The 18th Legislative Council (LegCo) Meeting entered its fifth day yesterday, seeing Minister of Religious Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman responding to queries relating to Muslim cemetery coordination, facilitating the use of information technology (IT), increasing the Haj quota, waqaf, digitalisation of religious school text books, Islamic literature and deviant teachings, among others.
LegCo member Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad suggested that improvements needed to be made to the management of Muslim cemeteries. This includes providing information on a Muslim cemetery, accessible via an IT system. The management and coordination fronts also need to be looked into, he said.
“The matter has its own governance unit, tasked with managing and coordinating Muslim cemeteries,” the minister said, adding that the system needs to be upgraded. Additionally, conservation works at Muslim cemeteries will be further reviewed.
To ensure the management of Muslim cemeteries is properly executed, Yang Berhormat Iswandy suggested the public be invited to make waqaf donations in the form of solar lamps and other items to beautify the surrounding and improve the cleanliness at cemeteries.
The minister welcomed the suggestion and expressed hopes the public would come together in assisting in the matter, particularly with regards to conservation works.
The spirit of gotong royong is much needed when it comes to conservation issues, the minister said, adding that the responsibility should not fall squarely on the shoulders of the government.
Meanwhile, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Haji Mohimin bin Haji Johari @ Jahari suggested for discussion to be held between the Governments of Brunei Darussalam and Saudi Arabia to increase the Haj quota to 2,000 pilgrims.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin pointed out that Brunei Darussalam has been allocated a quota of only 400 pilgrims.
However, following negotiations, the Government of Saudi Arabia gave consideration and has allocated a Haj quota of 1,000 over the past four years.
The Sultanate hopes the Haj quota will be increased, the minister said, adding that at present, at least 20,000 Haj registrations have been recorded. Selection will be made based on conditions stated in the Haj regulations.
Meanwhile, LegCo members unanimously passed a budget of BND280,936,340 and development expenditure of BND19,030,000 allocated for MoRA for fiscal year 2022/2023.