Brunei Update: Brunei to Implement Energy Order and Business Integrity Pact

Brunei Update | July 13, 2017
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Artha Sirait and Mingde Chong
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
The Council is currently in the process of selecting a date for the 2017 Brunei Business Mission.  The mission will be a one-day mission, seeking to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II and the Minister of Energy and Industry, among others.  Please contact Artha Sirait at asirait@usasean.org for more information.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Brunei to Implement Energy Order and Business Integrity Pact

The government of Brunei issued Electricity Order 2017 on June 10th showing their commitment in improving and upholding integrity in the energy sector.

Electricity Order 2017 will replace the country’s existing Electricity Act to improve the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Brunei beginning July 1st 2018. The order will be enforced by Autoriti Elektrik Brunei Darussalam, a department under the Energy and Industry department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO). This is also in accordance with the nation’s efforts to improve its business environment by improving the reliability and quality of electricity supply. Already, Brunei has moved up by 55 places from 76th to 21st in 2016 in the Getting Electricity Indicator Survey by the World Bank, and the new order is expected to further improve Brunei’s ranking next year. Among the changes and additions made to the existing Act include:

  • Introduction of a licensing scheme for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity
  • Certification requirement for electrical workers
  • Regulation on installation and modification of electrical works

Ten major oil and gas operators in Brunei signed an Energy Industry Business Integrity Pact to strengthen the country’s efforts to reach zero corruption in the energy sector. The pact which was written by the Brunei Energy Industry Business Integrity Working group included 10 essential principles to be followed by companies during the course of their operations namely prohibition of bribery and facilitation payments in business activities; code of conduct in place and principles disseminated to staff and contractors; consistent consequence management for violations of the code and principles; visible training programs and communication in place; disclosure and avoidance of conflicts of interest; avoidance of gifts and hospitality which can lead to perceived influence or conflicts; governance and internal controls/policies in place; raising concerns, whistle-blowing mechanisms and speaking up free of retaliation; investigations conducted impartially, fairly and in timely fashion; full collaboration with the Anti-Corruption Bureau and refraining from doing business with those who demonstrate poor integrity and ethical practices.

Brunei taking initial steps towards establishing minimum wage

In line with Brunei’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) commitment, Brunei’s government agencies are taking initial steps to show its commitment in making reforms consistent with the labor related objectives in the TPP, despite the fate of the trade agreement still being up in the air. The TPP’s labor chapter reiterates that all members should adopt and maintain the labor rights of the International Labor Organization, in addition to calling for all participants to allow workers to form unions and collectively bargain.

In a joint statement with the Labor Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs released on May 31st, the Energy and Industry Department of the Prime Minister’s Office said the current level of wages in Brunei ensures competitive wages and considers the affordability of companies to employ workers while sustaining their business at the same time. However, the government is also aware of rising concerns regarding the wellbeing of citizens working in the private sector earning insufficient wages given current costs of living in the country. As such, the labor department is in discussion with relevant stakeholders to establish a minimum wage that will be balanced and well-received.

The statement came as a response to a letter to the editor that was published in the opinion page of a local newspaper concerning local youths employed in the public sector earning wages that do not meet the increasing costs of living in Brunei. The letter also touched on the unemployment rate of the sultanate, and called for government intervention regarding the matter. The Prime Minister’s Office assured the writer that actions to curb the country’s unemployment issue are in place including on-going planning for an apprenticeship program that will helps job-seekers to build their skills, and organizing business boot camps at the Industry Business Academy (IBA) that allows aspiring entrepreneurs to learn and be mentored on running their own business.

IMF: Brunei economic outlook expected to strengthen from 2019 onwards

Based on Article IV of the International Monetary Fund’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds annual bilateral discussions with its members to review the overall economic developments in the country, as well as its policy measures aimed at maintaining economic stability, and its approach to foreign trade. In its recent consultation with Brunei, the Executive Board of the IMF concluded that economic growth in the sultanate will strengthen beginning from 2019.

The IMF predicts Brunei’s economy (that has been negatively affected by the 2014 oil price crash and lower-for-longer oil and gas prices) will begin to see improvements as growth turns positive in 2018 following the execution of large-scale investments for a fertilizer plant and an integrated petrochemical refinery by China’s Hengyi Group, government launched reforms, and the establishment of an SME bank. Public investment under the next five-year development plan (RKN 11), the 3rd in a series of five-year plans under the Brunei Darussalam Long-Term Development plan (2007-2035), are also expected to contribute significantly to the growth of the country. Brunei was also applauded to have been ranked among the most improved economies in 2017 Doing Business rankings by the World Bank.

