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During the Unscheduled Visit to the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications yesterday morning, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, took a closer look at a number of sections at the ministry.

Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, Awang Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications and the Deputy Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry.

The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications is previously known as the Ministry of Communications. By the consent of His Majesty, on the 15th of December 2018, the name Ministry of Communications was changed to Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications. The re-naming is in line with the ministry's core as the policy maker responsible for the development and progress of the transport and infocommunications sector.

With the new name, the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications has further broadened its workscope and portfolio to cover current digital issues among them the establishment of the Digital Economy Council and Cyber Security Brunei. The ministry's current structure has also been expanded to cover the Meteorological Department, Land Transport Department, Department of Civil Aviation, Postal Services Department and E-Government National Centre.

The Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications, MTIC 2025, outlines the ministry's direction and main focus in line with the His Majesty's intention to make Brunei Darussalam into a Smart Nation.

With the vision 'Connected Smart Nation' and mission 'Enhancing connectivity for greater socio-economic opportunities, innovation and high quality of life', the ministry's strategic plan is directed towards and in line with the three targets of Wawasan Brunei 2035.

The approach taken by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications is guided by six strategic cores which are Digital Transformation, Ensuring the Transport and Infocommunications is always progressive and sustainable, safety standards are always maintained in the transport and infocommunications sectors, policy making workframe and supervision which are conducive for investment and service provision, organisational transformation and strengthening of international cooperation.

The ministry's strategic plan also provided focus and targeted improvements in generating employment opportunities for local citizens and growth of sectors linked to transport and infocommunications.

The monarch's visit ensures that the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications continues to be committed in being responsible in enhancing the Transport and Infocommunications sectors inline with the current developments which will be benefitted by the country's citizens and residents.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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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 Negara Brunei Darussalam, yesterday afternoon received in audience Senator the Honourable Linda Reynolds, Minister for Defence Australia. Also present was Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Second Minister of Defence; Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Major General Udara Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sahat, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces RBAF. The audience ceremony took place at Istana Nurul Iman.

Accompanying Senator the Honourable Linda Reynolds, Her Excellency Tiffany McDonald, Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam; Mr Peter Tesch, Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Intelligence; and Ms Mikaela James, Senior Adviser to the Minister for Defence Australia. Brunei Darussalam and Australia enjoy close and longstanding defence relations.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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During yesterday morning's unscheduled visit to Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, UNISSA, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, took a closer look at a number of learning infrastructure and facilities including UNISSA's male and female undergraduates residential colleges. 

Upon arriving, His Majesty was greeted by Doctor Haji Norarfan bin Haji Zainal, Rector of UNISSA. Immediately after arriving, the monarch visited a number of learning infrastructure provided by the university. Established on 1st January 2007, UNISSA can now stand on its own and carry out the trust as a true Islamic higher education centre.

With an initial intake of one hundred and seven students in the first year of its establishment, UNISSA's students now reach one thousand five hundred and seventy five in various levels of study programmes. UNISSA also saw a 17 percent increase on average of new student enrolments annually.

UNISSA's canteen also gained the monarch's attention.

To date, UNISSA offers 30 academic programmes in various levels and study fields covering Usuluddin; Syariah; Law; Arabic Language; Islamic Civilisation; Tahfiz and Qira'at; Entrepreneurship and Islamic Finance. UNISSA is the only public university in the country that fully instils the use of Arabic and English Languages in its study programmes.

His Majesty then continued the visit by taking a closer look at the UNISSA Surau. The establishment of UNISSA was a landmark of the monarch's care and attention in generating pious academics as the catalyst of a Zikir Nation.

The aspect of the comfort of students residing at the residential college was also given serious attention by the monarch. His Majesty took a closer look at the male and female undergraduates' residential colleges which house one hundred and 19 students and one hundred and 80 students respectively.

Throughout its decade of establishment, UNISSA has produced more than one thousand three hundred graduates in various fields.

Since its establishment, UNISSA has achieved stimulating developments, among them the Hala Science Bachelor Degree Programme which provides a basic learning and teaching platform in the field of Halal Science. UNISSA continues to be committed towards improving its academic quality and prepared to offer trans-discipline academic programmes. 

