| Azaraimy HH |
HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah yesterday on the eve of the New Year, spelt out what the monarch wanted his government to achieve in the new year in areas ranging from Brunei Vision 2035, education, economy, diversification, quality of life, lifestyle changes to the worrying aspects of smoking.
Stating that 20 years is not too long a time, His Majesty said he has consented for the Vision 2035 Executive Council (Majlis Tertinggi Wawasan Brunei 2035) to elect leaders to identify strategies in achieving the vision.
The monarch, while lauding the programmes introduced by the Ministry of Education towards youths’ greater success, called for the enforcement of Compulsory Education Order to be strengthened.
His Majesty also called for more efforts in diversifying the economy like empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (PMKS) and increasing productivity.
His Majesty aired his concern on obesity among children and the habit of smoking. On the issue of smoking, His Majesty wanted the relevant parties to not just talk but to take firm action to root out the scourge.
The monarch reminded relevant authorities to be firm and committed in handling crime cases, as the ruler highlighted the rise in murders and robberies.
His Majesty expressed his gratefulness to Allah the Almighty for the peace and prosperity enjoyed by the people throughout 2014.
“By the will of Allah the Almighty, we will continue to strengthen our efforts to sustain this peace throughout 2015,” His Majesty said.
“As we enter 2015, we are getting closer to the target of realising the goals of Wawasan 2035 (Brunei Vision 2035).
“As 20 years is not too long a period, we do not have much room to be relaxed. Instead, we need to adopt a more progressive attitude and mindset.”
His Majesty said he has consented for the Vision 2035 Executive Council (Majlis Tertinggi Wawasan 2035) to elect leaders to oversee strategies that have been formulated for the realisation of the national vision.
According to His Majesty, leaders will consist of Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers responsible in their respective fields.
“Each leader will be responsible for identifying the aims of their respective strategies, as well as providing and implementing action plans towards realising the goals of Vision 2035,” His Majesty stated.
All these must be aligned with the Vision 2035 Executive Council, said the monarch, adding that this would avoid duplications and give optimum results and impacts.
In the field of education, His Majesty welcomed programmes of the Ministry of Education in implementing medium-term and long-term strategies to ensure full attendance of children at schools and to obtain greater effectiveness of teaching and learning at primary education level.
“We have set high targets where at least 90 per cent of our students will obtain Grade ‘A’ to Grade ‘C’ in PSR examination in 2017,” His Majesty said, adding that it is the hope that such efforts would help all students achieve a greater level of success.
In this regard, His Majesty said the enforcement of the Compulsory Education Order must be strengthened so as to produce a more disciplined and dynamic generation.
In the field of economics, His Majesty pointed out that the Prime Minister’s Office is currently setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) that must be achieved by all economic sectors based on the realistic trajectory to achieve the economic goal in Vision 2035.
The primary focus will still concentrate on efforts to diversify the economy from the nation’s current heavy reliance on the oil and gas sector, said His Majesty.
The second focus, His Majesty continued, is to increase productivity.
According to the monarch, there is still much room for improvement both in the private as well as government sectors.
“Besides capacity building and the utilisation of technology, this will depend on the aspect of discipline at all levels,” said His Majesty.
On economic diversification, His Majesty said the Brunei Government through the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is vigorously planning to establish a special body to help the nation’s local entrepreneurs.
The role of the special body will be to help build the capacity of PMKS so that local entrepreneurs can develop and compete in the market, in and outside the country, explained His Majesty.
“I hope, we all will enjoy the opportunities when we realise the Asean Community in 2015,” His Majesty added.
Touching on the quality of life, His Majesty urged the relevant authorities to be more steadfast in addressing the increasing number of crimes that have happened in recent times, including murders, robberies and thefts.
“Handle these cases with commitment and firmness. Thwart crimes from happening, and if they occur, find the criminals and catch them,” His Majesty said.
His Majesty also drew attention to the problem of obesity among children and the issue of smoking.
Citing the findings of a study, His Majesty pointed out that the level of health in Brunei is still worrying, where children under the age of five have been found to be obese. This may be caused by, among others, inadequate intake of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables.
If this is the case then those responsible, especially parents, should work out a way to overcome the issues, His Majesty said.
His Majesty also pointed out that a study has shown that more than 50 per cent of parents still smoking inside their houses and cars. Aside from harming their own health, they also expose their families to the dangers of cigarette smoke.
“This has given us a clear picture that despite our best efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle, it is still not satisfactory,” His Majesty said, adding that society must still be educated and given guidance.
According to His Majesty, ‘preventive education’ is also needed for those who have broken the law and religious edict, in particular smokers who did not take heed of the warnings given by the relevant authorities.
“I would like to remind the relevant parties to not only talk, but to take firm and consistent action until the habit of smoking is rooted out,” His Majesty said.
In ending the titah, His Majesty expressed his appreciation to all levels of the government sector and security agencies, including those on duty overseas, as well as those working in the private sector, for carrying their respective duties for the good of country.
His Majesty and other members of the royal family wished everyone a Happy New Year 2015 and prayed that Allah the Almighty would give everyone His blessings and protection.