Nonetheless, according to the IMF report, risks from unscheduled disruptions in oil and gas production and lower-for-longer oil prices could still impact the country’s long-term outlook. With that in mind, the IMF has made several recommendations to Brunei on ways to boost economic growth in the nation. Among the suggestions made are to broaden fiscal policy reforms, introduce a fuel subsidy reform, and implement a new blueprint to enhance the development of the financial sector. The IMF report can be found here.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Borneo could lose 75pc of its forest by 2020

National Affairs
Startup Weekend comes to Brunei
Minister launches new diving courses, expeditions
DARe constantly seeking to improve services, approach
UNISSA signs MoUs with Russian institutes
Japan to boost technical cooperation with Brunei
Brunei keeps Tier 2 status in US TIP Report
Sultan in Singapore for 4-day State Visit
WB sees comprehensive reform agenda in Brunei
April recorded drop in overall CPI
World Bank’s Doing Business team members conclude visit to Brunei
Brunei sees 51 fire mishaps in first half of 2017
Local company debuts in Singapore
Trading across borders in 5 simple steps
Brunei hailed for perfectly preserved peat bogs
JPD to open tender for public bus services
Signing ceremony for AMA Programme
UNISSA Rector, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan discuss opportunities
Bullseye - Dart app surpasses monthly target
SEZ to transform Brunei into world-class economic hub
Brunei ranked 12th in Global Islamic Economy Indicator
Mega Leap: UBD breaks into famed QS rankings
Tax responsibilities, obligations highlighted in Revenue Division workshop
Japan proposes technical cooperation with Brunei

ASEAN
CAEXPO to bring more dividends, business to Brunei
Brunei teachers take part in Asean summit

Customs
Boost barter trade with Kalimantan

Defense & Security
Deputy Minister of Defence meets US Defence Secretary Mattis
Brunei delegation attends 16th SLD
Singapore invited to attend trilateral maritime patrol launch as observer
Five countries' defense ministers to discuss ISIS issue

Economics
Global Finance names Baiduri Bank one of world’s best
Maybank Brunei wins Best SME Bank award
BIBD declares record dividend
Bank Islam Brunei aims to raise up to US$500m in KL listing
MPRT, MoH seek ways to help GDP growth

Energy
Energy industry players send message of zero tolerance
New Electricity Order 2017 introduced
China's Hengyi to start up $3.4 bln Brunei oil refinery in 2019 -sources

Food & Agriculture
Trade Facilitation Workshop for MSMEs to share experiences of Korean food companies
Changes to Halal certification to apply to all businesses
Department of Agriculture and Agrifood launches fruit-processing course for farmers
Government targets 20pc rise in agriculture output this year
Cambodian rice safe for consumption

Health & Life Sciences
Bruneian wins UK award
WeCare hands over medical equipment to RIPAS Hospital
Brunei faces challenge of inadequate blood supply: health minister
Brunei makes significant progress in health

ICT
Brunei-based tech firm wins award
Brunei needs to fill gaps in cybersecurity defences
Local youths to participate in inaugural robotics challenge
Young brains behind CrowdSource app seek more innovative ways to donate online
Wider coverage for iconic water village
Paul Taylor at helm of Progresif Cellular

Infrastructure
Works in place to fully restore water supply to Kampong Menunggol
Brunei triumphant

Malaysia
Boost for Brunei, Malaysia educational ties

Singapore
Currency agreement mutually beneficial for Brunei, Singapore
Commemorative Singapore, Brunei notes launched to mark currency agreement milestone
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Borneo could lose 75pc of its forest by 2020 Borneo Bulletin Online 6th Jun 2017
BORNEO is in danger of losing its major ecosystems and the valuable eco-services they provide which are critical to the long-term survival of local communities and the economies, according to a report.

National Affairs

Startup Weekend comes to Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Jul 2017
Startup Weekend Brunei is hosting its inaugural weekend-long workshop on July 21 to 23 at the Progresif Headquarters Event Hall. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour entrepreneur workshop with a global reach of over 2,000 events in over 160 countries. The goal is to create an environment where passionate people can come together and have an experiential education on all things startup from networking, collaborating and exposing potentials to see real results from idea to action.

