Brunei Update: July 2, 2019

Brunei Update | July 2, 2019
Authors: Kim Yaeger and Jordan Fox
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
October 7, 2019: 2019 Business Mission to the 41st AMAF
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 

Brunei road on ASEAN Connectivity Project List

As a part of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, Brunei Darussalam’s Jalan Rasau Bypass has been included as one of 18 locations in the list of Initial Pipeline Projects and is expected to attract robust investment. Before this project is implemented in November of 2019, pre-feasibility studies and an analysis of funding options will be carried out. The project consists of upgrading the Jalan Rasau Bypass from a single lane to dual carriageways. This bypass runs from the Kuala-Belait District, the 2nd largest settlement and the heart of Brunei’s oil and gas industry, to the Sg Tujuh Immigration Post at the border between Brunei and the Malaysian state of Sarawak. This project will increase sub regional connectivity in the BIMP-EAGA area, improve infrastructure, and could facilitate more opportunities for investment.

BIBD rolls out Brunei’s first NFC mobile payment service

Joining the growing trend in the expansion of mobile payments in ASEAN, the Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) has introduced its BIBD Wave, Brunei’s first near-field communication (NFC) payment service, that functions through its NEXGEN Mobile app and allows payments via a mobile wallet both locally and abroad. Currently, it is only available on Android phones, but BIBD hopes to work with Apple to provide an option for iPhone users that enables NFC payments through their services. The daily transaction limit is BND 800 (USD 591.12) with a per transaction limit of BND 100 (USD 73.89). There are more than 1,500 NFC-enabled card terminals in Brunei and BIBD has stated that they will replace existing terminals with NFC-enabled ones for free. This service follows other e-payments initiatives like BIBD QuickPay and BOBD vCard that work to promote digital economy within the country.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
ASEAN working group discusses environmental progress
ADB President reaffirms support for sub-regional cooperation
People-centred ASEAN Community vital for sustainable future, says Sultan

Defense & Security
Defence strategy needs to be updated to reflect new threats: HM
UK-Brunei Security Ties in the Headlines With Jungle Warfare Symposium

Economics
AMRO downgrades regional growth forecast
CPI falls by 0.1pc year-on-year in April 2019

Energy
SEB expected to export electricity to Brunei, Sabah by end of 2022

Food & Agriculture
More than 7,000 hectares of farm land available for development through DAA
Brunei agriculture output up 13% in 2018; gov't pledges more farmland and support

Health & Life Sciences
Govt committed to enhancing workplace safety nationwide 

ICT
Key policy issues discussed at Smart Nation Summit
UTB makes digital advancement with ECQ partnership
New wave of digital payments
MoUs boost Brunei’s e-commerce sector
Over 75pc Bruneians engage in e-commerce
Signing Of Progressive PAY Agreement

Travel & Tourism
Workshop focusses on community-based tourism opportunities 
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

ASEAN working group discusses environmental progress Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Jun 2019
THE two-day 11 ASEAN Working Group on Environmental Education (AWGEE) Meeting convened at The Rizqun International Hotel yesterday. The AWGEE oversees and coordinates the implementation of the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (AEEAP) guided by the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint which aims to establish a clean and green ASEAN with environmentally literate citizens, ensuring the region’s sustainable development through environmental education and public participation. The meeting discussed the progress of projects and activities under the working group outlined in the AEEAP and the ASEAN Strategic Plan on Environment (ASPEN), which include regional activities and efforts involving the youth of ASEAN.

ADB President reaffirms support for sub-regional cooperation Borneo Bulletin Online 25th Jun 2019
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao last Sunday reaffirmed ADB’s support for two sub-regional development initiatives, the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP–EAGA) as well as the Indonesia–Malaysia–Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT–GT) during the 13th BIMP–EAGA Leaders’ Summit. The subregions’ economies continue to show resilience in the face of rising global trade tensions, with robust domestic demand helping to sustain growth, and policymakers well positioned to deal with any potential volatility. The two sub-regional initiatives constitute important building blocks for the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

People-centred ASEAN Community vital for sustainable future, says Sultan Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Jun 2019
A people-centered ASEAN Community is essential for a sustainable future and to ensure peace, stability and prosperity for all, 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 said in a titah during yesterday afternoon’s 34 ASEAN Summit Plenary Session held at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. His Majesty stated that Brunei Darussalam fully supports Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN and welcomes a sustainable approach towards ensuring the long-term success of the ASEAN Community, where the work within ASEAN would “be inclusive, and the benefits, shared by the people at all levels throughout Southeast Asia”. He noted that there are opportunities to build a more integrated ASEAN Community, including strengthening cooperation in education by facilitating student exchange programmes between institutions in ASEAN member states to build friendship and help youth understand the diversity within the region.

