His Majesty the Sultan’s titah. His Majesty shared that for over a year, Brunei Darussalam was safe and free of infections. We have no neglected to be grateful to Allah the Almighty for this blessings as we are aware that nothing will take place without His consent and will. However, on August 2021, we were caught off guard by local transmissions involving seven individuals and the following days, the numbers came rising.
His Majesty said that no misfortune will occur unless through committing sins, and it will not subside unless we seek forgiveness from Allah the Almighty and repent for their sins.
“If we wash our hands with water or sanitiser, we should wash our sins by seeking forgiveness and repentance.”
“We, as a people of faith, still hope that Allah the Almighty will grant our prayers and good deeds to cleanse Brunei from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Vaccination centers. Alhamdullilah, more centers are opening up, the latest being at Institute of Health Sciences at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam. This was publicly announced yesterday at the press conference. This is welcoming news as the demand for vaccines have surged after the second wave hit Brunei hard. It was also made public that Brunei received 100,000 doses of Moderna vaccine which was donated by the government of the Republic of Singapore. The contribution by Singapore reflects the special relations with Brunei Darussalam and their continued support in fight against the virus.
Almost 70% of the population in Singapore are vaccinated and this is what Brunei wants to achieve before year end. So far almost 40% of Brunei has at least 1 dose of the vaccination while only less than 15% are fully vaccinated. So insyaAllah by year end, we can reach 70% and that’s also waiting for the arrival of the few hundred thousand doses of Pfizer to Brunei Darussalam which could be the by final quarter of 2021.
Cases still on the rise. There’s no determining on where the peak will be. It has been 10 days and the cases have subsided. Instead we have at least 20 clusters related to the positive cases with Chung Hua KB cluster being the highest followed by Champion 7 cluster.
Yang Berhormat Dato Dr. Isham Jaafar, Minister of Health, shared that they will need at least one week of data from the BruHealth to study the pattern and see how they can better prepare to handle the current situation. I do hope the investment of the BruHealth app pays off in learning such trends. It is still a great app, nonetheless, especially with the implementation of the your BruHIMS record and also the effectiveness of the BruHealth if you keep your bluetooth activated at all times.
Digital Quarantine Order. Now this is a very new thing for all those residing in Brunei Darussalam and quite a few will still be clueless or unsure (I can’t blame them). The first day of the launch of the Digital Quarantine Order was a few glitches where some users where given the QO on their BruHealth without any context since he or she wasn’t even a primary or secondary contact with a +ve patient. It seemed to be resolved and stable as we speak but there are still a handful of people unsure the mechanism or instructions required once they received an QO on his or her app.
Basically once you receive the QO, you are required to undergo self-isolation at your said address. The app also features a tracking of your whereabouts (bluetooth must be activated) and you can also request for food deliveries. Because of the tracing feature, should the person with an QO violate by straying more than 100 metres from their home, the tracker will notify the relevant authorities. Such offenders can be fined BND 5,000 or even be prosecuted in Court and fine up to BND 10,000. So yea, this is considered a serious matter indeed should one breach the Quarantine Order. Now I wonder if anyone has breached the QO.
So peeps, it’s important to get keep using your BruHealth app now with the second wave kicking us even harder. We have been slacking indeed when using the BruHealth app and taking for granted of our situation. I am also guilty of it sometimes for not scanning the QR Code when entering a premise. I believe that if the majority had been very discipline in using the QR code for the past few months, it would have help the contact tracing even easier when the second wave hit. We are just one or two steps behind and I do hope we are able to contain the spread. If we could just turn back time….
Endemic stage. This was a question I raised during the Press Conference (15/8/2021). When replied, Yang Berhormat Dato said, “We have to live with. It’s in the population just like H1N1.” So it’s important for the country to be fully immunized or the aim is for Brunei Darussalam to reach 70% for vaccination. He aims to reach a pace of 10,000 vaccination per day once the new stock of vaccines arrive within this week.
It will be good news for Brunei if we treat the situation as endemic rather than pandemic so we can get on with our “new normal” life. I assume there will still be mandatory to wear mask but it will be less worrying once we reached herd immunity and protecting the community. Business will hopefully run as normal and it will help to kick start the economy back into first gear.