Minister launches new diving courses, expeditions Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Jul 2017
A tota of eight diving packages were officially launched at the Serasa Watersports Complex in Serasa Beach yesterday, by Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism. A joint collaboration between the Tourism Development Department and local diving operators, Oceanic Quest Sdn Bhd and Poni Divers Sdn Bhd, the new packages will be promoted to local and foreign tourists, along with specialised courses for people of all ages.

DARe constantly seeking to improve services, approach Borneo Bulletin Online 12th Jul 2017
Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) would like to refer to the insightful article “Can DARe do more for established businesses?” written by Anak Tempatan published in the Borneo Bulletin on June 25, 2017. First and foremost, we thank you for sharing your suggestions and raising your concerns regarding how we can together nurture our local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) better. We value any input shared with us as we are constantly seeking to improve our services and approach. In response to the writer’s first astute suggestion for relevant agencies to take a streamlined and collaborative approach towards nurturing our local businesses, DARe fully agrees with this position.

UNISSA signs MoUs with Russian institutes Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Jul 2017
Separate Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremonies took place between Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), represented by its rector, Dr Haji Norarfan bin Haji Zainal, and Russian bodies name-ly Russia Muftis Council (RMC), Islamic University of Kazan (IUK), Russian Islamic Institute (RII), Council of Islamic Education (CIE) and Moscow Internati-onal Higher Business School (MIRBIS). On behalf of RMC, the MoU was signed by its Deputy Chairperson Rushan Hazrat Abbyasov in the presence of Brunei Darussalam Ambassador to Russia Haji Haini bin Haji Hashim. The signing took place at the RMC office in Moscow.

Japan to boost technical cooperation with Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 5th Jul 2017
Further boosting Brunei Darussalam’s diversification drive, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has announced its readiness to provide technical cooperation in capacity-building for various non-oil and gas-related fields, such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), human resources development in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), tourism, agriculture and fisheries. It is hoped that the cooperation will commence in August this year, after the Brunei Government concludes the signing of the technical cooperation agreement. Details of JICA’s assistance in future and previous collaborations were revealed in a briefing for Brunei and Singapore at JICA’s headquarters in Japan located at the Nibancho Center Building in Tokyo.

Brunei keeps Tier 2 status in US TIP Report Borneo Bulletin Online 5th Jul 2017
Brunei Darussalam has maintained its Tier 2 status in the 2017 United States Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, released by the US State Department recently. The annual report assessed 187 countries on their efforts to combat human trafficking through three key components, namely prosecution, protection and prevention. Tier 2 was accorded to the governments of countries that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. The Sultanate has been retaining the same status since 2012.

Sultan in Singapore for 4-day State Visit Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Jul 2017
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 Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam yesterday arrived in the Republic of Singapore for a State Visit from July 3 to 6, 2017. Accompanying Their Majesties are His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; as well as other members of the royal family.

WB sees comprehensive reform agenda in Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 2nd Jul 2017
The structure is in place and there is good coordination between agencies for Brunei Darussalam to keep implementing a comprehensive set of reforms, according to two top officials from the World Bank Group. Antoni Albert Nogues Comas and Nadia Novik recently concluded a nine-day visit to Brunei Darussalam, during which they met with various government agencies and private sector companies to assess and verify the reforms being implemented by the Brunei government to improve the business environment. They have been collecting information pertaining to the ease of doing business in the country, in line with the group’s Doing Business Report, which measures the efficiency and strength of business regulations in 190 economies worldwide.

April recorded drop in overall CPI Borneo Bulletin Online 29th Jun 2017
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in April 2017 decreased by 0.6 per cent over March 2017. Both the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages Index and the Non-Food Index decreased by 0.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. According to a press release from the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Prime Minister’s Office, the decrease in the overall CPI in April 2017 was largely contributed by Transport and Recreation and Culture by 2.0 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively. This was due to readjustment of air ticket prices as well as package holidays/pilgrimages to off-peak season prices after experiencing school-term holiday.