Defense & Security

Defence strategy needs to be updated to reflect new threats: HM The Scoop 30th Jun 2019
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Sunday called on the country’s defence institutions to create a “more holistic defence strategy” to reflect new strategic challenges in the region. Speaking at the annual parade that marks the Royal Brunei Armed Forces’s (RBAF) 58th anniversary, the monarch said the new Defence White Paper — set for release in 2021 — should be drafted through a “whole of government approach” to address any gaps in military and security capacity. He added that the complexities of transnational crimes such as radicalism, marine and cybersecurity issues have become more difficult to tackle.

UK-Brunei Security Ties in the Headlines With Jungle Warfare Symposium The Diplomat 1st Jul 2019
Last week, the 2019 iteration of a recently developed defense engagement focused on jungle warfare kicked off in Brunei. The interaction spotlighted a significant instance of ongoing collaboration between the Southeast Asian state and the United Kingdom with respect to Brunei’s role in wider regional security in the Asia-Pacific.

Economics

AMRO downgrades regional growth forecast Borneo Bulletin Online 25th Jun 2019
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) in its monthly report has revised the region’s growth projections downward, in the wake of the escalation in the United States (US) trade tensions. Citing the latest issue of the monthly update of the ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook (AERO) – June 2019 released yesterday, AMRO said baseline growth has been cut from 5.1 per cent in early May to 4.9 per cent in 2019 and 2020. The report added that in the event that an adverse trade scenario (25 per cent tariffs on US imports from China) was to materialise, growth would slow to 4.7 per cent in 2019 and 4.5 per cent in 2020.

CPI falls by 0.1pc year-on-year in April 2019 Borneo Bulletin Online 18th Jun 2019
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in April 2019 decreased by 0.1 per cent year-on-year compared to April 2018 in Brunei Darussalam, according to a press release from the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE). Prices of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages decreased by 0.6 per cent while Non-Food prices increased by 0.005 per cent. The CPI decrease was largely attributed to decreases in the prices and costs of Clothing and Footwear (2.9 per cent); Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels (2.7 per cent); and Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages (0.6 per cent). However, this was moderated by increases in prices and costs of Recreation and Culture (two per cent); Transport (1.2 per cent); and Restaurants and Hotels (0.5 per cent).

Energy

SEB expected to export electricity to Brunei, Sabah by end of 2022 Borneo Post Online 26th Jun 2019
Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is expected to export electricity to Brunei and Sabah under the Borneo Grid by the end of 2022. Its group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili said the connection to Brunei could be realised earlier due to the proximity of Miri, Sarawak to the Sultanate.

Food & Agriculture

More than 7,000 hectares of farm land available for development through DAA The Scoop 28th Jun 2019
Three hundred hectares of government-owned agricultural land have been given out to emerging farmers and “agripreneurs” over the past two years as part of state efforts to fuel growth of the agriculture industry. On Thursday, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah said the pilot programme under the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) was aimed at boosting primary sector growth, offering heavily subsidised land rental to encourage Bruneians to take up farming and is open to foreigners as well. Since the scheme was introduced in 2016, 46 people, including 16 youths, have been given farmland, where rental rates start as low as $5 per hectare/year for sub-sectors such as livestock farming and go up to $25 per hectare/year for vegetable and fruit farming.

