Posts Tagged ‘brunei’
In today’s titah by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on RTB at 2:30pm, 30th January 2018 was the announcement of new ministers and deputy ministers for the cabinet of the Brunei Government.
• His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
• His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince as the Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office
• Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Di-Raja Dato Laila Utama Hj Awang Isa Pehin Datu Perdana Manteri Dato Laila Utama Hj Awang Ibrahim as the Special Advisor to His Majesty and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (new)
• Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Hj Awang Abu Bakar Hj Apong as Minister of Home Affairs (remains)
• Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Othman as Minister of Religious Affairs (remains)
• Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong as Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism (remains)
• Pehin Datu Laila Raja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Hj Halbi Hj Mohd. Yussof as Second Minister of Defence (new, previously Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports)
• Dato Paduka Dr Hj Md Isham Jaafar as Minister of Health (remains)
• Dato Seri Paduka Awang Hj Abdul Mokti Hj Mohd Daud as Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (new)
• Dato Seri Paduka Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah as Second Minister of Finance (new)
• Dato Paduka Hj Erywan Pehin Dato Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof as Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (new)
• Dato Seri Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar as Minister of Development (new)
• Dato Paduka Dr Awang Hj Mat Suny Hj Mohd Hussein as Minister of Energy and Industry (new)
• Dato Paduka Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman as Minister of Education (new)
• Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof as Minister of Communications (new)
• Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (new)
• Pengiran Dato Seri Paduka Hj Bahrom bin Pengiran Hj Bahar as Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs (new)
• Datin Hjh Erlinda Hj C.A. Mohd as Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (new)
• Dato Paduka Ahmaddin Hj Abd Rahman as Deputy Minister of Finance (new)
• Datin Paduka Dr Hjh Romaizah Hj Mohd Salleh as Deputy Minister of Education (new)
• Dato Paduka Hj Matsatejo Sokiaw as Deputy Minister of Energy and Industry (new)
Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Di-Raja Dato Laila Utama Hj Awang Isa Pehin Datu Perdana Manteri Dato Laila Utama Hj Awang Ibrahim as the Special Advisor to His Majesty and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office. He served as Special Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Home Affairs from 1986 to 2005.
Tuan Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof as Minister of Communications. He served as the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Dato Paduka Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman as Minister of Education. He served as the Permanent Secretary (Economic and Finance) at the Prime Minister’s Office. Apparently he used to be a teacher/lecturer.
Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin as Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. He served as the Brunei High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.
Dato Seri Paduka Awang Hj Abdul Mokti Hj Mohd Daud as Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office. He served as the Deputy Minister of Religious Affair.
Dato Paduka Hj Erywan Pehin Dato Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof as Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (left). He served as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Dato Seri Paduka Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah as Second Minister of Finance. He served as the deputy minister of Finance.
Dato Seri Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar as Minister of Development. He served as deputy minister of Development.
Dato Paduka Dr Awang Hj Mat Suny Hj Mohd Hussein as Minister of Energy and Industry. He served as deputy minister of Development from 2005 to 2010.
The current ministers that are being replaced and will no longer hold any ministerial positions.
New salary scheme to be introduced for government servants in their pilot initiative for those under Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance by January 2018
I heard of the rumour a few weeks ago from a reliable source and yesterday’s briefing by Ministry of Finance confirmed that there will be a pilot initiative of twice-monthly salary payment starting January 2018. The first phase will be introduced to the officers and staffs under the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance.
The briefing took place at two venues at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance led by Dato Paduka Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman, The Permanent Secretary (Policy and Investment) at the Ministry of Finance and Dayang Norliah binti Haji Kula, The Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance respectively.
The briefing discussed on the reasons on why the bi-monthly salary is being implemented. Firstly it is to enhance the effectiveness of officers’ and staff’s cash flow management when it comes to spending on their daily needs. This will encourage them to facilitate their spending plans. Secondly, it will help to sustain the commercial and economic activities happening in Brunei Darussalam. This will also help to increase the domestic spending and make the economy more resilient than before.
With the execution of the new initiative at the said ministries, this will enable the Treasury Department to assess and carry out feedback to ensure that the Computerised Payroll System and Daily Paid System are running smoothly.
Dato Paduka Ahmaddin bin Haji Abd Rahman, The Permanent Secretary (Policy and Investment) at the Ministry of Finance briefing officers and staff at Prime Minister’s Office yesterday.