World Bank’s Doing Business team members conclude visit to Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 24th Jun 2017
Two members of the World Bank’s Doing Business team, Nadia Novik and Antoni Albert Nogues Comas, yesterday concluded a nine-day visit to Brunei Darussalam. During the visit, they met with various government agencies and private sector companies to assess and verify the reforms being implemented by the Brunei government to improve the business environment. Novik and Comas spoke about their visit in an interview with the Weekend Bulletin yesterday.

Brunei sees 51 fire mishaps in first half of 2017 Xinhua 23rd Jun 2017
Brunei saw 51 fire mishaps in the first half of this year that resulted in a total loss of property worth 7.14 million Brunei dollars (5.15 million U.S. dollars). Yahya bin Haji Abdul Rahman, director of Brunei's Fire and Rescue Department, said that one person died in one of these mishaps. Local media reported on Friday that the losses due to fire incidents in the first six months of 2017 have almost levelled the total losses throughout last year at 7.65 million Brunei dollars. According to the director, many residential houses in Brunei are not equipped with fire extinguishers, fire blankets and smoke detectors, thus exposing them to high fire risk.

Local company debuts in Singapore Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jun 2017
A local homegrown company, Dream Makers Services, debuted one of their latest product addition; Rojak BAR (Brunei Authentic Recipe) in Singapore at the Tampines Hari Raya Bazaar for its 2017 instalment. Rojak BAR was invited to showcase in Singapore at the month-long bazaar amongst other vendors and businesses from different countries. The opportunity was made possible by the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO), with the support of DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT).

Trading across borders in 5 simple steps Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jun 2017
Significant reforms in trade facilitation have recently been introduced in Brunei Darussalam, as a good practice for the economy and as a way forward for attracting foreign investors. The Brunei Government and private stakeholders, including forwarding and shipping agents, have been working together to ensure that the cross-border trade process is cost-effective and time-efficient. The logistical process of exporting and importing goods is measured by the estimated time and cost for the processing of documents, clearance and inspections by customs and all other agencies for any given product.

Brunei hailed for perfectly preserved peat bogs Borneo Bulletin Online 19th Jun 2017
Brunei Darussalam’s peat bogs have been regarded as one of the last perfectly preserved wetlands in the world where the peat is still growing, largely because the Sultanate has resisted the lure of the palm oil market, a study found. “It is remarkable how much the peat forests are just gone everywhere else,” said Charles Harvey, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and one of the authors of the report released in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

JPD to open tender for public bus services Borneo Bulletin Online 17th Jun 2017
The Land Transport Department (JPD), Ministry of Communications invited organisations, firms and companies to participate the tender for the supply, operation, maintenance and management of public buses in Brunei Darussalam. The tender pertains to the remaining 11 main bus routes in Brunei-Muara; five inter-district bus routes; five main bus routes in Kuala Belait – Seria; two main bus routes in Tutong; two main bus routes in Temburong; and 21 feeder bus services from residential areas in all districts. Tender documents can be collected from the JPD today during office hours at the Finance Unit, 4th Floor JPD Headquarters Jalan Gadong, Brunei Darussalam.

Signing ceremony for AMA Programme Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Jun 2017
Jati Transport Sdn Bhd yesterday signed an apprenticeship contract with two attachment students from the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) and one company trainee for the Mercedes Benz Advance Modern Apprenticeship (AMA) Programme. During the signing ceremony at Jati Transport’s showroom in Beribi, Alfred So, the General Manager, said that the three will join 60 other apprentices in Malaysia to undergo a three-year programme, training them to become more specialised in their line of jobs, and opening up for them opportunities to more rewarding careers.

UNISSA Rector, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan discuss opportunities Borneo Bulletin Online 15th Jun 2017
MAJOR General (Rtd) Tariq Rashid Khan, the High Commissioner of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Brunei Darussalam, made a courtesy call to Dr Haji Norarfan bin Haji Zainal, the Rector of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) yesterday. The visit was to discuss opportunities for collaboration in education. The high commissioner said that Pakistan has now more than 200 universities each with their own expertise. The high commissioner also mentioned interest in building UNISSA’s reputation to international level. UNISSA currently has bilateral cooperation with the International Islamic University of Islamabad, Pakistan, after signing a memorandum of understanding on February 14 this year.