Lacking manpower. This is the true test of time for Brunei Darussalam. The thought of the existing National Isolation Centre was already considered a privileged and always on standby should any cases sprout out. Little did we know the community spread has exhausted the capacity at the National Isolation Centre, the logistics at the vaccination centers and even the hotline at 148. There’s also shortage of resources for transportation of the positive cases who were supposedly to be transported to the National Isolation Centre. Even the Ministry of Health needs more manpower in the “red zone” area which majority of the volunteer isn’t taking any risk which is understandable.
I’m sure by the second or hopefully by the third week, everything will be in order and the cases will just keep appearing every now and then until we can contain the spread. The related government agencies are on top of things to strategize on how to run the operations at a smooth manner. The 2nd wave have really caught us off guard and no one could have predicted the high number of infection that has taken Brunei by storm. Other countries are already experience 3rd or 4th wave of infection. We have enjoyed far too long (15-month) and it was a matter of time before the bubble burst.
Currently, according to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, we have quite a number of volunteers who signed up to help as Ministry of Health needed all the help they can. Already around 4,000 registered under the Youth Volunteer Group as of August 20 and since the second wave, a total of 400 youth has signed up. Though 400 are active and on duty at designated locations, they still need more volunteers.
The volunteers also have transported food ration to the 840 homes that are under Quarantine Order to accommodate more than 5,000 individuals. Volunteers can sign up through www.sukarelawanbelia.com or through the Mengalinga App or their hotline 891 3762.
Contacting 148. It’s good to know that the hotline number 148 has increased in manpower, from 7 people to 20 people, but the number of call-ins is still considered very high (in the region of 600 calls or more daily). Even their whatsapp/telegram line 730095 is too overwhelming with thousands of messages to go through. Hence Ministry of Health are still looking for volunteers to help with the hotline segment.
It’s also known that the Brunei Red Crescent is also assisting the 148 hotline and you can contact the following numbers – 826 0420, 826 0320, 826 0360, 826 0370 and 826 0390 from 8am to 8pm.
Or you can also contact Talian Darussalam 123 or whatsapp them at 833 3123 or you can email them at email@example.com
Come to think of it, I feel that I am also playing a role of “148” as I do share information to those who are seeking for answers and I will answer accordingly with the knowledge being shared by the Ministry of Health. So can you imagine those behind the line, constantly dedicating their time to answer any queries. This takes a lot of mental strength as they will have to deal with different types of personalities. So please, do have compassion for them and they are just humans and doing to the best of their capabilities with the resources given. Just have to be patient. Even a friend of mine made 192 calls to 148 before she successfully got hold of a person for her vaccination slot. So keep trying and don’t give up 😀
A tip: Try to call before midnight or after midnight. Chances getting through is higher indeed. Good luck and thank you for your understanding.
New clusters: It’s time to pull our socks up. Preach what we say and not for the sake of saying it. Our habits must be re-programmed once again to be more vigilant and be more alert. Every single move or step, if miscalculated, can be catastrophic. It’s the time to be “gagah” as quoted by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham bin Hj Jaafar, the Minister of Health.
Yesterday was no surprise to see the numbers increasing from Day 1 of the second wave and on upward trend. Day 1 saw 7 local cases, Day 2 saw 15 local cases and Day 3 (yesterday) hit a high 38 local cases.
KB Chung Hwa cluster is the highest with 29 positive patients and this cluster has yet to show signs of decreasing in numbers as the swab tests are still waiting for results. The KB Chung Hwa cluster is related to a 16 year old boy (case 363). A new cluster, ABCi, is also being identified where there are 5 cases while cluster Total has 4 new cases. The Starlodge cluster has no new cases. The #362 case has yet to identify the source of the infection and still undergoing investigation.
The vaccination and swab centres are overwhelmed ever since the second wave. The Ministry of Health needed more man power and especially the volunteers to once again help to ease the logistic nightmare that was quite apparent such as longer queues with limited social distancing. Last night, private securities have been deployed to help with the queue system and ushering at the populated centres and clinics. So that’s an improvement. But MOH will definitely need more help from the volunteers to help with the overwhelming numbers present at the respective centres.
Now there are newer tighter control measures:
- Any mass/social gathering is not allowed
- 15 pax allowed for funeral arrangements
- 5 pax for “Akad Nikah” ceremony
- For elderly parents living separately from other family members, only 2 family members are allowed to visit the parents at a time
- You can hike or jog individually or in 2s if they happen to live in the same household
- All officers and staff (government and private sector) are required to Work-From-Home (WFH). Only essential staff are allowed to work in their physical space.