The audience at the Prime Minister’s Office
The audience at the Prime Minister’s Office
Under the two ministries, the ones who will undergo the new system are officers and staff who hold permanent, contractual, monthly, open-vote and daily-paid status and also whose salaries are disbursed through the Treasury Department.
It was mentioned that those under the i-Ready Scheme and Capacity Buidling Centre will not be affected by the new initiative. Other exemptions are those under Service Pensions, Old Age Pension Allowance, Welfare Assistance and Allowance for the Disabled to name a few.
The financial institutions (banks and such) provide support to the initiative as they will divide into two payments of personal loans, housing loans, car purchasing loans and other loans which would mean that the salary deductions for loan payments would be applied twice a month.
If you are still unclear or need more information, you can visit www.mof.gov.bn or call their landline at 2383444. Images courtesy of MOF.
Dayang Norliah binti Haji Kula, The Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance briefing the officers and staff at Ministry of Finance
The audience at the Ministry of Finance
Click image to enter official website
In conjunction with the Golden Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Accession to the Throne which will be held this year, the Committee for Media, Publicity, Exhibitions and Printing would like to inform the public that the official Website, Mobile App and Social Media accounts including the official hashtag for the Golden Jubilee Celebration may be accessed as of today, Wednesday, 16th August 2017.
The establishment of the Website and Mobile App is aimed at providing information including the latest news on the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Accession to the Throne. The Website and Mobile App also contains information such as the Calendar of Events, posters and publications in relation to the Golden Jubilee. The information will be updated from time to time.
In addition to the informative contents, the Website and Mobile App will also provide an interactive platform that enables members of the public to convey their greetings online in relation to the Golden Jubilee Celebration.
The public will also be able to watch live broadcast events through “Live Streaming” on the Website and Mobile App.
The public may also use the official Golden Jubilee hashtag, #HMjubliemas in their respective social media account posts. For Android mobile users, the Mobile App HMjubliemas may now be downloaded through Google Play; whereas for IOS mobile users, the Mobile App HMjubliemas will be made available from the App Store in the near future.
The national netball team in a group photo with HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (8th L), the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), after their match against the Philippines. Also pictured are HRH Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah (C) and YAM Pg Muda ‘Abdul ‘Aleem (8th R) and His Excellency Dato Paduka Haji Alaihuddin bin Pehin Orang Kaya Digadong Seri Lela Dato Seri Utama Haji Awang Mohd Taha, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam in Kuala Lumpur. Image courtesy of Zam Hanafi
After coming off against two tough opponents, Singapore (37-62) and host Malaysia (64-27) in the netball competition, Brunei Darussalam’s netball team bounced back for a victory over Philippines 69-32 yesterday. The win over Philippines made a good chance for them to qualify for the semi-finals berth.
Philippines struggled to score and gave too many turnovers to their opponents while Brunei capitalised on every attacking opportunity. Nur Hafizah Hj Abdul Sidek who was rested during the first half, came on and led the team in the scoring department.
Athiyyah As’ad Mohd Jaafar, the vice-captain, competing in her second SEA Games, said she looked forward for their next opponent Thailand today (Thursday, 17th August). Their last meeting was back in Singapore 2015 in the SEA Games and Brunei lost by 5 points to Thailand. Today it will be a different story as Brunei wants to better their effort and what a best time to do it today at Juara Stadium, Bukit Kiara.
A win against Thailand will put them in a favourable position in the semi-finals and hope for a push in the finals.
Good luck to the netball team and hope to see you pretty soon this weekend 😀
Brunei Darussalam against Philippines at netball competition yesterday. Image taken from Kuala Lumpur 2017 website.
Brunei Darussalam against Philippines at netball competition yesterday. Image taken from Kuala Lumpur 2017 website.
Brunei appreciating their fans for their support. Image courtesy of Mizan.
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 Brunei Darussalam and His Excellency Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore jointly launched the new $50 commemorative notes issued by the two countries at the Instant Presidential Palace in Singapore this morning. Image taken by EPA.
Officiating the ceremony to commemorate the milestone. Image taken by AFP.
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 Brunei Darussalam and His Excellency Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore jointly launched the new $50 commemorative notes issued by the two countries in a ceremony held today at the Istana Presidential Palace, Singapore, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore.
