Ministry outlines initiatives to revitalise BSB

Azlan Othman

Moves are underway to revitalise the central business district in Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB), Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong said.

He said the Ministry of Home Affairs is reviewing the Minor Offences Act Chapter 30 on rubbish disposal with a heavy penalty as well as on Fire Safety Order 2016, and forging a link with local Ghanim Company to promote five local products to penetrate foreign markets to develop the ‘One Village, One Product’ (1K1P).

Speaking at a dialogue session with Legislative Council members yesterday, the minister also continued to facilitate the management process by adding several services online to receive the approval process, lauded the increased participation of partnering groups that assist the Prisons Department and help former inmates to acquire jobs and generate income, re-zoning of Kampong Ayer to enhance the management and administration of villages, and plans to implement e-voting system to elect penghulus and village heads.

In an effort to capitalise on existing assets and improve the quality of these assets, the ministry has received the cooperation and commitment of P Cube Sdn Bhd to implement the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative; Request for Proposal to Invest, Build and Operate the Integrated Development of Multi Storey Car Park Building and Bumiputera Commercial Trade Centre; and Request for Proposal To Invest, Build and Operate The Development of Local Employment and Resource Development Agency (APTK) Building and Expression of Interest to Finance, Develop, Operate and maintain the Gadong Market and Tamu Selera.

“It is hoped that such cooperation would attract local and foreign investors to develop government assets and widen micro, small and medium enterprises,” Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong and Legislative Council members during the dialogue session. PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI

The minister also said additional initiatives will be implemented towards changing the attitude of the public to become law abiding citizens, while at the same time contributing to the government’s revenue by introducing compound fine methods as a deterrent to potential offenders.

“We are in the process of making amendments to several Acts such as the Minor Offences Act Chapter 30 on the issue of waste disposal by imposing heavier fines as well as Fire Safety Order 2016 (regulating fire safety on business premises).”

According to the Fire and Rescue Department statistics, for January to November 2019, out of 966 inspections on building premises, 683 offences were compounded. However, the purpose is to deter non-compliants towards fire safety, and to ensure that people visiting building premises will always be protected from fire hazards, the minister said.

On 1K1P, the minister said in the face of uncertain world economy, the changing business climate as well as the changing consumer tastes, the ministry has launched the 1K1P website. Such a platform will help 1K1P entrepreneurs to introduce products to the public and enhance its marketing.

“Under the efforts of 1K1P, we have also partnered with Ghanim International Corporation to promote five products to be adopted to penetrate the overseas market.

“The five products are honey banana chips, pineapple tarts, sweet potato chips, Kueh Jala and herbal teas. The ministry through the institutions of mukim and village consultative councils will constantly review, coordinate and adapt to current changes in terms of products, operations and so on,” he said.

Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar also highlighted initiatives that can strengthen the security and well-being of the people.

Among them are payments using a debit/credit card at the Immigration and National Registration Department (INRD) to improve the quality of work and to provide the public with ease to do business at the department.

The INRD and the Labour Department are also actively implementing the one system with the support of the E-Government National Centre which is expected to increase the level of service to the public such as identification card, passport, registration birth, death and biometric use at control posts.

The system will also provide a more streamlining in the process and authorisation of issuing visa and work passes and matters relating to foreigners working in Brunei Darussalam more efficiently and properly.

Among the major impacts is the opportunity for people to submit applications online and reduce the approval process. Another is the strengthening of the security aspects of control posts in the country with the use of biometric. The system is expected to start operating in July.

The minister added, “We are also in the process of implementing the e-voting system. The application system will be available for candidate voting for the election of penghulus and village heads. It will help to accelerate the processes of filling the posts by utilising a cost-effective method.”

The minister also said 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 consented to the implementation of the re-zoning plan for the Kampong Ayer area and inland.

The re-zoning project will enhance the effectiveness of the management and administration of mukims and villages by taking into account current needs and developments. It also balances the duties and responsibilities of the penghulus and village heads in administering the village to a suitable and manageable population. The re-zoning project involves the reduction of the penghulus from 39 posts to 31 posts and the increase in the number of village heads from 185 posts to 191 posts.

In line with these efforts, the ministry is working closely with relevant agencies to increase the capacity of penghulus and village heads to hold the post by providing courses that will help them lead the community at the mukim, village and district levels.

On the Prisons Department, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said, from January 2019 to December 2019, 108 people have participated in the Partnering Programme compared to the target of 100 for that year, of which 35 were employed either in the private or self-business.

In October 2019, the Collaborative Project on Sewing and Showroom to sell former inmates’ products began operations at Beribi Light Industrial Area showcasing Prisons Department products. It is hoped to be a channel for marketing the department’s products. It should be emphasised that this achievement is the result of support from various parties, especially NGOs and the private sector. In 2019, eight associations and 20 private companies became strategic partners of the Prisons Department compared to 10 in the previous year.

The minister also said the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and the Fire and Rescue Department will continue to engage the community through their community outreach programmes.

Through this approach, 59 fire cases in 2019 were dealt with by the public before rescuers arrived at the scene.

Meanwhile, Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Mohamed bin Pengiran Haji Osman @ Othman said the introduction of the website on 1K1P gives an avenue to Village Consultative Council members while payment through debit card for documents could assist the public.