- Front-liners (health sector, security sector, hospitality sector, transportation sector)
- Daily necessities sector (food, retail business)
- Facilities and utilities sector (electricity, water, telecommunications)
- Officers at the border and entrances to Brunei Darussalam
- Oil and gas and downstream sectors
- Development sectors
- Agri-food and forestry sectors
- Leaving your home without any significant purpose is not allowed
- Only two people from one family are allowed to buy daily necessities
Price of Masks: This is quite subjective. Not many are aware on the different prices of masks. Let’s put it this way. If you go visit a fabric shop like YMRM Galleria, you will see the same colour of kain baju melayu at different sections. But… but… you will notice the prices are different from each other because of the quality. Same goes for masks.
I know there was one particular brand that was stocked up by Hua Ho what was priced at $120 per box. Then again, Yang Berhormat Dato Isham said that this particular mask was legit and perhaps one of the highest grade quality mask because it’s N95. That price alone is considered reasonable for N95 standard. Whereas the rest of the masks in the market are of different qualities.
Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Amin Liw bin Abdullah, the Second Minister of Finance and Economy addressed that there won’t be a shortage of masks in Brunei. Even so, there is no shortages of mask regionally and we are able to import should we are running low on stocks. The same can be said for hand santizers.
But I do hear reports that some shops deliberately hike up their masks prior to the second wave announcement. For this, it is considered unacceptable practice. If you know of any, you can forward that to me and I can get the relevant agency to deal with them.
Stay Home: Once again, I would like to advice everyone to stay home, stay calm and stay safe. Don’t forget to wear your mask if you’re out and about!! Let’s hope for the curve to subside. We can do this 😀
It feels surreal. That’s the only word to describe. I have always remained optimistic on the situation in Brunei Darussalam. So many praises (and some envies) from my neighbouring friends on how we are living our lives on a normal basis – no masks, little attention to social distancing, mass gatherings, crowded malls etc. Basically we are enjoying in our own majestic bubble. It came to a point that I sometimes feel that we are invincible to the pandemic.
After more than 15 months of being free from local transmission, 7 new local cases were reported yesterday. The first five, Case 340 to Case 344, were linked to a hotel used for quarantine purposes. It was known that the 5 cases had no travel history in recent months and there is a likelihood this particular cluster has been exposed to one of the imported case recently.
Now here is where it got me curious. The other cases (case 345 & case 346) are isolated local cases and the source of the infection has yet to be identified and still under investigation. One is believed to be from a school and the other one from a district. Once the Ministry of Health have the correct information, they will definitely share accordingly.
According to Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dj Hj Mohd Isham bin Hj Jaafar, there is a possibility that there was a breach of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which led to the new local transmissions.
With the new local transmissions and 3 new clusters, with the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, there will be control measures for the next two weeks to combat the local transmissions. These measures are something we were already accustomed to back in 2020.
Here are the following control measures :
- Mass gatherings are capped at 30 pax.
- Mosques, suraus, and places of worship to be closed.
- Online learning will commenced for schools, other educational institutions, tuition classes, music classes and special needs classes
- Restaurants will be limited to takeaway and delivery, with no dine-in allowed.
- Recreational centres including gyms, cinemas, internet cafés, playgrounds, leisure centres, museums and galleries to be closed.
- Beauty salons and barber shops to be closed.
- Businesses have been urged to implement a work-from-home policy (business continuity plan), allowing only essential workers on physical premises.
- Masks are now mandatory and to be worn indoor at public places and also outdoor
Attending the press conference yesterday was already surreal. It was like waiting to sit for my final exams and not knowing which questions will popped up. I was running numbers in my head. Will it be 2 new cases, 5 new cases? I was just feeling anxious as everyone else. Even the false information of the poster was circulated around to stir more unnecessary drama.
All I can say is I just felt overwhelmed with the unverified and verified information yesterday. Last time, it took a toll on me and I wasn’t in a good shape, mentally, emotionally and physically. The new wave have taught me something and this time, I feel that I am able to handle the pressure once again as a source of information to the public.
