Brunei Update: October 15, 2019

Brunei Update | October 15, 2019
Authors: Mega Valentina, Kim Yaeger and Jacob Corfman
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Brunei participates in military exercises, hosts U.S. Admiral

Recently, Brunei Darussalam’s defense activity has increased by teaming up with neighboring countries for exercises and hosting U.S. Admiral Philip Davidson.  On September 2, Philippines and Brunei conducted a series of joint drills starting in the Spratly Islands, to then sail to meet up with a Vietnamese vessel in Hon Khoai, the southernmost point of Vietnam which borders the South China Sea. From there, the three vessels conducted drills on maritime safety and security towards the Gulf of Thailand to where they conclude in Singapore. The three navy vessels representing their countries and worked as a single task force.  Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia are claimants of the South China Sea.

Preceding the drills, Second Minister of Defense of Brunei, Awang Halbi bin Mohd Yussof, visited the Philippines’ Defense Secretary from August 27 to August 30. The countries agreed to enhance bilateral defense cooperation and discussed common issues pertaining to the region. Aside from regular dialogue and joint exercises, Brunei has personnel based in Mindanao to assist the Philippines to monitor their southern region making their relationship significant in Southeast Asia. 

After the drills, His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah received the Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip Davidson on September 9 and September 10. The Admiral praised Brunei for meeting the security challenges of the regions and the cooperation with the US. After Brunei and the United States solidified their military cooperation in 1994, the two countries held their first bilateral Army exercises in 2018.

Despite the South China Sea claim, China continues to be one of Brunei's top trading partners and a source of foreign direct investment (FDI), mainly on Information Communications technology (ICT) and infrastructure. This is in line with Brunei's national vision - the Wawasan 2035 - to build a diversified economy driven by a strong private sector, prioritizing on oil and gas, food, tourism, services, and ICT.  After China, Singapore, and Malaysia, the United States is Brunei’s fourth-largest source of imports. In 2018, total U.S.-Brunei trade was US $365 million with Brunei’s import totaled US $267 million and export totaled US $98 million.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Singapore, Brunei to boost collaboration in agri-food sector
ASEAN lifts TVET via Brunei gab
36th ASEAN Social Security Association Meeting
Brunei stops accepting visa applications of workers from Bangladesh

National Affairs
Singapore Supreme Court judge appointed Judicial Commissioner of Brunei Supreme Court
Signing Of Memorandum Of Understanding

Market Development
ASEAN officials discuss industrial revolution-ready workforce in Brunei

Customs
Brunei to corporatize postal services by 2020

Defense & Security
Fruitful Brunei visit for US Admiral
Minister Visit Puts Philippines-Brunei Security Relations in the Headlines
His Majesty receives US Indo-Pacific Commander
Army Chief Introductory Visit Puts Malaysia-Brunei Ties into Focus
Philippines, Brunei agree to enhance defense ties
Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei navies stage drills near South China Sea

E-Payments
Digital Economy Master Plan Retreat | Brunei's No.1 News Website
Alipay boom in Brunei as growing numbers of tourists from China spark a trend

Economics
Brunei's total trade, export drop in June

Energy
BSP drilling new well off Brunei
Sapura Energy wins contracts from Brunei Shell Petroleum, Petronas
China-Brunei petrochemical joint venture tested by national-level safety exercise
China-Brunei joint venture inks crude oil supply, products distribution deals with local companies
Call for strengthening energy-efficient practices
Brunei Shell Petroleum overhauls user experience with DXC

Food & Agriculture
Chinese firm launches aquaculture pens off Brunei
Inside the home-based aquaponics farm shortlisted for Shell Global's Innovator Awards

Health & Life Sciences
Launch Of Strategic Plan 2019 - 2023

ICT
Inputs sought for 5G Plan of Action
BICTA 2019 winners to be announced on September 18

Insurance
AIA to place Brunei business under Singapore arm
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Singapore, Brunei to boost collaboration in agri-food sector CNA 2nd Oct 2019
Singapore and Brunei will explore ways to boost collaboration in the agri-food sector under a new working group announced on Wednesday (Oct 2).

ASEAN lifts TVET via Brunei gab Manila Standard 23rd Sep 2019
Officials from the ministries of education, labor, and vocational training from the 11 Southeast Asian countries, as well as heads of specialist institutions of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, recently met in Brunei Darussalam to discuss the situation of technical and vocational education and training in Southeast Asia.

36th ASEAN Social Security Association Meeting BruDirect 20th Sep 2019
The 36th ASSA Meeting was held yesterday at the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong. The Employee Trust Fund, TAP, hosted this round meeting which saw the first participation of the new member of ASSA, the National Savings Fund from Thailand.

