Congratulations to the Sultanate of Oman for its 50th National Day which falls on the 18th November 2020. This year, the celebration of the Golden Jubilee will be a low key affair due to the global pandemic.
Interestingly enough, the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam have similarities. Both countries are ruled by a Sultan and the economy is dominated by oil. Oman and Brunei have also established 36 years of outstanding bilateral relation.
The Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam has also launched their instagram account @omanembassybrunei where they will share events relating to Oman in Brunei Darussalam. You can also follow His Excellency’s IG account @ahmed_maskari
Message from His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hashil Al Maskari, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam.
On the 18th of November, the Sultanate marks its 50th National Day anniversary. With firm resolve, Omani citizens continue to make more achievements under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, who vowed to upgrade the march of nation building and enhance the pace of progress, striking a high note in Omani people’s enthusiasm for an ambitious renaissance that covers all spheres of life.
Yet, this year’s celebration is impinged by sentiments of sour sorrow for the loss of the Father of the Omani renaissance, the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Bin Taimour, who shaped the Sultanate of Oman to what it is today, from scratch, his vigilant eye not missing a flaw in any side of the monument.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah with His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, the Sultan of Oman. This was taken back in 2014 when His Majesty Sultan Haitham, visited Brunei in his capacity as the Minister of Heritage and Culture of Oman.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with the former Sultan of Oman where the diplomatic relations began between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam. The first bilateral meeting took place back in 1984. This year marks the 36th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam
Another bilateral meeting that took place in the year 2009
On Oman & Brunei: 36 years of outstanding bilateral relation.
This year marks the 36th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam. The two sultanates established diplomatic ties on 24 March 1984 and, ever since, the bilateral relations have always enjoyed stable and steady development, and has attained remarkable achievements.
Over the past three and half decades, Oman and Brunei have concluded numerous cooperative agreements and Memorandums of Understanding which had strengthened closer cooperation in different fields.
The close relations are also evident by the fact that a Joint Working Group, known as the “Bilateral Consultative Meeting”, was established in (1993) to fortify bilateral relations.
Cultural cooperation is one of the strong dimensions of our bilateral relations. Last February 2020, the Sultanate of Oman participated in Brunei Book Fair, as it consistently did over the past eight years. On the other hand, delegations from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei have been sent on a regular basis over the past six years to participate in Muscat International Book Fair.
Other cultural cooperation includes Omani publication corners at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) in February 2016 and at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) library in May 2017 and at the Library of the Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) in July 2018 and at the Library of Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) in October 2019.
Additionally, in line with the Embassy’s efforts to make the most of the Bruneians admiration for Arabic language, a fifth batch consisting of four teachers from Brunei’s Ministry of Religious Affairs studied Arabic Language in the Sultan Qaboos College for Teaching Arabic Language to Non-Native Speakers, for duration of eight weeks during the year 2019, on a partial scholarship from the Government of the Sultanate of Oman.
Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) has successfully acquired 50 percent share of Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd (GC). An agreement signing ceremony in this regard was held at the premise of the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman.
The State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) have agreed to increase the capital of Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) by another USD100 million, bringing the total capital of the company to USD 200 million.
Defense cooperation is another dimension of Brunei-Oman bilateral relation that has also grown steadily over the past years. Both countries’ armed forces regularly participate in command and staff courses and other military events and trainings in Oman and Brunei. Two officers from the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces participated in the 12th Brunei International Skill-At-Arms Meet (12th BISAM) Technical Meeting which took place during the month of March 2020.
In the investment sector, Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) that was jointly established by our two governments on the year 2009, continued to make the most of business opportunities available in Oman and Brunei local markets, in order to further boost the two countries economic development and contribute to their economic diversification plans.
The State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) of the Sultanate of Oman, which is now known as the Omani Investment Authority (OIA) and Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) have agreed to increase the capital of Oman Brunei Investment Company (OBIC) by another USD100 million, bringing the total capital of the company to USD 200 million. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 19th Bilateral Consultative Meeting (BCM) between Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Oman’s Foreign Ministry, in Muscat on 09th December 2019.
Did you know that OBIC has 50% share of Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd? During the month of November 2019, OBIC has acquired (50%) share of Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd (GC), a company that specializes in fish farming, in addition to providing high-quality seafood products, based in Brunei Darussalam. This was OBIC first investment in Brunei.
