| Hakim Hayat |
THE opening ceremony of the first meeting of the 15th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday was marked with pomp and pageantry leading the way for extensive parliamentary discussions among council members for the next two weeks or so.
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 opened this year’s session that will deliberate and approve among others core matters such as the annual Supply Bill 2019/2020 for every government ministry and department and discuss issues paramount to the country’s economic progress and the well-being of the people. The Supply Bill comes into effect on April 1.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah were also present at the ceremony at the LegCo Building in Jalan Dewan Majlis.
Prior to the official opening ceremony, the first meeting of the 15th LegCo session was convened to verify the minutes of the previous LegCo session that was held for 12 days from March 5, 2018. The meeting was later adjourned to tomorrow morning to make way for the opening ceremony.
During the opening ceremony, His Majesty took a royal salute to the national anthem and inspected the guard of honour mounted by the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) personnel.
As His Majesty entered the conference hall, he was accompanied by the cokmar or the Royal Mace, a sterling silver-crafted sceptre which represents the symbol of authority carried by Sergeant-at-arms.
His Majesty delivered a titah to highlight among others the need for the entire government machinery to take crucial steps to bolster the country’s economic diversification efforts that must also be in sync with the rapid pace of digitalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The LegCo session this year is chaired by Speaker of the LegCo Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib, who will be assisted by Clerk to the LegCo Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Jaya Dato Paduka Haji Judin bin Haji Asar and Deputy Clerk to the LegCo Rose Aminah binti Haji Ismail.
The LegCo session this year enters its 15th year since it was reinstated in 2004.
There are currently 36 members in the LegCo comprising Ex-Officio members, titled persons, and persons who have achieved distinction as well as district representatives.
Besides the annual expenditure, the LegCo meeting will also discuss relevant and significant issues for the benefit of the people in a consultation manner carried out harmoniously.
Last year, the LegCo members discussed among others issues pertaining to social matters, the government productivity and national development including strengthening the economic base making it sustainable, vast, competitive and progressive.
The LegCo is an avenue for the country’s citizens and residents to voice their ideas, suggestions, opinions and issues through appointed members by the means of discussions and deliberations that adhere to Brunei’s traditional concept of enhancing and strengthening relations between the people and the government.
The 15th LegCo session will reconvene tomorrow at 9am, where the parliamentarians are expected to begin tabling the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2019/2020 and also deliver their appreciation speeches in response to His Majesty’s titah yesterday.