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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During the unscheduled visit to the Immigration and National Registration Department and Labour Department, Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday morning, 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 took a closer look at sections under the departments. His Majesty first visited the Immigration and National Registration Department.

As a department orientated to public service, the Immigration and National Registration Department plays a role in determining the Citizenship Status as well as carrying out registrations related to births and deaths, citizenship, identity cards and adoptions. Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Awang Mohd Amir Hairil Bin Haji Mahmud, Permanent Secretary for Safety, Welfare and Law at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Awang Azmi Bin Haji Hafneh, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Smart Card Identity Section was among the sections first visited by the monarch.

The Birth, Death and Adoption section also gained the monarch's attention. The section is responsible in processing registrations for births, deaths and adoptions, issuing copies for birth, deaths and adoption certificates.

The Visa, Visit and Diplomatic Section is responsible for receiving and processing visas among them visit pass applications; professional visit visa and pass; Business Visa and Pass, Student Visa and Pass as well as approval for Brunei Darussalam's citizens or permanent residents who intend to marry a foreign national.

His Majesty continued the visit by taking a closer look at the Foreign Workers' Pass Section, which among other things is responsible for receiving and processing employment passes and visas; re-entry visas for employment pass holders, dependant visa and pass;  re-entry visa for dependent pass holders, employment passes and employment pass extensions.

The Entry Permit Section also came under the scrutiny of His Majesty. This section is responsible for processing Brunei Darussalam Permanent Resident applications and issuing re-entry permits and visas.

The Law Enforcement Section is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations to prevent and eliminate immigration offences for the harmony, well-being and security of the country.

From the Immigration and National Registration Department, His Majesty continued the visit to the Labour Department. Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Awang Muhammad Saufi Bin Awang Haji Ibrahim, Acting Commissioner of Labour. The Labour Department among other matters plays a role to administer and enforce the Employment Order 2009 to ensure that standards are met to a satisfactory level.

Among the sections that caught His Majesty's attention was the Labour Standards and Employment Agency Division. The Labour Standards Unit is responsible in ensuring consultations are inline with labour standards. Meanwhile, the functions of the Employment Agency is to issue licenses to employment agencies operating in the country and monitor as well as supervise employment agencies' activities in the country.

Also visited by the monarch was the Occupational Health and Safety Section which plays a role in ensuring employers are reporting any workplace accidents and injuries as well as assess and calculate the employee's reparation rights.

His Majesty then visited the Foreign Workers Division which is responsible in issuing foreign workers licenses for companies and individuals.

The Information Technology Section, Prosecution and Consultation Section also came under the focus of the monarch's visit. Organised management of workers in the private sector to fulfil the country's requirements is the vision of the Labour Department.

His Majesty ended the visit with a closer look at the Administration and Finance Section, Apart from facilitating the workforce requirements in the private sector, the department also fulfils its commitment at the regional and international levels such as membership in ASEAN and International Labour Organisation.

His Majesty visited the two government departments in October last year. His Majesty's visit is to ensure that the Immigration and National Registration Department as well as the Labour Department, Ministry of Home Affairs are enculturing work with a core of responsiveness and integrity which are key to public sector human resource empowerment in the country.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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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 has consented to send congratulatory messages to His Excellency Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany and to Her Excellency Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Germany on the occasion of the Day of German Unity.

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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 has consented to send a congratulatory message to His Excellency Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, the Government and people of the Republic of Korea on the occasion of its National Foundation Day.

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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 has consented to send messages of congratulations to His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China and His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, the Government as well as to the People's Republic of China on the occasion of its 71st Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China.​


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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 has consented to send messages of condolences to His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, members of the Royal Family and the people of the State of Kuwait following the passing of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah recently.

Furthermore, His Majesty has also consented to send a message of congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, following His Highness' appointment as the Amir of the State of Kuwait.

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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 has consented to send a message of congratulations to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and members of the Royal Family as well as the Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of its National Day.

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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 in the titah says Brunei Darussalam continues its pledge to work together with all United Nations, UN member states and carry out the commitment and responsibilities to ensure that the world and its people will continue to live in peace, to develop and progress. His Majesty underlines the matter in a titah at the High Level Meeting to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations early yesterday morning.