The 1st Regional Arabic Language Camp in February 2020
Participation of the Sultanate of Oman Embassy in the Brunei Book Fair 2020
The biennial seminar, hosted alternately between Brunei and Oman, was established as a platform to share best practices in areas of mutual interest between both countries and to foster joint opportunities, as well as to enhance understanding of the business and investment environments in both countries, especially in industry sectors.
This relationship is further fortified with the exchange of professionals through the staff cross-posting between Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd and Petroleum Development Oman, as well as Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd and Oman Liquefied Natural Gas LLC (Oman LNG) an arrangement which has been ongoing for several years.
Therefore, it’s evident that relations between the two Sultanates have extended beyond the political spheres to include other important areas of cooperation and we firmly believe that with the joint efforts of both sides, more positive results will be yielded in Oman-Brunei good and beneficial cooperation.
We hope that the friendship and cooperation between the Sultanate of Oman and Brunei Darussalam will grow from strength to strength and we are confident that with the outstanding leadership of their Majesties Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Bin Taimour and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, the bonds of friendship between Oman and Brunei will be further cemented in the years ahead.
I had a short dialogue with His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hashil Al Maskari, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Brunei Darussalam prior to the Sultanate of Oman’s 50th National Day at the Sultanate of Oman Embassy recently. Thank you for your hospitality.
Celebrating Renewed Renaissance, Setting Further Milestones
The glory of the Sultanate of Oman blessed march towards renaissance and development is reflected in various areas of life across the country and it is witnessed by the progress achieved and still being made, while the citizens and the community enjoy sustainable development from the Governorate of Musandam in the north down to the Governorate of Dhofar in the south.
The capital city of Muscat
Al Sahwa Public Garden at Oman
The Special Economic Zone at Duqm is one of the worldwide renowned economic destinations with great potentials
As soon as he assumed power, in his first nation address, His Majesty Sultan Haitham reaffirmed the permanent stands of the Sultanate of Oman’s foreign policy, saying that the Sultanate advocates peaceful co-existence among nations, good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. His Majesty the Sultan also stressed that he would follow the footsteps of the late Sultan Qaboos Bin Said bin Taimour.
This stance was reaffirmed by the Sultanate’s Government last September in a speech delivered by Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al-Busaidi before the 75th general assembly of the United Nations. Sayyid Badr said, “His Majesty the Sultan has reaffirmed beyond any doubt that the Sultanate will continue the prudent policy set by the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Bin Taimour, Founder of Oman’s Modern Renaissance and architect of its foreign policy and its international relations over the past 50 years.”
It is worth noting that Omani foreign policy principles are derived from basics of Oman’s centuries-old civilization and original values of Omani society that indicate a sincere desire to promote humanity and moderation. As a result, the Sultanate is widely accepted as mediator in the international arena.
The Mercedes-Benz Actros
Stuttgart / Warsaw – The Mercedes-Benz Actros has already received numerous awards, including the prestigious “International Truck of the Year 2020” title – selected by a jury of expert international journalists. In a contest run by the specialist magazine “Polski Traker” in Poland, readers have now chosen the Mercedes-Benz flagship as the winner for the sixth time. This year’s contest was the first to be held online. It meant readers had the opportunity to post comments: they wrote that they were particularly fascinated by the modern assistance systems of the Actros. Particularly the young truck drivers expressed enthusiasm for the vehicle with its digital Multimedia Cockpit and MirrorCam instead of classic exterior mirrors. The best way to experience the innovations of the Actros is at first hand: there are 65 “SmartTrucks” ready at dealerships all over Poland waiting to be test driven.
With the host sponsor, BIBD, and other corporate sponsors – Progresif, Total E&P Borneo B.V., CIC Environmental Services and Brunei LNG as part of BIBD Youth Empowerment Summit 2020
BIBD’s Chief Marketing Officer Hjh Nurul Akmar binti Hj Mohd Jaafar during the press conference
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) recently announced the launch of the BIBD Youth Empowerment Summit (BIBD YES!), a youth-focused initiative which aims to inspire positive change by reminding the youth that they are never too young to make a difference.
Themed, It’s Your Turn, the hybrid summit will be held on 12th & 13th December at Jerudong International School. Over 30 schools received their scholarship certificates for the Summit at a press conference held at the BIBD Executive Lounge.
BIBD’s Chief Marketing Officer Hjh Nurul Akmar binti Hj Mohd Jaafar said, “The youth today faces an unprecedented challenge unlike any of the previous generations. However, they are also blessed with an unparalleled amount of resources at their fingertips and support from both the public sector and the private sector who are cheering them on, as reflected by the many corporate sponsors for this initiative. At BIBD, we take the leadership in this particular tough time to stand together with our future generation, to educate and equip them to be mentally ready for the challenges to come in the future.”. She added that BIBD YES! is part of BIBD’s initiative to help prepare the youth for a world of uncertainty and rapid changes, and to address the pressing issue of high youth unemployment in the nation.
BIBD YES! 2020 is departing from a traditional event format in favour of a hybrid model, in accordance with COVID-19 precautions and guidelines. According to the event organizer, Shaun Hoon, “BIBD YES! will be capping the attendance to to 350 delegates, which is half of the full capacity of the venue. However, we will be expecting a larger than ever participation, with over 20 schools locally and overseas hosting part of the programs at their respective schools through live-telecast.” This is the first time a hybrid conference of such scale is to take place in Brunei and represents a sign of things to come as the events industry adapts to the new normal.
BIBD YES! will feature international speakers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Hungary conducting live presentations online, along with prominent entrepreneurs and youth leaders in Brunei delivering keynote addresses physically. Among them will be Bruneian success story, Steve Lai, ChannelNews Asia’s leading Anchor and Producer. He will be dialing in on Zoom from Singapore to discuss about the importance of maintaining global perspectives amid a world of physical barriers.
This year, BIBD will be the leading supporter of the Summit as the Host Sponsor. Progresif will be the Platinum Sponsor. CIC Environmental Services and Total E&P Borneo B.V will be the Gold Sponsor, and Brunei LNG will be the Silver. The Summit is organized by Curious Mind, endorsed by Brunei Tourism Board, Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports and Ministry of Education, and supported by Young Entrepreneur Association Brunei, Global Shapers and Young Professional Network Brunei.
The Summit was originally slated for July this year, but had been delayed due to COVID19. During this time, BIBD YES! conducted a total of 20 Career Webinars over Zoom on a weekly basis reaching out to more than 1000 students and youths in Brunei, interviewing a wide range of career professionals, which include game designers, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs and actor. For recordings of theses webinars and full information about the Summit, visit www.BIBDyes.com.
Members of the audience witnessing the event
Hafiza Mohamad, Head of Brand Strategy, Progresif receiving token of appreciation from Shuan Hoon, the event organizer.
Madam Tan, Principal of St. Andrew’s School receiving scholarship entries for the BIBD YES from Javed Ahmad.
Insurans Islam TAIB also sponsoring students from Seri Mulia Serjana School to attend the event in December
Students from Universiti Teknologi Brunei receiving sponsorship from Daniel Wong
Harina Ramlee, Corporate Services Manager, Total E&P Borneo B.V., presenting scholarship for students from Sekolah Menengah Pg. Anak Puteri Hjh Rasidah
Mizan Adiliah Hj Mohamed Deli, Human Resources, Communications & External Relations Manager, Brunei LNG, sponsoring students from Politeknik Brunei
Denny Azriman from Takaful Brunei handing over sponsorship for students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam to attend the BIBD YES event
Shaun Hoon, the founder of the youth empowerment event
The 32nd Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s convocation
His Majesty Sultan dan Yang Di-Pertuan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, UBD’s Chancellor, gracing the 32nd UBD’s convocation yesterday
Congratulations to all the graduates of UBD 2020 and the event was held yesterday. The 32nd convocation kicked off the early morning with strict measures in place, following Covid-19 SOPs to ensure the safety of everyone. Graduates were required to undergo swab test and self-isolation before the graduation ceremony.
The 32nd UBD Convocation was graced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and during the titah, it highlighted Universiti Brunei Darussalam to step up its digital initiatives. The pandemic has definitely changed the landscape and it has spurred the adoption of technology in Brunei Darussalam. This initiative will be in-line with the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 where Brunei will head towards a Smart Nation, being a digitally, well ready economy with sustainable economy.
This year, a total of 1,182 graduates received their graduation certs. There are broken down to 40 PhD graduates, 265 master’s degree holders, 805 undergraduates, 65 graduate diploma and 7 diploma.
The afternoon session was graced by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince. Thank you to all the contributors of the photos of yesterday’s convocation. Very much appreciated.
Lee Ying Shi, a gold medalist winner in SEA Games 2013, one of the graduates of 32nd UBD Convo
Yati Kamis is now a Master Degree Holder. Congratulations.
Rahmat Tarsat also graduated in Masters of Teaching
Graduates from the 9th Command & Staff Course
Anisah Najihah, a bronze medalist in SEA Games 2019, also a graduate from UBD.
Graduates from Bachelor of Engineering
Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman, Minister of Religious Affair, launching Digital Sedekah at Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque
Representatives from the respective mosques collected the BIBD QuickPay QR code from the guest of honour
Members of the public will now be able to donate to individual mosques or to the Mosque Construction Fund via BIBD QuickPay. Powered by BIBD NEXGEN, BIBD QuickPay allows customers to make payments simply by scanning a QR code through the BIBD NEXGEN Wallet mobile app on their smartphones.
This latest initiative is part of BIBD’s drive to encourage customers to Go Cashless and Go Digital, bringing a digital twist to the concept of giving or ‘sedekah’. The BIBD QuickPay Service for Mosques, Suraus and Religious Halls Donation Fund and the Brunei Darussalam Mosque Construction Fund [Majlis Pelancaran Perkhidmatan QuickPay BIBD bagi Kewangan Tabung Masjid, Surau dan Balai Ibadat dan Tabung Dana bagi Pembinaan Masjid, Negara Brunei Darussalam] was launched by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman earlier today at the Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque.
Also present was BIBD’s Managing Director and CEO, Mubashar Khokhar, along with BIBD management and senior officers also attended the event. Speaking at the event, BIBD’s Managing Director and CEO, Mubashar Khokhar said “Brunei has over 500,000 mobile users, but there is still plenty of room for growth in terms of embracing the usage of digital payments.
One of BIBD’s priorities is to support the nation as we head into a cashless society. We are honoured to partner with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and are confident that this collaboration will serve as a great example to drive a cashless society.”
Through this latest initiative, members of the public can make donations without needing to carry physical cash. With just their smartphones, they can scan and donate ‘digitally’ using BIBD QuickPay; these donations will then be transferred directly to the respective mosque accounts, avoiding the risk of loose cash and theft.
Currently, 65 mosques, suraus and religious halls around the country will accept donations to their respective mosque funds via BIBD QuickPay. Additionally, members of the public can also contribute to the Brunei Darussalam Mosque Construction Fund. The fund was first established by the consent of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang DiPertuan of Brunei Darussalam in 2015.
It is hoped that the provision of BIBD QuickPay will make it easy for Muslims to donate and increase their good deeds and invest in the Hereafter.
May Cho, Marketing Executive of Indera Motors, announcing the “Season of Change” at Indera Motors Showroom recently
Kapra Coffee @kapracoffee was in the house for a coffee collaboration for customers
@belleskitchenbn was also there
First thing, Indera Motors is offering an Approved model promotion for Jaguar Land Rover which will end on October 31. Approved models are the pre-owned brands which have undergone stringent routine checks in making sure the cars are up to highest standard and quality. Those who purchased the Approved October Special promotion , he or she will be entitled for a choice of 1) BND 1,000 Cash Rebate Gift Bundle 2) an Aesthetic Gift bundle including JPD Approved Tinted Windows and Black Painted Rims or 3) an Accessory Gift Bundle with terms and conditions apply.
Secondly, there is the Season of Change Test Drive and Win Lucky Draw Promotion which ends on December 31. All you have to do is test drive any Jaguar Land Rover vehicle. Customers will be able to experience the feeling of driving a Jaguar or a Land Rover and they have sale consultants on stand-by to assist you with any queries.
So test drive from today till December 31 and you can stand a chance to win a Jaguar Heritage Watch, a Jab Gym 3-month membership, a Bang & Olufsen E8 True Wireless Ear Piece and Under Armour $50 Sports vouchers. The draw will be held on January 2021. So make a change this season and reward yourself.
The campaign kicked off Indera Motors hosting a coffee event a few weeks ago. They collaborated with Kapra Coffee, a specialty coffee roaster that sources only specialty grade coffees each season for the Coffee and Cars event. Also joining them was Belle’s Kitchen, providing delicious pastries.
