Over BND600 million for Brunei’s defence spending

Aziz Idris

A BND610,170,920 provision was approved for the Ministry of Defence (MinDef) for the new fiscal year 2021-2022, aimed at defending Brunei’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintaining defence diplomacy and Brunei’s participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, said Minister of Defence II Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof during the fourth day of the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

The new budget is BND4.1 million more than the previous year, marking a 0.68-per-cent increase.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said the MinDef is also preparing to launch a new Defence White Paper in May 2021, in conjunction with Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) 60th Diamond Jubilee.

“It is high time to update the Defence White Paper – the last publication was in 2011 – especially with the current geopolitical and geostrategic shifts in the regional and global environments becoming more complex especially from traditional and non-traditional security threats,” he said.

The defence diplomacy approach, he said, “has enhanced regional security, creating an environment conducive to peace. The region in which we live is relatively stable, but the task at hand is to prepare for the future security environment, which can be difficult to predict.”

This is in line with the ASEAN Defence tagline ‘We Prepare’, as Brunei holds the chairmanship of the ASEAN this year, the Sultanate will also host the 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) which will be held virtually from June. The ADMM is ASEAN’s highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism and the minister believes the framework highlights the importance of coordination between national agencies to provide a holistic approach to defence.

Minister of Defence II Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof speaks at the 17th Legislative Council session. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR