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Discussing Brunei’s real estate, construction industry

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) yesterday concluded a virtual forum which discussed the Sultanate’s real estate and construction industry as a continuation of the 10-part ‘BIBD SME360 SERIES’.

The two-day event began on March 8 and saw discussions on the market challenges faced by the industry players at the start of the outbreak of COVID-19 and during the
transition phase.

The first session of Day 1 featured a panel of speakers which included BIBD Head of Corporate Digital and Business Development from the Corporate Banking Group Haji Shamri bin Haji Mahali, Decals Contractor Admin Executive Angelina Kong and academician at Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Hajah Siti Hairaney binti Haji Shahri who is also a member of Brunei Institute of Geomatics (Real Estate) and Registered Valuer at Brunei Darussalam Board of Valuers and Estate Agents.

Haji Shamri said, “Home ownership is something that almost every Bruneian looks forward to and we at BIBD try to take the extra mile to help them realise their dream.

Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, property financing has been fairly stable and is not directly impacted by the pandemic.

“However, external challenges caused by the pandemic such as delivery and completion time due to limited manpower as well as rising cost of materials are causing home buyers and investors to put the idea on hold,” he said.

Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman who is also Architect Eco Bumi Director/Principal and BUE Enterprise General Manager Chris Yong at the forum. PHOTO: BIBD

The panellists agreed that despite the pandemic, the local real estate market bodes well for homeowners and as people are not spending their money on travelling with the borders being closed, now would be the ideal time to consider investing into home ownership.

The session titled ‘The Future of Brunei’s Property Market’ was participated by MD Associates Principal Consultant Haji Mohd Don bin Haji Omar (Chartered Surveyor, Valuer, Property and Strata Title Consultant), Principal and Managing Director at Gemilang Latif Associates Ar Mahri bin Haji Latif and Registered Estate Agent and Managing Partner of Alphamas Real Estate Agency Jason Foo.

Speakers expressed their optimism that in the near future, with the growing population of Brunei, prices of properties would become more competitive and reasonable with better designs being offered to prospective buyers.

The first topic on Day 2 of the forum was ‘Brunei’s Construction Industry Challenges and Opportunities’, participated by, Institution of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA) Brunei President Sr Haji Mohd Hanafi bin Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Diraja Dato Laila Utama Haji Abdul Rahman, NS BlueScope Lysaght Brunei General Manager Judith Fong and Construction Association President Yong Teck Foo.

The panellists shared that project delays caused by manpower issues due to restrictions and labour shortages were common and remained a major challenge in the current pandemic, especially with the construction industry being reliant on foreign labours. However, opportunities have spawned including chances for local labourers to step up and upskill themselves.

The second session of Day 2 was ‘Facilitation Management: Optimisation and Opportunities’ Critical Measures’ featured speakers Utamacon Sdn Bhd Deputy Director / Head of Project and Programme Management Services Sr Mohamed Humdhan, Borneo United Facilities Manager Haji Zalidi bin Haji Abdul Latif and Armada Properties Sdn Bhd CEO Desmond Lim.

Speakers highlighted that while the facilities management industry in Brunei is still in its infancy, there is a greater understanding and emphasis on the importance of facilities management that could play a role in ensuring the efficiency, quality and profitability of a business.

The final session focussed on ‘Impact and Sustainability’ and was participated by Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman who is also Architect Eco Bumi Director/Principal and BUE Enterprise General Manager Chris Yong.

Speakers discussed the trend of eco-friendly business practices and emphasised that sustainability goes beyond design and materials but overall lifestyle in general.

The speakers also called for full public support for the Protokol Hijau, or Green Protocol, to adopt and contribute significantly towards building a sustainable nation that is efficient in its waste management, carbon reduction, environmental conservation and restoration.

Topics covered were in line with BIBD’s effort to help SMEs recover sustainably following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

It is also part of BIBD’s commitment to educate and bring awareness on areas where businesses can learn how to carry out more environmentally conscious business practices – all within the three pillars of the BIBD Sustainability Framework, in this particular, Responsible Entrepreneurship.

BIBD Group’s strategic vision is aligned with 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’s Brunei Vision 2035 and recently, through its sustainability framework, the bank aspires to complement the government’s efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by creating a holistic plan that contributes towards lasting economic growth, community empowerment, healthier lifestyles and more environmentally conscious production and consumption.


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