Brunei agriculture output up 13% in 2018; gov't pledges more farmland and support Biz Brunei 28th Jun 2019
Brunei’s gross agriculture output has increased by $56.65 million to $436.30 million last year on the back of growing amounts of livestock, with the government pledging to open up more farmland and support towards developing the industry further. Statistics on the Sultanate’s agricultural output were released yesterday at a Hari Raya celebration organised by the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (YSHHB), with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam highlighting that more than 300 hectares of land had been developed by new farmers under a special pilot project introduced in 2016. Unadjusted for inflation, Brunei’s gross agricultural output last year is the highest recorded by DAA. Brunei is now self-sufficient in chicken meat and eggs and has over 96% self-sufficiency in young coconuts, calamansi, jackfruit, soursop, green beans, mustards, cucumbers, spinach and bitter gourd.

Health & Life Sciences

Govt committed to enhancing workplace safety nationwide  Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Jun 2019
The government is committed to boosting and strengthening workplace safety and health at all workplaces nationwide, and the establishment of the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA) further demonstrates this drive, said Permanent Secretary (Energy) at the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI) Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya yesterday. The BIG Forum was organised to serve as an interactive platform for SHENA to interface on workplace safety matters with stakeholders including government representatives, members of statutory bodies, educational institutions, industry players and other interested parties. SHENA endeavours to remain aligned with the nation’s Vision 2035 aspirations, a vision highlighted further during the forum with its four themes: Asset integrity, Work at Height Activities, Lifting Operations, and Schools and Buildings.

ICT

Key policy issues discussed at Smart Nation Summit Borneo Bulletin Online 29th Jun 2019
Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof attended the Smart Nation Summit, the highlight event of the Smart Nation Innovations Week held in Singapore from June 24-28. The summit aimed to facilitate open and impactful discussion on issues and trends relating to digital transformation, a digital Asia, and trust in a digital age.

UTB makes digital advancement with ECQ partnership Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Jun 2019
Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) will receive software products and consultation services valued at around half a million Brunei dollars, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ecquaria (ECQ) yesterday. The software will be installed to train students at UTB, while arrangements have also been made to train its staff to use licensed software products effectively.UTB will be incorporating ECQ’s suite of products, particularly the Ecquaria Government Platform (EGP) into its curriculum. As part of the joint collaboration, the School of Computing and Informatics will use the digital platform developed by Ecquaria Technologies for under-and post-graduate students to explore, design build and manage citizen-centric digital services.

New wave of digital payments Borneo Bulletin Online 26th Jun 2019
‘BIBD NEXGEN – a platform that connects everyone’ was launched last year as a platform that encapsulates all digital services offered by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), paving the way for increasing interconnectivity through strategic alliances with institutions from different industries, further spearheading the drive for financial inclusion as part of BIBD’s efforts to support the digitisation drive of the economy, its digital banking proposition.

MoUs boost Brunei’s e-commerce sector Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Jun 2019
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed by e-commerce marketplace MondeB2B with the Brunei Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DPPMB), Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei (YEAB) and logistics company JayaPuri Sdn Bhd (UPS) yesterday. MondeB2B, in partnership with local company Suhbe.co, is an e-commerce marketplace that offers Brunei a system to increase exports to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries.

Over 75pc Bruneians engage in e-commerce Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Jun 2019
A recent survey estimates that over 75 per cent of survey respondents engage in e-commerce while over 60 per cent regularly carry out online banking transactions in this country, according to a Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) press release, marking a positive development for digital economic growth in the country. This development is supported by statistics which show that over 75 per cent of households possess an Internet connection, with 99 per cent of homes owning at least one mobile phone.

Signing Of Progressive PAY Agreement BruDirect 21st Jun 2019
Progresif Celullar Sdn Bhd in partnership with Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, BIBD is paving the way for a cashless economy in the country with the signing of an agreement with Universiti Brunei Darussalam, UBD. With the signing of the Progresif PAY, this will make UBD as the country's first university to utilise cashless payment.

Travel & Tourism

Workshop focusses on community-based tourism opportunities Borneo Bulletin Online 25th Jun 2019
The Tourism Development Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) through the Mukim and Village Consultative Council Division held a Community-Based Tourism workshop yesterday. According to a press release, the workshop is expected to provide encouragement to community-based tourism operators to strive to achieve ASEAN-level recognition, meet ASEAN standards and qualify themselves to be nominated for the prestigious ASEAN Community Based Tourism Award, which is a platform for wider recognition and publicity at a regional level.