Over BND296 million proposed for MoRA budget

Izah Azahari

The Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) proposed a budget of BND296,827,263 for the financial year 2021-2022 to support the vision and mission of the ministry.

The proposed budget includes regular expenses and recurring expenses totaling BND262,975,280, and development expenditure totalling BND33,851,983, said Minister of Religious Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman on the eight day of the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

Under the regular and recurring expenses, BND220.9 million has been allocated for employee and staff salary, including BND165.8 million for salary.

Other related allocation include: Employees Trust Fund (TAP) contribution at BND7.55 million; Supplementary Contributory Pension (SCP) contribution at BND4.7 million; bonuses at BND17.2 million; special allowance at BND10.56 million; subsistence allowance at BND7.6 million; and other bonuses at BND17.2 million.

“With the ministry’s budget strategy, it will continue to give priority to performing its services to its target audience in a good, orderly and effective manner, as well as overcome the weaknesses found,” said the minister. “The ministry will focus on implementing the programmes prepared by all departments, divisions or units under it, although it will always be open to receiving criticism, and constructive suggestions in carrying out its duties and responsibilities as well as unexpected challenges.”

Minister of Religious Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

The minister also shared the status of mosque construction projects in a number of villages including in RPN Kampong Mengkubau and RPN Kampong Meragang that are in the process of evaluating tenders, while the mosque project for RPN Kampung Lugu’s programme work is being revised and is expected to open tender in May.

Meanwhile, the design concepts for the mosque construction projects for RPN Kampong Rimba and STKRJ Kampong Telisai have been prepared to be examined by the MoRA and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB).

Touching on the new Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) campus project, the minister said, the ministry is in the process of preparing documents for tender for site preparation work in Kampong Salambigar.

In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the Sultanate last year, which forced a new mode of learning for students nationwide, the minister said the results were encouraging for students studying in religious or Arabic schools taking Religious Education Primary School Certificate (SSSRU), Brunei Religious Education Certificate (SPUB) for secondary level and Brunei Religious Education of Higher Certificate (STPU) who are also taking general subjects despite the change in learning.

The 2020 public examination saw an increase of 9.74 per cent of students that achieved five ‘A’s in the Primary School Assessment (PSR), while the secondary ‘O’ Level examination noted a 10.05-per-cent increase in students achieving five ‘O’ levels and above, and a 4.25-per -cent increase in those with two ‘A’ levels and above.

The Zakat Fitrah collection service last year collected BND977,815.59 from 346,103 Zakat (al-muzakki) payers, a slight decrease compared to 2019’s BND980,254.22 with 347,208 payers.

The minister also highlighted the drive-through Zakat payment conducted by Ash-Shaliheen Mosque that collected BND44,261.62 last year compared to BND5,539.21
in 2019.

MoRA also posted 23 officers from the Department of Islamic Religious Council to carry out amil duties for three days in the main building of all ministries – except the Ministry of Defence – during which BND10,452.30 was collected.