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Minister highlights scourge of bribery, corruption

Bribery and corruption are detrimental to any nation. Direct and indirect offers, soliciting and accepting bribes as well as facilitating payments in any forms are unacceptable. Even turning a blind eye on suspicions of bribery and corruption can result in liabilities for the organisations and individuals.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof underscored this during a speech as the guest of honour at the Brunei Energy Industry Integrity Pact (BEIIP) signing ceremony yesterday.

The minister recalled a titah by 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 to welcome the new year of 2021 by emphasising the importance of inculcating strong work ethics with high integrity while abiding by rules and regulations in the workplace. The monarch said the collapse of morality and weak ethics while executing tasks will lead to corruption, breach of trust or misuse of power for personal gains, adding that if corruption is eradicated, the nation will be blessed with continued progress and prosperity.

Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said a clean and transparent system is essential during contracting and procurement for goods and services.

This is emphasised with the implementation of a regulatory framework under the purview of the Department of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office known as Directives on Local Business Development (DLBD) in oil and gas industry introduced in 2011 will soon expand to cover the power industry.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof. PHOTO: JAMES KON

The minister said operators and contractors are required to have in place measures including adhering, adopting and undertaking mechanisms to prevent and discourage collusion, bid-rigging, price-fixing and other predatory behaviours against competitors.

He said contracting processes must be transparent and encourage fair competition while being free from misrepresentation, manipulation, unethical practices and managed properly with good governance, which is critical in enabling local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow and flourish.

Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi also noted that the BEIIP web portal is now operational with online repository. Pact members can access and share resources such as industry best practices, templates, training materials, procedures and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

The minister said the portal is a milestone and he is pleased to see a platform for BEIIP members to network, collaborate and learn from each other.

Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi also expressed appreciation to Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) for its continued efforts to bring in new members.

He said the signatories should uphold integrity and serve as role models for others particularly SMEs.

The minister also expressed hope that the pact will cultivate more trust and integrity for the long-term benefit of the industry, government and the Sultanate. – James Kon

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