It’s beyond our control that the re-instated control measures have already disrupted wedding functions, running/sporting events, expos and many more. Even my upcoming B3 Doubles Tennis Invitational Charity Cup 2021 is put on hold until further notice. With all these setbacks, the highest priority is the safety and health of our nation and nothing is bigger than this. I do hope those affected can understand the latest development and we should be very blessed and appreciative on how the Brunei Government especially the Ministry of Health have been championing this cause to combat the spread since Day 1.
I have been getting reports from witnesses that the people are still visible at crowded places and some are not even wearing masks or adhering to the SOPs. Then again, this latest development was just less than a day old so let’s hope the business retailers step up their game and enforce the SOPs accordingly for the safety of the public. I believe the Ministry of Health will carry out “Operasi Merati” on business premises and take stern actions to those who don’t comply to the SOPs set by the Ministry of Health. It’s also being shared that the Royal Brunei Police Force are also monitoring in public places and setting up road blocks to remind people to wear masks.
I urged all my friends and families to stay home for now or if you do go out to adhere to the SOPs from the Ministry of Health. I alone cannot fight this but with all of us, with the same vision, we can fight the spread and save the nation.
It has been a while since we saw a launch of a car under the Volkswagen umbrella. As I was given at the heads up, I was kinda excited what Maju Motors have in store for the sneaks of the much awaited Volkswagen T-Cross.
Needless to say, I was quite impressed by its looks and its features. Though it has been around for almost two years, it only made to Brunei waters this year. The final reveal to the public was held last week at The Mall where the launch was officiated by Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Ratna Wijaya Brigadier General (R) Pengiran Haji Hasnan, Chairman of Maju Motors Sdn Bhd and Pg Hj Rosli bin Pg Hj Daud, Head of Sales Division, Baiduri Finance Berhad. Also present was Chan Key Hong, the Managing Director of Maju Motors Sdn Bhd.
What to love about T-Cross (from my point of view)
- Striking exterior
- Surprisingly spacious interior
- Compact SUV
- 1.0L turbo
- Fuel efficient
- CarPlay enabled
- “Beats” premium sound system
- Practical family car
- Love the boxy feeling
- It uses USB-C ports
As for other specs, it is 1.0L TSI engine producing a 115 hp and 200 Nm of torque with an improved 7 speed DSG for a smooth and safe driving experience. It has integrated LED headlight and daylight running light. It sports a 17” rim wheels. Park Assist with Park Distance Control & Rear-view camera system. It is also equipped with 6 airbags
Well, it has been reviewed by a few car websites that the T-Cross is a good driving experience and even well-mannered at cruising speed. I shall wait for the test drive unit and give a further in-depth review of the Volkswagen T-Cross.
You can contact or visit Maju Motors showroom at Telanai. It’s a pity that they won’t bring many units due to limited production. There will be shipments regularly to cater to the demand.
The Sonax Cup by Brunei Darussalam Golf Association (BDGA) was completed last Sunday. The tournament ran for three days from Friday 19/3/2021 and a total of 244 golfers participated in the competition in various categories namely: the open (gross and net), senior and ladies. The total cash prizes for this event was $4450 and the list of winners is as attached, including the champion in the gross open category which went to Suhaimi Ibrahim who shot 71 gross, one under par. Suhaimi Ibrahim also received the Sonax Challenge Trophy presented by Mr. Mike Chua, the Managing Director of Sonax Brunei Sdn. Bhd. The tournament took place at Mentiri Golf Club.
There was also a hole-in-one winner, Lim Shen Quan, on hole 13th, and he won the $5000 cash prize.
This was the first BDGA golf tournament at the national level for the year 2021, with next one planned for 28 to 30 of May at the RBGCC. This tournament was a great success with participation of more than 200 golfers. BDGA thanked Sonax Brunei Sdn. Bhd., the tournament main sponsor, and expressed the hope that its partnership with Sonax Brunei Sdn. Bhd. would continue to grow.
BDGA also gave $1000 donation to “Tabung Anak Anak Yatim” (Orphans Fund) and the representative from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ms. Nurul Nazurah bte Jaya, was present to receive the sponsorship.
Since the new BDGA Governing Council was elected back since 5th January this year, it received feedbacks from golfers in Brunei that the most sought after deliverable is golf tournaments. Hence, BDGA decided to organize the first tournament (Sonax Cup) and a few more planned for this year. This will help to provide a competitive platform at the national level for golfers to showcase their skills. In the process, it was hoped that scout for new golfing talents could be spotted and to be further developed to represent the country in the near future. Images courtesy of Pg Azam Omar and Shahiruddin.
Suhaimi Ibrahim 71
Ak Syakir 74
Ahmad Yani 75
Angphula Sharpa 67 OCB
Chong Chee Soon 67
Ak Rizam Faizal Pg Salleh 67
A – Division Category:
Kahar Bakar 70
Irwan Hj Hamid 71 OCB
Pg Zaki 71
B – Division Category:
Hj Rosmadee 69
Dullah Sitai 70
Hj Ramlie Damit 71
C – Division Category:
Mardhini Khan Ali 70
Ariff Dato Suhaimi 70
Pg Ibrahim 70
Senior +60 Category:
Lim Soon Bee 65
Hj Zamri 68
Dato Sheik Adnan 68
Almas Khamis 74
Salyahrinah Yahya 75
Hjh Rusni Hj Lamat 76
Pro – Category:
Pg Wira Salleh 72 OCB
Qazzri Aslimon 72
Qawim Aslimon 73
Hole in One on Hole no.13 on Friday 19/3/21: LIM SHEN QUAN
Nearest to the Pin (NTP)
NTP No.7 Hj Shaiful
NTP No.9 Suhaimi
NTP No.13 Pro John
NTP No.16 Pg Ibrahim
NAUTICAL AISYA has recently completed her 5-year dry docking maintenance in Singapore and has returned to Brunei to continue her campaign for Brunei Shell Petroleum by 1st February 2021.
A Doa Selamat ceremony commemorated the milestone for Jisco Marine for achieving 1 Million Manhours without loss time injury since 2017. This milestone is an accomplishment for the company, especially their team members for their outstanding contribution, dedication and efforts in upholding the highest standards in maintaining safety.
Following that, Jisco Marine will continue with the deployment of our 2nd Bruneian flag vessel – MWV FALGOUT, to service a long-term charter with Brunei Shell Petroleum Company for its Offshore Reliability Maintenance Contract (ORMC) project. The charter will commence sometime in mid-February 2021.
MWV FALGOUT is a Dynamic Position 2 offshore maintenance vessel and will be one of the first hybrid diesel-powered engined vessel working in Brunei waters. She is equipped with a 70 metric tonne crane and will be able to accommodate up to 200 persons onboard.
Present was Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Second Minister of Defence. Shaikh Khalid bin Shaikh Haji Ahmad, Chairman and Director Serikandi Group of Companies in his speech explained that Nautical Aisya, Accommodation Work Boat, AWB measuring at 85 metres, is in contract under the Marine Department, Brunei Shell Petroleum, BSP since 2018. It holds a good safety and trustworthiness record, and has also received an appreciation for being BSP’s best ship in 2019.
The function followed by momento presentation to the Second Minister of Defence and Award Presentation to best local crew of the year 2020.
For updates, you can follow their Facebook page and congratulations once again on the milestone and your upcoming contract with BSP.
In 2020, the brand with the three-pointed star increased its unit sales by 12% and taking the top spot for the luxury automobile segment in Brunei.
More than half of the Mercedes-Benz sold by Jati Transport in 2020 were compact cars, with CLA being the best-selling model in this segment followed closely by the A-Class. With the introduction of the all-new GLA and GLB in the third quarter of last year, the growth within the compact cars segment is expected to continue.
In the performance automobile segment, the company delivered more than 50 units of Mercedes-AMG to customers in 2020, setting a new record and making Mercedes-AMG the number 1 performance automobile brand in Brunei. The growth was mainly due to the increased in demand for the AMG 35 and 45 model series.
The number 1 position in the premium luxury automobile brand was a result of the strong support of their valued customers and the great teamwork of their dedicated staff. Jati Transport took the opportunity to honour their top sales executives and long service employees at the Star Performer Awards ceremony.
The Top Sales Awards were presented by the Executive Chairman of Jati Transport – Yang Mulia Pg Anak Haji Ja’afar Ibni Al-Marhum Pg Pemancha Pg Anak Hj Mohd Alam.
The long service awards were presented by Mr. Andrew Chiam, Executive Director of Jati Transport.