The Currency Interchangeability Agreement took effect on 12 June 1967 between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore to facilitate improved economic and trade relations between the parties, and is a key economic cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. It was signed by the then Chairman of the Brunei Currency Board (now known as Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam) and the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Currency, Singapore (which merged with the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2002).
Under the Agreement, AMBD and MAS will accept the currency issued by the other, and to exchange it at par and without charge, into their own currency. Banks in both countries will accept for deposit from the general public and businesses, currency issued by the other country at par.
Through the years, the Agreement has brought about economic benefits and strengthened the financial links between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. Today’s joint launch of the new $50 commemorative notes reaffirms to the public, retailers and financial institutions in both countries that Brunei Darussalam and Singapore currency notes are still interchangeable at par.
The commemorative notes will be made available to the general public both in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore from 2pm today, 5 th July 2017, while the circulation notes will be available from 2pm Friday, 7th July 2017 across all banks and their branches in both countries.
For more information on the 50th Anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, please visit AMBD’s website at www.ambd.gov.bn or download the AMBD App through the Appstore or Google Playstore.
There has been so much buzz on the commemorative notes from AMBD as many were interested in them. I won’t be surprised if the stocks they have currently will run out in a few days time. I’m hoping to get hold of them once I get back from my short trip.
The new Brunei BND50 note
The new Singapore SGD 50 note
Interesting fact: The special bills, which were jointly designed by Brunei’s Abdul Ajihis Haji Terawih, and Singapore artists Eng Siak Loy and Weng Ziyan, pay tribute to the ties between the two countries.
The front of the B$50 and S$50 notes remain unique to each sovereign nation – Brunei’s features a portrait of the Sultan, and Singapore one of its first president Yusof Ishak – the shared design on the back of these notes reflects “our common values, as well as key areas of our close cooperation, including in defence education and tourism.
The designs on the back include sketches of students, among other items.
The flowers in full bloom on the front symbolise “the flourishing friendship between the two countries”, a joint statement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and its Brunei counterpart said.
The front also includes the 50th anniversary logo of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement, which came into effect on June 12, 1967.
The Identical Numbered Notes Set and Brunei 3-in-1 Uncut Sheet. Limited stocks. Click image to enlarge.
Brunei 8-in-1 Uncut Sheet and Brunei 40-in-1 Uncut Sheet. Limited stocks. Click image to enlarge.
Coffee Table Book
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance led the briefing at Tutong yesterday
eidi Farah Sia binti Abdul Rahman, Acting Assistant Director at the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) advised the public to play a part to complain if there’s abuse of prices at supermarkets
Education is the most important in creating more awareness for the upcoming Import and Excise Duties that will be imposed by 1st April 2017. Apparently the previous taxation act on products have remained unchanged since 2006. So this is something new for the residents of Brunei Darussalam to be aware of and awareness campaign is one of the tools to get the message across.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) have been busy making their rounds in different districts in creating more awareness of the new import and excise duties. Today was their final roadshow which was held in Temburong. I was fortunate enough to visit their roadshow in Tutong.
Present during the briefing was Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance; Mu’inuddin Chin Bin Mohammad Abdur Rahman, Acting Controller of Customs and Excise, Heidi Farah Sia binti Abdul Rahman, Acting Assistant Director at the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE); Haji Zakaria bin Haji Kamis from the Health Promotion Centre at the Ministry of Health (MoH), and Abdul Khaliq bin Haji Lokman from the Department of Environment, Park and Recreation.
This is a great start among the relevant agencies to get the word out before it creates confusion among the public.
The interesting will be sugared drinks especially soft drinks. Apparently not all soft drinks or fizzy drinks will be affected by the new tax system. It can get quite technical. For instance, it was mentioned that drinks with high sugar content of six grammes per 100 ml and above will be taxed at $4 per deca litre starting April 1. This means that a can of soft drink will cost 13 cents more. If the sugar content is below six grammes per 100 ml, no tax will be imposed.
Isotonic drinks will not fall in these categories as the sugar content is lower than six grammes per 100 ml. Milo drinks will be affected if I’m not mistaken. I’m still not sure about drinks such as Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and so on. I shall be making my rounds, asking those working in JPKE, to confirm on certain drinks that will be taxed.