Bullseye - Dart app surpasses monthly target Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Jun 2017
DART Logistics Sdn Bhd has recorded close to 7,000 downloads of the Dart app after one month of operation, with almost 100 completed rides and over 300 individuals expressing interest in becoming Dart car drivers.The figures, released by Dart dounder and Chief Executive Officer Zul ‘Amali bin Dato Paduka Haji Idris, shows how the market is responding positively to the transportation network industry.

SEZ to transform Brunei into world-class economic hub Borneo Bulletin Online 12th Jun 2017
A significant Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed last month to set up a strategic public-private partnership (PPP) for the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Brunei Darussalam. The MoU was signed between CFLD (Singapore) Investment Pte Ltd, the government of Brunei Darussalam and Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd (DA) in a signing ceremony that took place at the Empire Hotel and Country Club on May 3. Under the MoU, the parties will jointly co-invest and develop a Special Economic Zone – an area spanning approximately 40-square kilometres in the Jerudong waterfront and Tungku region to be developed under CFLD (Chine Fortune Land Development International)’s flagship new industry city model.

Brunei ranked 12th in Global Islamic Economy Indicator Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Jun 2017
BRUNEI Darussalam has been ranked 12th in the latest Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI), prepared by the answer company of Thomson Reuters.

Mega Leap: UBD breaks into famed QS rankings Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Jun 2017
ACHIEVING a major landmark, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) broke into the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for the first time, attaining a creditable 349th rank.

Tax responsibilities, obligations highlighted in Revenue Division workshop Borneo Bulletin Online 8th Jun 2017
THE Revenue Division of the Ministry of Finance has been conducting their weekly Income Tax Workshop every Tuesday for the past few weeks since April 17.

Japan proposes technical cooperation with Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 7th Jun 2017
TO CONTRIBUTE to the diversification of Brunei’s economy, Japan is planning technical cooperation with the Sultanate on a cost sharing basis.

ASEAN

CAEXPO to bring more dividends, business to Brunei Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jun 2017
The upcoming China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO) to be held this September in Nanning, China, of which Brunei Darussalam will be part of, is expected open up new opportunities for the sultanate to further tap into the huge China market. Brunei will be participating in the expo as the country of honour – the second time she has been handed the role – before a new country gets chosen later in 2017, the CAEXPO Secretariat said yesterday in a statement. Brunei is a major participant of China’s Belt and Road cooperation. A series of tailored events will be arranged for Brunei as the 14th CAEXPO country of honour to further tap into the markets of China and other countries, and to seize the business opportunities unfurled through the Belt and Road initiative.

Brunei teachers take part in Asean summit Borneo Bulletin Online 7th Jun 2017
THE Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State Office of English Language Programmes recently sponsored two public school English teachers to participate in the Asean English Language Teaching (ELT) Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia from May 22-25, 2017.

Customs

Boost barter trade with Kalimantan BorneoPost Online 17th Jun 2017
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs to look at integrating its economy regionally under BIMP-Eaga (Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines – East Asean Growth Area). Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, in making the suggestion, pointed out that better economic integration can bring about more opportunities for Sabah. “I have proposed to open one or two border towns (via road) en route to Kalimantan, from Serudong under Kalabakan district. With such link, barter trade via land can be strengthened as barter trade by water poses security issues at present,” he said, adding that CIQs (customs, immigration and quarantine) would be set up there. He had proposed this in the cabinet and Sabah government had responded positively.

Defense & Security

Deputy Minister of Defence meets US Defence Secretary Mattis Borneo Bulletin Online 6th Jun 2017
THE Deputy Minister of Defence, First Admiral (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz bin Haji Mohd Tamit, on Sunday attended the United States-Asean meeting at the 2017 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Brunei delegation attends 16th SLD Borneo Bulletin Online 5th Jun 2017
DEFENCE ministers, chiefs of defence forces, senior officials and academics from 39 countries gathered in Singapore for the 16th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD), organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Singapore invited to attend trilateral maritime patrol launch as observer Channel NewsAsia 19th Jun 2017
Singapore will attend the launch of the Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines as an observer, at the invitation of the three member states of the joint patrols, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Saturday (Jun 17). Senior Minister of State for Defence Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman will represent Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen at the ceremony in Tarakan, Indonesia on Jun 19. In its statement, MINDEF said that Singapore the republic is supportive of the littoral states' efforts to enhance regional maritime security and counter-terrorism cooperation under the TMP. MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces have offered its Information Fusion Centre (IFC) to assist and facilitate maritime information sharing for the TMP, it added. The IFC has linkages to around 70 operations centres from more than 35 countries, and currently hosts 16 international liaison officers from countries such as Australia, Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, United Kingdom and the United States, allowing better regional coordination against maritime threats. Besides Singapore, the three member states of the joint patrols also invited Brunei to attend the launch as an observer. 