Top Sales Awards
- Top Sales Overall Winner – HAJI MOHAMED FITZILA BIN HAJI MOHAMED YUNUS
- Top Sales Overall Runner Up – LUQMAN HAKIM BIN ABDULLAH
- Top Sales (Mercedes-AMG) – IVAN CHIA IK VOON
- Top Sales (Mercedes G-Class) – CHIEW YAN YAN
Long Service Awards
- 30 years – PG HJ SALLEHUDDIN PG BATARA
- 30 years – STEVEN CHONG MENG WATT
- 30 years – ZAIKIAH HJ ABDULLAH
- 20 years – LAW SIEW LANE (ANGELLA)
- 10 years – JERONIMO G CASTRO
Jati Transport Sdn Bhd is hosting a three days new year open house celebration at Mercedes-Benz Autohaus from 10am to 5pm this weekend (8th January to 10th January) inviting their customers and fans of Mercedes-Benz Brunei.
Apart from the celebration, Jati Transport introduces their latest offers on the Mercedes-Benz S 450L, E 300 and C 300.
The S 450L comes with numerous assistance system that keeps you safe on the road at all time. DISTRONIC Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of curves or junctions. This is complemented by Evasive Steering Assist, a considerably improved Active Lane Keeping Assist and also the additional functions of the Active Emergency Stop Assist. Also included in the Driving Assistance package is PRESAFE PLUS®, which additionally takes into account dangerous situations caused by traffic following behind, such as a rear impact for example.
The interior of the S-Class sets new standards when it comes to comfort and well-being. The extended ambient lighting showcases the interior like a work of art by composing 10 colour worlds from a total of 64 colours.
The E 300 is available in two equipment line, the AMG Line and AVANTGARDE. The AMG line is distinguished by its brawny AMG bodystyling that enhances the sportiness and sophistication of the vehicle. It carries the modern luxury hallmark and exclusivity made possible through Mercedes-Benz craftsmanship.
While the AVANTGARDE line demonstrates your extravagant leanings. The distinctive front bumper immediately attracts attention, while design elements in chrome and aluminium add dynamic highlights.
The interior of the E 300 embodies the synthesis of emotion and intelligence. It includes two brilliant next-generation high resolution displays. Beneath their shared glass cover, the two displays visually conflate into a wide-screen cockpit that seems to be hovering in thin air, creating a central element that emphasises the horizontal orientation of the interior design. As the instrument cluster, this wide-screen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the centre console. The driver can choose between three different styles to select their preferred look for the wide-screen instrument cluster: “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”. As the entire cockpit is fully digital, the driver is free to configure the information and views and thus create their own personal cockpit.
The C 300 combines emotionality with intelligence. The vehicle’s appearance is defined in particular by its front end and the design of the headlamps and tail lights. The C 300 comes with the AMG Line that features the diamond radiator grille as standard.
The C 300 adopts the control and display concept from the SClass and comes with a fully digital instrument display with three individually selectable display styles. It’s has the touch-sensitive controls in the steering wheel. The infotainment system can additionally be operated via the touchpad with controller in the centre console or by means of LINGUATRONIC voice control.
On Wednesday, 16th December 2020, “Brunei Darussalam from the Eyes of Foreign Diplomats and their Families” exhibition was officially launched by Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna binti Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, the Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the Royal Regalia Museum in the Capital.
Upon arrival, Her Royal Highness and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, were greeted by The Honourable Major General (Retired) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and the following heads of diplomatic missions who are also members of the exhibition organizing committee:
- His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashil Al-Maskari, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Sultanate of Oman.
- His Excellency Suat Akgun, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey.
- His Excellency Christian Ramage, Ambassador of the French Republic.
- Her Excellency Yoon Hyun Bong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea.
- His Excellency Christopher Montero, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines.
- Her Excellency Tiffany Anne McDonald, Australian High Commissioner.
The ceremony began with the recital of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa selamat led by Yang Dimuliakan Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Haji Awang Suhaili bin Haji Mohiddin.
In his welcoming remarks, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashil Al-Maskari, among other things expressed gratefulness to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam for consenting for the exhibition to be held at Royal Regalia Museum.
His Excellency the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, informed how the Diplomatic Corps was trying to organize the exhibition since the year 2018, by saying:
“The idea of setting up this exhibition was initiated on the year 2018 and ever since many attempts were made to bring it to fruition, until we realized that having an exhibition of such caliber requires combined efforts from many partners.
