apart from the need for enforcement agencies to tackle the issue, the public must not take it for granted. It should be dealt with collectively with consensus and unity,” the monarch said.

His Majesty said a strong determination is required to face the issue and cautioned that the criminals should not continue to take advantage of people’s negligence. “Let’s ensure that they (the criminals) will learn their lesson from our community and the law and don’t let them have the perception that our country is a ground for illicit source of income,” the monarch added.

His Majesty said that inevitably, Mukim and village consultative councils are the forefront in dealing with the challenge and recommended them to have their own plans and strategies on how to “restrict and even defeat” what the monarch called “uncivilised actions by non-responsible elements”.

His Majesty added that for instance, where appropriate, Mukim and village consultative councils should be given the mandate to work hand-in-hand with enforcement agencies.

Earlier in the titah, His Majesty also called for more village consultative councils in the country to step up and be included in the AKC. The third session this year saw a total of 104 village consultative councils nationwide taking part, which the ruler said was very encouraging.

However, His Majesty said the number of participants did not encompass the overall number of village consultative councils nationwide which total 18.

“I would be happy if Mukim and Village Consultative Councils could execute their role as instruments for progress at the grassroots and community levels. I also hope that the existence of the AKC Scheme would be able to invigorate efforts in harmonising Mukim and village communities,” His Majesty added.

The ruler also said that leadership aspects closely correlate to the success and brilliance of AKC projects, especially at the grassroots levels. “It is focused on us all, from Mukim Penghulus and village heads, down to members and advisors of Mukim and village consultative councils, as advocates and pillars of the institution,” His Majesty said.

The monarch said that competent leadership at the grassroots level is required and it is hoped that the community will be deeply impacted to aid in rapid development in the vicinity of Mukims and villages. “The success and excellence of certain Mukims and villages lay on the extent of the leadership. A good and progressive leadership will lead to good impact and development,” the monarch added.

His Majesty lauded the efforts by village consultative councils for their active participation in exhibitions and bazaars within and outside the country and praised their worthwhile involvement, calling for products made under the concept of ‘One Village, One Product’ by Mukim and village consultative councils to be marketed in a more organised and extensive manner not only in the country but also beyond our borders through strong collaboration from all parties, both government and private agencies.

Also present at the event yesterday were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel. - Borneo Bulletin (28 February 2014)