Five countries' defense ministers to discuss ISIS issue Antara News 15th Jun 2017
The defense ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines will meet on June 19 in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, to discuss the ISIS issue in Marawi, Southern Philippines.

Economics

Global Finance names Baiduri Bank one of world’s best Borneo Bulletin Online 24th Jun 2017
Baiduri Bank has been recognised by Global Finance as one of the world’s Best Banks in Asia-Pacific 2017 for Brunei. This marks the fourth award Baiduri Bank has received from Global Finance. The award will be presented to Baiduri Bank at Global Finance’s World’s Best Banks 2017 Awards Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington DC on October 14 this year. The magazine’s annual ranking of the World’s Best Banks has become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

Maybank Brunei wins Best SME Bank award Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Jun 2017
Maybank Brunei has been recognised as the ‘Best Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Bank, Brunei 2017’ instituted by Capital Finance International, United Kingdom. This marks the second time Maybank Brunei has received the award, with the first being in 2015. The achievement was announced by Maybank Brunei yesterday during a press conference. According to the judges’ remarks from Capital Finance International, being the only fully localised foreign bank in the country, Maybank Brunei is fully integrated with the Brunei business community and maintains a vast network of contacts that keep the bank abreast of developments and allow it to help SMEs grow and prosper.

BIBD declares record dividend Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Jun 2017
Underscoring its commitment to deliver better returns to shareholders, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) yesterday announced a record high dividend of 14.7 cents per ordinary share for the year ended December 31, 2016, more than double the amount it distributed in the previous year. BIBD, the largest financial institution in Brunei Darussalam in terms of assets, financing and deposits, paid out a dividend of 7.3 cents in the previous fiscal. The achievement was highlighted in BIBD’s 2016 annual report which was presented to its shareholders in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s Chancellor Hall yesterday.

Bank Islam Brunei aims to raise up to US$500m in KL listing The Sun Daily 14th Jun 2017
Brunei’s largest lender, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, aims to raise as much as US$500 million (RM2.3 billion) in an IPO – the first by a firm from the Southeast Asian nation although the bank will be listed on the Malaysian bourse, IFR reported. JPMorgan and Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) are set to be joint global coordinators for an initial public offering of US$200 million-US$$500 million this year, said IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. A bookrunner is also likely to be added, it said. A banking source told Reuters the IPO is expected to raise around US$300 million but the final amount will depend on the size of the greenshoe option.

MPRT, MoH seek ways to help GDP growth Borneo Bulletin Online 8th Jun 2017
THE economic growth projection for Brunei Darussalam this year and the next by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as IMF’s recommendations were spelt-out at a briefing on the country’s economic performance yesterday at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).

Energy

Energy industry players send message of zero tolerance Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Jun 2017
An Energy Industry Business Integrity Pact was signed by leaders from 10 major oil and gas operators in Brunei Darussalam, in a move to demonstrate their commitment to upholding integrity in business. The pact was signed on May 8, and by agreeing to the pact, the industry is conveying its zero tolerance message that any company lacking integrity and transparency will not have the opportunity to do business with any of the oil and gas operators in Brunei.

New Electricity Order 2017 introduced Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Jun 2017
THE Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) has announced the introduction of the new Electricity Order 2017, which will repeal the existing Electricity Act (Chapter 71).

China's Hengyi to start up $3.4 bln Brunei oil refinery in 2019 -sources Reuters 2nd Jun 2017
Privately-run Chinese company Hengyi Group expects to start operating a $3.4 billion refinery in resource-rich Brunei in 2019 after completing building work in October next year, two industry executives briefed on the matter told Reuters.

Food & Agriculture

Trade Facilitation Workshop for MSMEs to share experiences of Korean food companies Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Jul 2017
The Asean-Korea Centre will organise a Trade Facilitation Workshop for Brunei’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) entitled ‘Enhancing Competitiveness of Brunei Food Products and Packaging’ on July 19 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas which will aim to share expertise and good practices of leading Korean food companies. Jointly organised with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT), Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) as well as DARe (Darussalam Enterprise), the workshop seeks to enhance competitiveness of local MSMES venturing in the food industry by introducing smart technologies and also to further strengthen business partnership between Brunei and Korea.