“Thus, the diplomatic corps thought to take on board two partners namely; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), who both played a vital role in ensuring this long-awaited event finally takes place”.
His Excellency the Dean then expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for generously consenting to transfer and organize the exhibition in other districts, while emphasizing that this notable gesture form the Ministry greatly contributed to the exhibition success and continuity.
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps also thanked Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) for sponsoring the event and reserved further praise for the participating diplomatic missions and the exhibition organizing committee.
Further enlivening the event was the screening of a short video showing selected photos on display at the exhibition.
Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna then consented to cut the ribbon to signify the launching of the photo exhibition that features rare glimpses of the surreal beauty and lifestyle of the Abode of Peace.
Prior to touring the exhibition Her Royal Highness was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Her Excellency Yoon Hyun Bong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea on behalf of the organizing committee.
Among those present were:
- The Honourable Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy.
- The Honourable Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.
The Honorable minister of Culture, Youth and Sports said at the sideline of the event:
“We are very pleased to have been closely involved with the Diplomatic Corps in Brunei Darussalam in organizing this extraordinary exhibition that displays for the first time, how foreign diplomats and their families see Brunei Darussalam through the camera lens. I was very impressed with the photos on display, demonstrating wonderful expressions inspired by the way foreign diplomats and members of their families view Brunei Darussalam– our people, our scenery and our culture.”
The Honorable minister of Culture, Youth and Sports also congratulated the exhibition organizing committee on its success by saying:
“Congratulations and thank you to all those who were involved in the project, especially His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Hashil Al Maskari, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and all members of the organizing committee”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mubashar H. Khokhar, the Managing Director and CEO of Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) said:
“As a bank that is Bruneian at Heart, we take great pride in supporting this exhibition. It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words; the photos on display today give us all a unique view into how foreign diplomats and their families have been welcomed and made to feel like a part of the community, and I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to view and enjoy this exhibition”.
Baiduri Bank and Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today for the secondment of up to fifteen RB employees to Baiduri Bank. The signing ceremony took place at Baiduri Community Space, Baiduri Bank Headquarters. Mr Ti Eng Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank signed the agreement for the Bank. Signing as witness was Ms Veronica Chong, Head of GroupHuman Resources and Administration of Baiduri Bank.
Signing for Royal Brunei Airlines was Captain Saiful Bahrin Awang Bahar, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Royal Brunei Airlines while Shaarill Fred Teo, Manager Performance and Engagement signed as witness.During his opening remarks, Mr Ti Eng Hui said, “We are proud to be the first bank in
Brunei to seal this secondment agreement with Royal Brunei Airlines. I believe both organisations will benefit greatly from this collaboration.”
He further elaborated that the secondees will be deployed to customer-service related roles for a six-month period. “I am confident that their knowledge, international airline industry training and award-winning customer service will add tremendous value to our continuous efforts in enhancing customer experience.”
He went on to state that both Baiduri Bank and RB are successful and established Brunei brands. “Our organisations have done well in our respective industries, achieving success on a number of fronts and are synonymous with innovation and customer service.”
According to Ms Veronica Chong, “The RB secondees will gain exposure to a different industry which offers unique challenges and development opportunities. They will undergo training specific to the banking industry, thereby broadening their skill sets, opening up more career opportunities in the near future.”
Captain Saiful Bahrin Awang Bahar said, “RB and Baiduri Bank are two strong and proud Bruneian brands with a strong track record in product innovation and service excellence. Through this momentous partnership, both RB and Baiduri Bank have established a commitment to venture into building and expanding the scope of our people through this secondment programme.”
“As one of the brands in Brunei well-known for our award-winning services, we have continuously encouraged the learning and training of our people to help them achieve an even higher standard for their personal and professional development. It is hoped that through this secondment, it will improve their proficiency and level of skills while broadening their knowledge in a new industry,” added RB’s Acting CEO.
Also present at the signing ceremony were management and staff from Baiduri Bank and Royal Brunei Airlines. An ‘open day’ for selection of the secondment candidates will be held at the RB Campus on Jalan Kustin in January 2021. The secondment of RB employees to the Bank will begin on 1 February 2021 until 1 August 2021.