Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid outlined the significant accomplishments made by the construction sector in Brunei Darussalam, most notably the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge, the longest sea bridge in Southeast Asia and the development of a petrochemical plant by Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd in the Sultanate.
He said this in his keynote speech at the inaugural China-ASEAN Ministerial Roundtable on Construction themed ‘Achieving Mutual Benefits and Win-Win Results through Opening-up and Cooperation, and Sharing the New Opportunities of ASEAN-China Cooperation in the Field of Construction’ on September 16 in Nanning, China.
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda also shared the numerous construction projects under the National Development Plan, the development of the Construction Industry Framework 2022-2035 by the Authority for Building Control and Construction Industry (ABCi) and inclusive design requirements through the Different Abilities Design Guideline, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He said the National Housing Scheme programme has allocated over 30,000 houses and land plots for citizens since 1984, and outlined the importance of embracing innovative technologies and environmental sustainability in public housing construction as well as exploring vertical housing solutions with the aim of optimising land resource utilisation while accommodating the rising demand for public housing.
The construction sector has played a pivotal role in propelling economic growth in the Sultanate, the minister said, ranking among the top contributors to the revenue by contributing BND 446.5 million of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022.
The ministerial roundtable was held in conjunction with the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and serves as a platform for ministers from ASEAN and China to share experiences and discuss collaboration of common interests, such as housing, building industry and urban-rural development.
Chaired by Chinese Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Ni Hong, the ministerial roundtable aimed to implement further the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, as well as to deepen the Belt and Road Initiative by enhancing China-ASEAN cooperation in housing and urban-rural development.
This is in line with the aspirations of the ASEAN-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the building of a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future to complement the realisation of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and support ASEAN community-building process and ASEAN as an epicentrum of growth.
According to the Ministry of Development (MoD), the China-ASEAN Ministerial Roundtable on Construction concluded with the adoption of the Nanning Initiative, which reflects the common aspiration of ministers from ASEAN member countries and China responsible for construction to enhance cooperation between the two countries in housing and urban-rural development.
Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to China Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Colonel (Rtd) Dato Paduka Haji Abdu’r Rahmani bin Dato Paduka Haji Basir, Permanent Secretary (Infrastructure, Housing and Professional) at the MoD Ir Haji Amer Hishamuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Zakaria and senior officials from the Public Works Department and the MoD were also present.
Prior to attending the China-ASEAN Ministerial Roundtable on Construction, Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda held a bilateral meeting with Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Lan Tianli, where the two sides discussed the potential expansion of economic and trade investment, industrial cooperation and people-to-people exchanges especially with the upgraded 3rd Brunei-Guangxi Economic Corridor memorandum of understanding signed in February 2023 as well as the International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
The minister also held a bilateral meeting with the Chinese minister to discuss opportunities to further deepen the bilateral relations by learning best practices and enhancing capacity in the construction of public housing. – James Kon