The most popular segment in the premium SUV – the Mercedes Benz GLB 200
The awesome headlamp from Mercedes Benz GLB
And also the fact it is a 7 seater which is quite rare in most SUVs and this is very ideal as a family car and still carrying that premium feeling. Don’t be fooled by the letter “B” in GLB as it doesn’t mean that it’s way smaller than the GLCs in the market. It is, in fact, smaller but only by a few centimeter. So if you were to see it visually, you won’t feel that the Mercedes GLB is smaller than the other SUV models from the Mercedes line.
So the fact that it offers 7 seater, this is already a huge plus in the eyes of the customers. So hence, I’m not surprised by the popularity of the Mercedes Benz GLB in the Brunei market.
As for the performance, driving it for a few days, the Mercedes Benz GLB is a great ride though I yet to travel on long distances to experience the GLB to its fullest. The new GLB 200 places its trust in the four-cylinder petrol, with 1.3 litre power. This model has increaser power and improved efficiency and emissions. I have yet to try how powerful the GLB when I drive with a full load but that can be tested at another time.
The interior and the dashboard are something to shout about and this is already an expectation for customers when it comes to the Mercedes brand. Their infotainment is still the best and the aesthetics of the digital panel will give a good driving pleasure for the driver and passenger. Of course, the ambient lighting is already part of Mercedes Benz DNA and it gives the GLB a modern look.
As for body/leg space, this is a clear winner. There are plenty of front space and the leg room is very ideal for the front passengers. The furthest back seats (third row) might be the smallest space among the rows but still ideal for passengers alike. Owners of the Mercedes GLB will appreciate the flexibility when it comes to folding the seats. For instance, the third row seats can be easily stowed away and adjusted if necessary.
If you are really keen to test drive the Mercedes GLB, by all means, do contact Jati Transport and I hope there will be a suitable date for you when you happen to choose the GLB as your car-to-go. Drop by the Mercedes Autohaus and meet your salesman for a more in-depth review and knowledge on the popular Mercedes Benz GLB.
The front space of the Mercedes Benz GLB 200
The 3rd row seat, the feature of the 7 seater of the Mercedes Benz GLB 200
Haji Muhammad Yazid bin Dato Paduka Haji Mahadi, BIBD Securities Managing Director of BIBD Securities BIBD Securities addressing a keynote on BIBD Securities latest products at The Empire Hotel recently
Abegail Lo, Relationship Manager at BIBD Securities, delivered a short presentation to Islamic Financial Planning
With BIBD Securities, mutual fund is an investment that allows investors with similar investment goals and objectives to pool their money in a diversified portfolio.
BIBD Securities also provides a professional fund manager that will manage and trade the pooled money in securities such as stocks, Sukuk and money market instruments to match the fund’s investment objectives. BIBD aims to bring into the market investment products that are easier to understand for investors who may have limited knowledge or are foreign to investing.
A few weeks ago, members of the media had the privilege to attend the press conference on the launch of BIBD Securities’ latest product – Franklin Global Sukuk Fund and the Templeton Global Equity Fund. Not to worry as all the products from BIBD Securities are all Shariah-compliant. Last week, BIBD Securities officially launched their latest product with two events held at The Empire Hotel and V-Plaza Hotel respectively.
It’s the first time that BIBD Securities partnered with Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the top 20 mutual funds in the world, and also a global leader in asset management with over seven decades of experience.
YAM Pg Anak Wadood also attended the event
Congratulations BIBD Securities
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Haji Muhammad Yazid announced that the campaign will run until 30th December and he hopes this will also encourage the youth to participate in investing for their future. The best attraction, perhaps, is that you can be part of this investment by forking out as low as BND 100 to begin with on a monthly basis. Investing has been made more accessible and attractive.
The Franklin Global Sukuk Fund invests in a fund offering monthly dividend pay-out and access to a diversified portfolio of Sukuk securities issued by government, government-related and corporate entities in developed and developing countries.
The Templeton Global Equity Fund, on the other hand is an investment fund that offers long-term capital growth with access to a fully diversified Syariah-compliant global investment across various countries and sectors.
If you want to understand more, you can click on the link here to read more or do give BIBD Securities a visit at BIBD Kiulap, 1st Floor, next to Perdana.
