AKC scheme benefits villages by encouraging solidarity, cooperation
Azaraimy HH & Hakim Hayat

THE presence of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at the 3rd Majlis Anugerah Kampung Cemerlang (AKC) or Excellent Village Awards ceremony yesterday was a valuable and momentous event where the awards ceremony will continue to have the attention and encouragement from the monarch.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival at the International Convention Centre (ICC) by the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof; permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as advisory members of the Executive Committee of the 3rd National Level Anugerah Kampung Cemerlang.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem followed by the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and a Doa Selamat led by the State Mufti, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.

The Minister of Home Affairs in his welcoming speech, as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the 3rd National-Level Anugerah Kampung Cemerlang, said the Ministry of Home Affairs will become more focused in encouraging the participation of villages from time to time.

The AKC Scheme is beneficial to village communities, he stated, adding that it is actually one of the catalysts that encourages the spirit of cooperation and solidarity among village communities. He said AKC can boost leadership skills through its consultative council members in improving the village activities. He said the level of excellence that a village is aiming for can elevate the level of well-being within the community as the scheme is based on group teamwork that is not limited to just producing a product or service but also encompassing the management field, welfare activities, education, sports and other socio-community activities.

At the ceremony, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to hand over the Silver Medal to Kg Katok Consultative Council. Although Kg Katok Consultative Council fulfilled all the five criteria needed it was not optimal enough to achieve Gold Medal status.

The Silver Award winner walked away with $15,000 in cash, a $40,000 grant for a development project, a plaque, trophy and certificate.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam handed over the Bronze Medal to Kg Kiudang Consultative Council. The Bronze Medal winner achieved some of the evaluation criteria including in the aspect of village economy and community affairs. Kg Kiudang Consultative Council also showed the ability to bring together the community through a project with a concept based on tourism.

The winner of the Bronze Medal received $10,000 in cash prize and a development grant of $15,000 for a community project. Although there were Consultative Councils that showed an improvement since the 2nd AKC, stronger efforts must be taken into account. The Ministry of Home Affairs will continue to strive towards achieving the optimum requirement, such as to emphasise understanding and confidence of the Village Consultative Councils on the AKC and to provide guidance.

Following the awards ceremony, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to tour the exhibition area that among others highlighted quality local products from Village Consultative Councils that were successful enough to be selected to participate in the 3rd National-Level of the AKC.

The exhibition, divided into seven areas among others showcases information highlights as well its services and products of 23 nominated Village Consultative Councils who have entered the finals of the National AKC Competition.

Other areas focus on projects and activities of Mukim and Village Consultative Councils nationwide such as handicraft products, agricultural activities and fishery among others.

At the exhibition, His Majesty was greeted by respective Penghulus and Village Heads and was given further explanation on each Village Consultative Council product and services.

His Majesty also consented to receive several ‘pesambahs’ from exhibitors while many also took the opportunity to have a photograph taken with the monarch.

The idea behind the AKC is to improve the practice of working together and encourage active involvement of villagers in generating a strong community with strong religious values as well as promote harmony, unity, discipline, creativity and productivity.

It is also hoped that the AKC will become a catalyst for development and progress of the village community that is progressive and competitive to create a happy, friendly, beautiful and attractive village environment.

AKC is one of the continuous efforts of the Ministry of Home Affairs in improving and empowering life in the villages, where the Village Consultative Councils are a grassroot organisation that could lead the respective village into a progressive and prosperous community.

The ceremony was enlivened with AKC songs entitled ‘Kampungku Cemerlang’ and ‘Memperkasa Daya Wujud Bangsa’.

This year recorded the largest ever participation which is already in its third year. The number of participants increased from 31 during the first AKC to 58 in the second year and now to 104 participants.

The number of nominees for the national level AKC has also increased. During the first and second AKC, there were 18 selected Village Consultative Councils for final AKC stage, and this year’s AKC showcases 23 Village Consultative Councils. - Borneo Bulletin (28 February 2014)