Over BND130 million budget tabled for MoHA

Rokiah Mahmud

A budget of BND130,352,620 has been allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) for the financial year 2021-2022, announced by Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong at the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday afternoon.

In his opening remarks for the budget deliberation, the minister explained that in line with this year’s fiscal theme ‘Towards Resilient Socio-Economic Development’, the ministry will continue to plan and implement strategic initiatives in realising the country’s goals that is strengthening socio-economic resilience while maintaining the welfare and peace of Brunei Darussalam.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said that 2021 is a significant year as the ministry is evaluating the achievements that have been made on the Strategic Plan 2017-2021. It has identify factors that have contributed to its achievement and failures, analysing on the issues and problems related to its implementations, thus it will be made as ongoing guidance for MoHA in preparing the Strategic Plan of 2022-2026 so that the annual plans could be well-implemented and systematic.

On assisting the country’s socio-economic development, one of the efforts by the MoHA is the revitalisation of the city area.

The revitalisation will look at three government buildings at Jalan Cator in the capital which include the Bumiputera Commercial and Trade Centre, the multi-storey car park, and the Local Employment and Workforce Development Agency.

“Discussions have been carried out with government agencies, P Cube Sdn Bhd and Darussalam Assets for the implementation,” the minister said.

Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong at the 17th Legislative Council session yesterday. PHOTO: INFOFOTO

Another project under the public-private partnership (PPP) is the relocation of Tamu Selera at Jalan Dato Taib to a new location near Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Silver Jubilee Park in Jalan Kumbang Pasang.

“Interests have been expressed and we have received positive response from the developer featuring the idea of providing food court and mixed development (apartments and business premises). The next process is a request for proposal which will be issued in the near future.”

The minister hoped that the new infrastructure will draw in both local and international investors to further advance the government’s assets along with other areas that can be developed.

In enhancing the country’s productivity, the MoHA looks to strengthen mukim and village institutions including speeding up the selection process for Mukim penghulu and village heads by introducing the E-Undi (e-voting) system, which is currently in the final phase of design.

“With such app, it could ease the registration process for villagers to be eligible voters in electing penghulus and village heads. There are currently 30-50 per cent of vacancies for the position this year,” the minister said.

Towards the effort in maintaining public safety and well-being, the Immigration and National Registration System (INRS) and National Labour Management System (NLMS) by the Immigration and National Registration Department (INRD) and Labour Department will be available this year, the minister shared.

It is hoped that with such a system, public services in facilities such as the registration for identification card (IC), passport, birth and death certificates, and bio-metrics at the control posts can be improved.

The system will also facilitate the process of visa and work pass issuances as well as matters pertaining to foreign workers in the country.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar also stressed the system could address the issue of granting entry to foreign workers and stub power abuse among irresponsible parties.

In terms of emergency response, the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) and the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) will always involve the community in their outreach programmes, which shows their initiative in inculcating a culture of readiness and preparedness.

As of December 2020, 21,108 people had participated in public awareness programmes conducted by FRD. Up until January 2020, FRD had joined 101 community services where fire was contained before fire and rescue personnel arrived. Meanwhile, 1,164 people have participated in training programmes such as Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) and School-Based Disaster Risk Management (SBDRM).

The Prisons Department also plays a significant role in assisting inmates in achieving competency and improve employability by training them in handicrafts-making, carpentry, sewing, culinary, agriculture and maintenance of vehicles.

The minister said the One Village One Product (1K1P) initiative has made significant impact on the country’s economy. Last year, revenue obtained from 1K1P was BND523,285, showing a decrease of 34 per cent due to less activities held due to the COVID-19 outbreak.