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Yang Berhormat Dato Minister of Education also in attendance
Managing Director of BIBD with former Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
Deputy Permanent Secretary of Energy was also present
With the Ministers and media representatives after a press conference at the Ministry of Health
Yang Berhormat Minister of Health replied to my question on why PCs are important. YB Dato shared that this source of medium is able to keep the public well equipped with the right information and also it will help to dispel any rumours (quite common in Brunei) that can create unnecessary panic among the public. Come 8 months, I can see the positive impact on the press conferences and also a huge thanks to the other media agencies that has helped in sharing vital and true information for the public to digest.
Of course, being invited to be one of the media personnel, is a privileged. It also has its drawback, well, for my case. It’s more about my responsibility as a netizen to be consistent and constantly educating my readers on what has been shared officially. There is no room for second guessing or speculation per se. Whatever I share to my friends and readers, the information must be verified and true. If possible, I will just share my thoughts based on the facts presented from the MOH and that’s how far I will go.
I do feel bad in not replying some of the questions put forward but there were just overwhelming and it was a one man show. I felt like the Yellow Pages, or in this era, the Google, for Brunei related covid updates. The hardest part was putting a calm, collected face when being confronted by strangers who sought for information. Yes, I was criticized at times for the questions I raised during PCs. Simple questions, silly questions, good questions, and there will be never be any satisfaction.
Now, I am gonna just share what goes behind the scene during the Press Conferences and this is from my point of view.
Firstly, if you were to dig my brain, here is an insight on how I approach in providing questions and honestly, this is no easy feat and if you’re in my position, you will understand. The questions are mostly collected and written down on my notepad. I will screen them first and you will be surprised some of the questions you thought may be silly to you but it’s very relevant and important at the same time for the public to know. There are times I rather not asked these particular questions but because there is a huge demand (based on messages from the public), the PCs become the best platform to answer even how obvious or silly the questions can be. To my experience, this strategy somehow worked. This is also beneficial from the relevant ministries especially the MOH in giving factual information that are sometimes not included in the press statement by the respective ministers and press releases. The additional and impromptu questions did add more weight and gives the public more assurance. Because of the nature of the Q&A session, the public kind labeled it as a mini-Legco session.
Secondly, the answers from the respective Ministers feels like “gazetted” (if I were put it that way) which means that it is quoted by the Ministers and hence, the information is verified to the satisfaction of the public. The print media has also played an important role too as the readers will also read verified information and quotes from the Ministers and it will remain as a fact. So rather than myself giving what information I gather, the articles posted by Borneo Bulletin, Media Permata, Pelita Brunei, The Scoop, The Bruneian and other media agencies, will solidify the facts and people will be more confident rather than hearing or believing speculations. We as the media representatives can be easily judged by the public on the questions that are put forward but the questions themselves need to be asked and very relevant especially in the first few months of the outbreak in Brunei.
Thirdly, the questions now are now usually vetted which means the questions will be screened an hour before the press conferences. Some people may get the wrong idea but there are reasons questions need to be vetted. One obvious thing that I can pick is asking the relevant questions to the relevant ministries. There were times questions put forward didn’t involve the respective ministry and it will be put YBs in a difficult situation and it won’t look favourable should the Minister deflect the question. There were times when the media personnel was asking a question that has already been answered during the press statement. This also shows the complacency that we play a part that we weren’t basically listening or perhaps didn’t understand what was being addressed at the time.
Now that being said, I know the questions that we asked have been “questioned” by the public and some media representatives including myself, have been bashed. But I do hope you do have the compassion and understand deeper on the things that we have to go through and cater to the public to ensure we present the right facts and information. Sometimes those silly questions whether you know it or not, do have an impact on people’s assurances. I remember asking YB Dato Minister of Health on predicting the tipping curve. Some appreciated I asked the question, some didn’t. Well, honestly, I have been watching BBC, Astro News, CNN, and this was a common question asked by the media and I thought this would be an interesting question as an indicator.
On that note, I do want to convey my apologies to those I haven’t replied (just too many) on their questions and also for my lack of professionalism as a source of media, if any, during press conferences. I am not a certified journalist to begin with and I am doing a huge favour for the MOH and they are truly appreciative how much I have contributed. I have learnt a lot by just being part of the media team and it has been a rewarding journey. I will do my best to improve and I appreciate all the comments (positive and negative).
Huge thanks to the Ministry of Health in appointing my services and this shows a level of trust and reliability in disseminating the right information to the eyes and ears of the public. It also create good rapport with the Ministers and the people behind the scene. I wish to share more. Perhaps I can leave that for another time.
This is Rano, signing out and till next time 😀