Another item that I was thinking of was Maggi.. Yes, my all time favourite comfort food. Well, why I brought it up is because Maggi contains MSG which stands for Monosodium Glutamate. So would this mean Maggi prices will go up if the rules apply for MSG related products which are taxed at 30%. All these are to be confirmed pretty soon and I will share the data once everything is concrete.
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Kamis from the Health Promotion Centre at the Ministry of Health (MoH) sharing the dangers of sugar intake especially from the kids
The statistics don’t look favourable indeed
Ali Bin Hj Awg Matussin, Assistant Director of Land Transport Department, Ministry of Communications, speaking of the dangers of rethreading and used tyres. Apparently new tyres will enjoy a reduction from 20% to 5% on excise duties. Cool. The excise duties for reused tyres will remain at 15%.
During the briefing, the Permanent Secretary said the objectives of the amendments to the customs import and excise duties are to streamline the tax structure in the country which will be able to support key objectives such as to enhance the competitiveness of business and investment climate in the country as well as to fulfil certain commitments under the free trade agreements (FTAs) with several countries either on a bilateral or multi-lateral basis.
The restructuring of the import and excise duties also focuses on specific products with the purpose of meeting certain objectives such as reducing the cost of living for specific groups, bringing down the prices of certain goods to encourage their usage and at the same time controlling the use of certain products to improve the health and well-being of citizens and residents in the country, he added.
In a way, these are great initiatives from the Brunei Government and it will definitely improve the lifestyle, more like the healthy lifestyle of Bruneians around. I’m still alarmed that Brunei has an issue with obesity and over-weights among teenagers. Let’s hope with the new imposed duties, we will be able educate parents and adults on the danger of sugar related products in drinks and anything consumable that may be dangerous for teenagers in a long run.
I shall be blogging more on the particular products that will be affected by the new custom tax structure. Do see this as a positive note as this is also vital to the growth of the local economy and increasing the government revenue rather than relying on oil and gas for revenue.
The attendance yesterday at Tutong
The brochure giving info for the new custom and excise duties
Now will maggi fall in this category?
Maggi won’t be as cheap anymore if maggi will be taxed
The roadshow in Temburong earleir today (Wednesday)
The team that has been quite busy making their rounds at different districts to increase awareness on the new tax structure. Keep up the great work!!
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 Brunei Darussalam attended the Brunei Darussalam’s 33rd National Day at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien
Written by Rokiah Mahmud of Borneo Bulletin. An early morning heavy downpour that soaked the quiet streets of Bandar Seri Begawan failed to dampen the spirit of patriotism, love and loyalty towards the nation as thousands of citizens and residents flooded the capital to celebrate Brunei Darussalam’s 33rd National Day on Thursday, 23rd February 2017.
Following the arrival of 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 Brunei Darussalam, the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien was awash with a multitude of colours as thousands, young and old, serving and retired as well as the differently abled, marched in unison across the field’s stretch in a show of patriotism and loyalty.
Witnessed by His Majesty who was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah, the magnificent National Day parade and celebration saw more than a 23,000-strong team ranging from field performers, parade participants to students lining the way for the royal convoy.
Upon arrival at the Taman, His Majesty and members of the royal family were greeted by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Executive Committee for the 33rd National Day celebrations, as well as other members of the committee.
The royal convoy was greeted by enthusiastic people in their thousands with the royal salute and singing of the national anthem.
His Majesty then consented to inspect the royal guard of honour mounted by personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Royal Brunei Police Force.
With the theme ‘Accomplishing the National Vision’ (Menjayakan Wawasan Negara), yesterday’s event had been weeks in the making with thousands of participants enduring heat and humidity during coordinated military-precision training to provide the nation with the best the people were able to muster to mark one of Brunei’s most important historical events.
This year’s theme aimed to instil three main features – loyalty to the Sultan and country, belief in the values of Islam and the harmony of social and traditional practices.
The theme states that each citizen, resident as well as all sectors involved in national development have a role in ensuring that the Brunei Vision 2035 is successfully realised.
The Brunei Vision 2035 of His Majesty envisages making the country known throughout the world as a nation with people who are educated, highly skilled and successful that is measured by the highest international standards, as well as creating a dynamic and sustainable economy.
Yesterday’s celebration began with a parade led by flag bearers carrying a giant size national flag symbolising the nation’s sovereignty and the people’s spirit of independence and love and loyalty towards the nation.