Brunei stops accepting visa applications of workers from Bangladesh New Age | The Most Popular Outspoken English Daily in Bangladesh 11th Sep 2019
Since August 4, the High Commission of Brunei Darussalam in Dhaka temporarily stopped accepting visa applications of workers from Bangladesh. The high commission had notified that it temporarily stopped accepting the visa applications of Bangladeshi workers. Brunei took the decision after it found the involvement of some companies in Brunei in  manufacturing fake job visas for the worker of Bangladesh, officials in the two capitals told New Age.

National Affairs

Singapore Supreme Court judge appointed Judicial Commissioner of Brunei Supreme Court The Jakarta Post 8th Oct 2019
The Republic's Justice Kannan Ramesh has been sworn in by Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as a judicial commissioner of the Supreme Court of Brunei on Monday (Oct 7).

Signing Of Memorandum Of Understanding BruDirect 20th Sep 2019
The Ministry of Defence this morning signed two Memorandum of Understanding, MoU on Cooperation in Research, Innovation and Technology with University Brunei Darussalam, UBD and University Technology Brunei, UTB. The signing ceremony took place at the Officer's Mess, Bolkiah Garrison

Market Development

ASEAN officials discuss industrial revolution-ready workforce in Brunei China.org.cn 11th Sep 2019
Some 150 education officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Brunei on Monday for the 5th High Officials Meeting on Southeast Asian Technical and Vocational Education and Training (SEA-TVET). The two-day meeting aims to find new strategies for collaboration towards developing human resources that are ready to play in the new era of "Industrial Revolution 4.0".

Customs

Brunei to corporatize postal services by 2020 Xinhua 9th Oct 2019
Following the privatization of ports operations in 2017, the Sultanate is now set to corporatize its postal services by 2020 to strengthen and diversify the country's value-added products and services.

Defense & Security

Fruitful Brunei visit for US Admiral Borneo Bulletin Online 13th Sep 2019
The Commander of United States (US) Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip Davidson visited Brunei Darussalam from September 9-10 at the invitation of the Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) Major General Pengiran Dato Paduka Seri Aminan bin Pengiran Haji Mahmud, according to a press release from the Embassy of the United States of America in Brunei Darussalam.

Minister Visit Puts Philippines-Brunei Security Relations in the Headlines The Diplomat 11th Sep 2019
Last week, Brunei’s second defense minister paid an official visit to the Philippines. Though the trip was just one engagement within the security relationship between the two Southeast Asian states, it nonetheless spotlighted some of the ongoing activity within this aspect of ties.

His Majesty receives US Indo-Pacific Commander Borneo Bulletin Online 11th Sep 2019
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 received in audience Commander of the United States (US) Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip S Davidson at the Istana Nurul Iman yesterday. Accompanying Admiral Davidson were Ambassador of United States of America to Brunei Darussalam Matthew J Matthews and Foreign Policy Advisor James Caruso.

Army Chief Introductory Visit Puts Malaysia-Brunei Ties into Focus The Diplomat 11th Sep 2019
Last week, Malaysia’s new army chief was in Brunei for a scheduled introductory visit. The interaction spotlighted ongoing efforts by both sides to cultivate their defense ties within the broader Malaysia-Brunei defense relationship.

Philippines, Brunei agree to enhance defense ties inquirer.net 11th Sep 2019
Top defense officials of the Philippines and Brunei have agreed to enhance bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation based on mutual interests. Brunei Darussalam’s Second Minister of Defense Pehin Datu Lailaraja Maj. Gen. (ret) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof was in Manila last week at the invitation of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the Department of National Defense said in a statement Wednesday.

Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei navies stage drills near South China Sea inquirer.net 11th Sep 2019
The Philippines conducted naval drills with Vietnam and Brunei in the waters adjacent to the South China Sea, while en route to the site of the first-ever maritime exercises between the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) and the United States. The Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam are three of the four members of the Asean that have claims in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway where the US and China are battling for influence. The fourth is Malaysia.

E-Payments

Digital Economy Master Plan Retreat | Brunei's No.1 News Website BruDirect 12th Sep 2019
Collaboration of all government agencies and relevant stakeholders are needed to ensure the outcomes of Digital Economy Master Plan are realized, in line with the digital government and digital society which forms the important components of the Smart Nation. Awang Haji Muhammad Nazri Bin Haji Mohammad Yusof, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications highlighted the matter at the Digital Economy Master Plan Retreat conducted by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications and the Digital Economy Council. He added that the cooperation will be achieved depending on integration and inclusivity of sectoral blueprints including proposed strategic national projects such as Digital ID and Digital Payments.

Alipay boom in Brunei as growing numbers of tourists from China spark a trend Global Times 11th Sep 2019
Since its launch in Brunei at the end of May this year, the number of businesses accepting Alipay payments from Chinese visitors is on the rise. 

Economics

Brunei's total trade, export drop in June Xinhua 16th Sep 2019
Brunei's total export in June 2019 fell by 9 percent to 634.4 million Brunei dollars year-on-year, and total trade fell by 0.8 percent to 1,229.8 million Brunei dollars year-on-year, government statistics show on Sunday.