Changes to Halal certification to apply to all businesses Biz Brunei 9th Jul 2017
All businesses in Brunei producing, supplying and serving food and beverages are now required to obtain Halal certification, according to the recent amendment to the Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order. Failure to apply (initiating the application process) for Halal certification within the grace period can be fined up to a maximum of $8,000 and/or face two years in jail.

Department of Agriculture and Agrifood launches fruit-processing course for farmers Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Jul 2017
A Fruit Processing Training Programme, jointly organised by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) of Brunei Darussalam and the Asean Secretariat (ASEC) under the Strengthening Capacity-Building in Agriculture Sector in Asean member countries, was officially launched yesterday at the Horticultural Simpur Hall in Rimba, Gadong. Present at the launch was Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism. The training programme is sponsored by the Japanese Government through its Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), and conducted by IMBRU Essential Oil Enterprise.

Government targets 20pc rise in agriculture output this year Borneo Bulletin Online 4th Jun 2017
The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood is targeting a 20-per-cent increase in total output from agriculture, agrifood and livestock sectors for this year and expects to achieve a total output worth B$1,080.97 million by 2020.

Cambodian rice safe for consumption Borneo Bulletin Online 20th Jun 2017
The Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Brunei Darussalam informed the public that the Cambodian rice supplied and sold in Brunei Darussalam is safe for consumption. “Every delivery of rice is accredited with Phytosanitary Certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia and Certificate of Quality issued by the authorities in Cambodia in accordance with the terms stipulated in the contract for every delivery between the Government of Brunei Darussalam and the supplier from Cambodia,” the embassy said in a statement. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Royal Embassy of Cambodia clarified that the information which indicated that the rice supply to  Brunei Darussalam by the supplier from Cambodia has the characteristics of plastic made material is not true.

Health & Life Sciences

Bruneian wins UK award Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jun 2017
A Brunei Government scholarship recipient who studies in the United Kingdom made the Sultanate proud when his team won the UK leg of this year’s Ecotrophelia Award – a pan-European competition for ecologically inspired new product development. Muhammad ‘Atiq bin Juani @ Najrien, a final year Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science student at the University of Reading and his three colleagues won the gold prize and £2,000 for their product Yasai Sushi, vegetarian sushi-style rolls made with locally sourced vegetables and crunchy cauliflower rice.

WeCare hands over medical equipment to RIPAS Hospital Borneo Bulletin Online 22nd Jun 2017
WECARE, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), handed over 20 medical equipment to the Medical Social Work Unit or Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital yesterday. The handing-over ceremony was held at the Women and Children’s Centre, RIPAS Hospital.

Brunei faces challenge of inadequate blood supply: health minister Xinhua 14th Jun 2017
Facing the challenge of inadequate blood supply, Brunei government encouraged blood donors to come forward and become regular donors to ensure the country's blood banks supply sufficient, safe and sustainable, Minister of Health Haji Zulkarnain said on Wednesday. A total of 13,037 blood donors came forward across Brunei Darussalam last year, including 3,495 new registered donors, Haji Zulkarnain said in his message on the occasion of World Blood Donors Day which carries the theme "What can you do? Give Blood. Give Now. Give Often."

Brunei makes significant progress in health Borneo Bulletin Online 9th Jun 2017
HEALTHCARE in Brunei Darussalam has progressed significantly over the last decades and work is already ongoing to ensure that healthcare provision, quality and performance for Brunei is at its highest level possible.

ICT

Brunei-based tech firm wins award Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Jul 2017
Sesame World Technology Sdn Bhd’s directional sound system technology that project sound on a focused area or specific person to create a set boundary without much noise pollution, continued its rise to the global stage by winning yet another award at the recently concluded One Million RMB International Entrepreneurship Competition. Directional sound system technology was invented in Brunei Darussalam after SESAME World Technology Sdn Bhd opened its operation on April 2015. This is the second time that the company has won an award. Earlier this year, SESAME World Technology Sdn Bhd won first runner up at the Pitch@Palace China 1.0 competition.