Behind them were the 33 oath readers carrying national flags and the logo of the 33rd National Day; contingents of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force, differently abled, government ministries and departments, district representatives – all walked with full of confidence and pride reflecting their strong commitment in meeting the aspiration of the country.
A team of 100 students representing three different schools, namely Anggerek Desa Primary School, Haji Mohammad Jaafar Maun Primary School and St George’s School and the National Service Programme (PKBN) contingent of 360 trainees of the 6th intake performed a chorus describing the role of the young generation in realising the Brunei Vision 2035.
The parade also saw teams from higher education institutions, colleges, government and private secondary and primary schools, non-governmental organisations, banks, foreign associations as well as a group of excellent achievers marching to celebrate the country’s independence.
Educational institutions made up the largest single group in the parade with over 10,000 parading for them.
More than half of the march past participants comprised youth, showing their commitment in developing the nation’s capabilities.
Amid the march past, the proclamation of oath, led by Muhammad Ihsan Sabri bin Haji Abdul Manap, Acting Assistant Brunei-Muara District Officer as well as the call of ‘Allahu Akbar’ three times, led by Pengiran Muhammad Ameer Mubaarak bin Pengiran Haji Hashim, Administrative Officer Grade One at the Ministry of Education, echoed in the capital.
The oath readers’ team comprised 33 participants selected from various government and private sector institutions, higher education institutions, uniformed departments and associations. The team was also represented by two special needs participants who used sign language to deliver the oath.
The highlight of the 33rd National Day celebration was field performances showcased by some 7,133 participants that reflected solidarity among the people in upholding the commitment to realise the country’s vision.
Before leaving the Taman, His Majesty consented to meet and greet the participants and appreciate them for their committed efforts to make the 33rd National Day celebration a big success, overcoming a hostile weather. Image courtesy by Haqimie.
Text by Quratul-Ain Bandial of The Brunei Times. Residents in the capital are looking forward to the first car-free Sunday in downtown Bandar tomorrow, saying the initiative from the Municipal Department will help revive Bandar as a centre for community activity.
Dubbed ‘Bandarku Ceria’, the initiative will see the area spanning the Royal Regalia to the Waterfront a car-free zone from 6am to 10am every Sunday. Some roads from Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium to the capital will also be closed to give space for cycling and jogging routes.
The Municipal Department said the move will allow small vendors to do business, encourage more physical activity and reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
Hjh Kemariah Hassan, a restaurant manager in the capital, said she hoped car-free Sunday would attract more people to Bandar to support local businesses which typically see slow trading on the weekends.
“During the week, we usually get business from the lunch crowd from the banks and other offices located in Bandar. But after 6pm and on the weekends Bandar is so quiet,” said the 42-year-old.
“Sometimes we will get business from the foreign workers who have their day off on Sunday, but I hope this car-free move will make downtown more of a weekend destination for Bruneians.”
Through Bandarku Ceria, members of the public are encouraged to use the spaces available in the capital for recreation, cultural, family and community activities, turning Bandar Seri Begawan into an urban park that can be enjoyed by all, through activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics and sales.
“Brunei really lacks public spaces where people can gather and meet. Young people just hang out in malls and parking lots and are chased away by police when it gets late. Wouldn’t it be better to have places where we can hang out that are safe, fun and pleasant?” said Lina Abu Bakar, a local university student.
She said the popularity of places like Taman Jubli proves that Bruneians are in desperate need of more public spaces.
“It’s a very small park but since they renovated it, it’s always full of people every day exercising, spending time with their families or doing group activities. It has been the venue for a few food festivals. Why can’t Bandar be like that?”
Tomorrow’s first car-free Sunday will feature pop-up sales, a handicraft corner, street artists, exercise activities and market stalls.
Taxi driver Abdul Sukarni added that Bandarku Ceria could help promote tourism, especially since Bandar Seri Begawan was declared an the ASEAN City of Culture for 2016-2017.
“There are several tourist attractions here already that I take my customers to, such as the SOAS Mosque and Kampong Ayer, but it is not very lively. It makes Brunei seem very old-fashioned,” he said.
“If we can make this a big weekly market with lots of vendors, not just Tamu Kianggeh, it could be great for people like me working in the tourism industry.”