Energy

BSP drilling new well off Brunei Upstream Online 11th Oct 2019
Brunei Shell Petroleum is drilling a shallow-water exploration well near its Champion field using the jack-up rig Deep Driller 5

Sapura Energy wins contracts from Brunei Shell Petroleum, Petronas Offshore Magazine 27th Sep 2019
Sapura Energy Berhad has secured three new contracts and two contract extensions worth about RM774 million ($185 million) in Malaysia, Thailand, and Brunei.

China-Brunei petrochemical joint venture tested by national-level safety exercise Xinhua 19th Sep 2019
Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a joint petrochemical venture between China and Brune, organized a national-level safety exercise to test its emergency response capabilities before its full commercial operation, CEO of Hengyi Industries Chen Liancai said on Thursday.

China-Brunei joint venture inks crude oil supply, products distribution deals with local companies Xinhua 18th Sep 2019
Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a joint petrochemical venture between China and Brunei, on Wednesday inked commercial agreements with Brunei Shell Petroleum Company (BSP) and Brunei Shell Marketing Company (BSM) for the supply of crude oil to Hengyi and selling of fuel products in Brunei market.

Call for strengthening energy-efficient practices Borneo Bulletin Online 12th Sep 2019
Investing in Energy Efficient (EE) measures in buildings can yield substantial energy savings, while supporting economic growth, sustainable development and creating jobs, said Deputy Permanent Secretary (Energy and Power) at the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI) Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira bin Pengiran Haji Petra. Greater use of energy-efficient appliances and technologies, combined with renewable energy are cost-effective ways of enhancing the security of energy supply.

Brunei Shell Petroleum overhauls user experience with DXC Channel Asia 11th Sep 2019
Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) has selected DXC Technology to improve end-user computing (EUC) capabilities through the deployment of digital solutions. Terms of the agreement will see the technology giant set-up a “flexible local” EUC service operations offering designed to improve BSP’s connectivity.

Food & Agriculture

Chinese firm launches aquaculture pens off Brunei Seafood Source 23rd Sep 2019
A Chinese fishery firm has commissioned 23 offshore pens off the coast of Brunei in the first phase of an aquaculture investment – another clear signal Chinese aquaculture firms are offshoring production.

Inside the home-based aquaponics farm shortlisted for Shell Global's Innovator Awards Biz Brunei 11th Sep 2019
Syazwan Hj Suni couldn’t believe his luck when S&R Aquafarms was called up not once but twice to the stage at the Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards last month. His aquaponics business – set up with his father eight years ago in their backyard in Tutong – had bagged the Most Innovative Enterprise and third place in Sustainable Business.

Health & Life Sciences

Launch Of Strategic Plan 2019 - 2023 BruDirect 12th Sep 2019
The Ministry of Health underscored five strategic objectives under its Strategic Plan 2019 - 2023. Speaking at the launch of the Ministry of Health Strategic Plan 2019 - 2023 yesterday morning, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Awang Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Minister of Health, said the strategic plan is hoped to provide a direction towards strengthening the health care system and services through the provision of services that are of better quality, efficient, effective, responsive, equal and easily accessible in line with the Universal Health Coverage concept. Yang Berhormat welcomed the drafting of the Strategic Plan implementation monitoring mechanism and framework including the use of approaches such as those proposed by the World Health Organisation which is through health indicators and targets.

ICT

Inputs sought for 5G Plan of Action Borneo Bulletin Online 5th Oct 2019
The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) is conducting a public consultation on AITI’s 5G Plan of Action. This exercise aims to seek views from stakeholders and members of the public interested to contribute to the consultation paper on AITI’s 5G Plan of Action. Over the years, mobile technology is constantly evolving to keep up with the growing demand for data. 5G technology will bring about capabilities of handling traffic 1,000 times more than today’s networks with speeds that is 10 times faster than what we experience by using 4G technology today. However, this fifth generation technology is not just an extension of existing technologies but a system of systems which offers endless opportunities for innovation towards adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

BICTA 2019 winners to be announced on September 18 Borneo Bulletin Online 16th Sep 2019
Winners of the Brunei ICT Awards (BICTA) 2019 will be announced during the awards ceremony at The Core Lecture Hall of Universiti Brunei Darussalam on September 18. BICTA is an annual ICT competition event led by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC). It is jointly organised by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) and InfoCom Federation Brunei (IFB).

Insurance

AIA to place Brunei business under Singapore arm Insurance Business 11th Sep 2019
AIA has announced that it will seek to transfer the life insurance business of AIA Company Ltd (Brunei branch) to AIA Singapore (Brunei branch). In a statement, the Asian insurance giant said that AIA Brunei, which has been present in the market for over 60 years, is currently set up as a branch of AIA Company Ltd, the entity which is incorporated in Hong Kong and regulated by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority. The group is planning to make a court application for confirmation of a scheme of arrangement for the transfer of the business.