Brunei, Singapore join hands on consumer protection

The Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) under the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Ministry of Finance and Economy, organised a training course on consumer protection law, as part of its efforts to enhance the consumer protection regime in Brunei Darussalam.

Over 30 officials from government agencies with consumer protection responsibilities attended the two-day training, delivered by the Consumer Protection Division.

During the opening, Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin highlighted the importance of having in place an effective fair trading legislation to promote consumers’ confidence and more equitable marketplace.

It was noted that a strong consumer regime is essential in developing sustainable consumption in Brunei’s domestic market, which is a crucial building block in achieving a dynamic and sustainable economy, as aspired in the economic goal of Brunei Vision 2035.

Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah commended the intensified efforts put in by the DCCA over the past two years to strengthen its role through focussing on increasing consumer awareness and consumer complaint mechanism, including additional platforms such as the SmartConsumer mobile application and the Consumer hotline through Darussalam hotline 123.

Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin in a group photo with the participants.

These efforts have seen a 30 per cent increase in the consumer complaints received – compared to last year, and the nature of complaints are also becoming more complex with the increasing online business activities, with cross-border nature.

To strengthen the consumer regime and stay relevant, Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah noted that the DCCA has been working closely with the Attorney General’s Chambers in modernising the consumer protection legal framework to the current socio-economic context.

Director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) Jack Teng and the division’s Senior Officer Angeline Lee delivered the training.

The training covers the consumer protection policy framework in Singapore and its experience in advocating and enforcing the law. Attending the training were representatives from the Ministry of Health; Ministry of Energy; Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications; Ministry of Religious Affairs; Attorney General’s Chambers; the Small Claims Tribunal; the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI); and the Brunei Darussalam Arbitration Centre.

The permanent secretary expressed appreciation for the close ties of friendship and cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, and expressed gratitude to the CCCS for its support in offering technical assistance in the areas of competition and consumer protection.