Strive for betterment of society, Sultan urges officials

Azlan Othman

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said that some civil servants lack the necessary effort and drive in working for the benefit of society.

In delivering his titah for the 26th Civil Service Day celebration at the International Convention Centre yesterday, His Majesty said, “Undeniably, the civil service are the government’s main driving force in developing the nation for the wellbeing of the people. It is not only for the present moment, but also for the long term. The civil services play an important role in society. They must possess the effort or drive, for the benefit of society.

“As to efforts or initiatives, there are still civil servants at certain levels who tend to neglect those. Take, for example, an issue which should have been resolved eight years ago, but still has yet to be addressed.

“Why has it not been resolved? Is it due to a fear of making decisions? Or is it a lack of resolution? If this is the case, then why not consult the head or go directly to the relevant parties for clarification?

“As no efforts or initiatives appear to be forthcoming, the eight-year issue has yet to be settled.

“Eight years isn’t short. So many things could happen within that period of time. For example, if we have a building project, then the eight-year delay would result in huge losses, as the price of goods will have increased by two or three times over. “This is the result of an absence in initiative or effort, which can also be construed as a lack of integrity (amanah) in carrying out their duties efficiently.

“I would like to emphasise here that integrity is an obligation for every member of the civil services. There is no point in serving without any integrity, which is the pillar of justice. The people must be protected by justice. This is a principle of our religious faith.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam presents an award to a recipient. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“Everyone seems to be inclined towards and enjoy talking about justice. But I feel that mere talk is not enough, with hardly anything being done. Justice will only shine bright, when it is exerted. As such, we cannot afford be compromising towards any forms of injustice.”

His Majesty added, “If the Civil Services are weak in implementing justice, then the interests of the people would surely be affected. That’s why laws are enacted, to be enforced.

“There is no point in talking about the law, when crimes and violations continue unchecked. For instance, we have An Act of Offences Related to Polluting Public Areas and Dumping Sites, but indiscriminate dumping continues.

“This is apparent from the rivers and drains which are clogged with debris, while elsewhere, those who toss away cigarette butts are faced with legal action.

“As another example, we also have the Tobacco Order Act that prohibits the use of smoking advertisement, and the control of sales and promotions, including the prohibition of smoking in certain areas and vehicles.

“But it is still possible to see people smoking in market squares, or other public areas, without any action being taken. Although the basis for action is quite strong, in the sense that smoking is extremely harmful to health and was even been decreed as Haram or forbidden. So where is the integrity and sensitivity of the parties involved in the adoption of this Act?”

His Majesty also said, “The theme of the celebration is quite interesting: ‘Civil Service of Integrity and Innovation as Catalyst for National Development’. But if only the theme is appealing, while the services are lacking or unsatisfactory, then this is a deficiency. All weaknesses must be overcome.”

However, the monarch said, “I still have faith and confidence in the Civil Services. They have the opportunity and capacity for bringing out excellent progress from each ministry and department, as well as government officers and staff, through a reasonable awards scheme.

“I am pleased that we can still present awards based on merit, which are the Premier Innovation Award, the Public Sector Performance Grading Programme Award (3PSA), the Excellent Civil Service Employee Award, and the Civil Service Staff Meritorious and Dedication Award.

“I would like to congratulate all the award recipients. May they be blessed, so that they can inspire other members of the Civil Services in the pursuit of excellence,” said His Majesty, concluding the titah.

Also present 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 ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the event, His Majesty presented the Excellent Civil Service Employee Award to 49 civil servants in Divisions II, III, IV and V; and the Civil Service Staff Meritorious and Dedication Award to 13 civil services staff.

His Majesty also presented certificates of recognition through the Organisational Performance Grading Assessment Programme through Star Rating for achieving three stars (Good) to the Public Service Department and the Public Service Commission.

The monarch also presented the Premier Innovation Award for a Silver recipient to the Royal Customs and Excise Department, for its project paper ‘Facilitating Application to Vehicle Entries and Exits at the Border Control Post’; and the Bronze Award to the Government Printing Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, for its project paper titled ‘The Printing Management System’.

A special award was also given to the Fire and Rescue Department, for its project paper, ‘The Increase in Damaged and Missing Fire Hydrants Nationwide’.