Brunei needs to fill gaps in cybersecurity defences Borneo Bulletin Online 9th Jul 2017
Brunei has gaps in its cybersecurity defences and much work is needed to boost its capacity to deploy proper strategies, capabilities and programmes, according to a report by UN telecommunications agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Though the country is making some progress, a lot remains to be accomplished with regard to legal, technical and organisational institutions, educational and research capabilities, and cooperation in information-sharing networks to develop a near-perfect approach to cybersecurity, the report hinted.

Local youths to participate in inaugural robotics challenge Borneo Bulletin Online 6th Jul 2017
A group of local secondary school students hopes to ignite the passion of more young Bruneians in science and technology leadership and innovation through their participation in the inaugural robotics challenge for high school students worldwide organised by First Global in Washington DC, United States next week. The dynamic team of seven students, with ages ranging 15-18 from different secondary schools nationwide were selected by a panel of Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) lecturers in March this year and were convened a month later to prepare for the Olympics-style robotics competition from July 16-18, which will see the participation of hundreds of high school students from 160 countries.

Young brains behind CrowdSource app seek more innovative ways to donate online Borneo Bulletin Online 19th Jun 2017
A crowd-funding platform called ‘CrowdSource’ was recently named the winner of the open category in the first National ICT Hackathon at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa, earning a $20,000 start-up grant for the young team members. Participants of the hackathon competed in two stages. In the ‘Idea-thon’ stage, each team was required to propose ideas, suggestions and concepts on how to address the issues related to their selected theme out of nine given ones: Brunei communication hub, crowd funding on community and charity, intelligent emergency response, talent search centre, interactive/dynamic open data platform, property guide, public transportation, local tourism, and Brunei fitness.

Wider coverage for iconic water village Borneo Bulletin Online 10th Jun 2017
THE launch of Telekom Brunei Berhad’s (TelBru) fixed wireless technology earlier this year, resulting in the provision of broadband and telephony services at Kampong Ayer, recently witnessed the expansion of its coverage, continuing to provide an alternative form of communication for residences that line the Brunei Bay.

Paul Taylor at helm of Progresif Cellular Borneo Bulletin Online 6th Jun 2017
PROGRESIF Cellular Sdn Bhd (Progresif)has appointed Paul Taylor as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the local telecommunication service provider to new heights.

Infrastructure

Works in place to fully restore water supply to Kampong Menunggol Borneo Bulletin Online 29th Jun 2017
The Public Works Department (JKR) under the Ministry of Development confirmed that it received complaints of water disruption to Kampong Menunggol on June 23. An investigation determined a serious pipe leakage at the base river. An alternative supply pipe was established through the bridge at Kampong Bolkiah B to enable water to be supplied to Kampong Menunggol residents, while repair work was carried out. The installation of valves and piping equipment was completed on June 24, with the water supply partially restored the next day.

Brunei triumphant Borneo Bulletin Online 17th Jun 2017
BRUNEI Darussalam is ranked among the best in the world in political stability and safety in the latest edition of the Global Innovation Index.

Malaysia

Boost for Brunei, Malaysia educational ties Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Jun 2017
A delegation from the Management & Science University (MSU) made a formal visit to Brunei Darussalam to strengthen education cooperation between Malaysia and Brunei. The MSU delegation was led by Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid, MSU President, and Professor Puan Sri Datuk Dr Junainah binti Abdul Hamid, MSU Vice-Chancellor. Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Education, and senior officials of the ministry were present at the meeting. The MSU delegation visited Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). The visit highlighted aspects of educational cooperation which include the exchange of students and academic staff, renewal and new educational technology and areas of cooperation for mutual benefit.

Singapore

Currency agreement mutually beneficial for Brunei, Singapore Borneo Bulletin Online 1st Jul 2017
The 50th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. Under this agreement, the monetary authorities and banks of both countries are obliged to accept and exchange each other’s currency at par and without charge, into their own currency. This means that Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) and banks in Brunei Darussalam will accept from the general public, including retailers, Singapore’s currency at 1:1 and vice-versa for Brunei Darussalam’s currency in Singapore, thus making it “customary tender”. The agreement remains intact till today.

Commemorative Singapore, Brunei notes launched to mark currency agreement milestone Channel NewsAsia 7th Jul 2017
Commemorative S$50 and B$50 notes were launched by Singapore and Brunei on Wednesday (Jul 5), to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between the two countries.