In the titah, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam stresses the need for the members to make UN better, more cost-effective and more empowered to support multilateralism, and a world order based on the universal rule of law, in ensuring the organisation remains relevant for all. In the titah, His Majesty joins UN members in congratulating His Excellency Volkan Bozkir on his election as the 75th President of the UN General Assembly. The Monarch also extends best wishes for the government and the people of Brunei Darussalam in the spirit of peace and solidarity, and condolences as well as sympathies to all those affected by the COVID-19 virus. Touching on UN's achievement to remain relevant for three quarters of a century, His Majesty says it is certainly a remarkable achievement for any grouping, let alone a large organisation like the UN.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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The National Development Plan, NDP, Executive Committee Meeting among others discussed on projects and the national development plans. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam graced and chaired the meeting. The meeting took place yesterday morning at Istana Nurul Iman.

Upon arrival His Majesty was greeted by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy and the NDP Executive Committee members. Also in attendance was His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy in his welcoming remark expressed his gratitude for His Majesty's presence in the meeting. The monarch's presence is highly valued towards the efforts implemented in making a success of the national development plan, contributing towards the growth of the nation's socio-economy and to become one of the platforms to meet the target of Wawasan Brunei 2035, which clearly reflects His Majesty's concern towards the implementation of effective national development projects that benefits the country.

The reading of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa was led by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Engineer Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar, Minister of Development.

The NDP Executive Committee Meeting was the first for 2020.

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During the unscheduled visit to the Ministry of Religious Affairs yesterday morning, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, the Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam took a closer look at the departments and sections under the ministry.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs plays a role as the pioneer of religious services and is responsible in all matters related to Islam aside from playing a role in planning, implementing, evaluating programmes and activities in the interest of Islam in the country. Earlier, the monarch visited the Haj Management Department which has a role as the medium for the government of His Majesty and related parties to facilitate the handling of matters related to haj and umrah.

The Finance Section was among the sections visited by the monarch. His Majesty then visited the Islamic Legal Unit. Established under the Brunei Islamic Religious Council Section, the unit is responsible in handling the requirements of the Islamic Religious Council and Kadis Court Act, Chapter 77 as well as other laws related with the Brunei Islamic Religious Council. Apart from that, the unit also drafts laws related to religious and current issues.

The Public Relations and International as well as MABBIM Section established on 2nd January 2013 also gained the monarch's attention. The Brunei Islamic Religious Council Department plays a role in helping to provide policy and legal affairs related to the interests of the Muslim ummah and Islam, administration affairs and tithe management, Baitul Mal and Wakaf or Endowment; research on Islamic issues and administering and implementing the requirements of the Act Chapter 77 as well as other Acts or Orders linked to the Islamic Religious Council.

The monarch also visited the Human Resources and Planning Section responsible in providing training and courses for workforce development. At the Housing Unit, His Majesty was given a briefing on the management of government houses under the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The monarch continued the visit by taking a closer look at the Islamic Propagation Development Section and Library. With a vision of empowering Islam as the official religion and its practices as a complete and proper way of life, the Section continues to develop and enhance Islamic propagation through celebrations of Major Islamic Events.

The ministry's library is responsible in finding and obtaining, gathering, storing and providing various reference materials related to Islamic affairs and knowledge locally and abroad. As an Islamic reference centre for the public, the library is a collaboration between public and specialised libraries in the country.

Enhancing information technology services in the delivery of Islamic services, education and information which are integrated with a systematic and organised management guided by the Strategic Plan and based on the e-government policy is the mission of the Information Technology Section. Meanwhile, the mission of the Administration Department is to strengthen the management of services, human resources planning and development as well as finance in a systematic, quality, efficient, effective and dynamic manner.

Religious services under His Majesty's leadership always places Islam as the main core at the highest position in the monarch's reign. The Baitulmal and Zakat Fitrah or Tithe Unit, and Tithe Distribution and Collection Section were also given a closer look by the monarch. The Brunei Islamic Religious Council, MUIB Department among other matters plays a role in ensuring the implementation of tithe among Muslims in the country is carried out properly and in a protected manner. His Majesty then visited the Brunei Islamic Religious Council Department in the ministry's new building.

In realising Wawasan Brunei 2035, religious services also play a vital role for the country's people. His Majesty's visit ensures that the Ministry of Religious Affairs is sensitive and attentive to matters handled by His Majesty's government apart from efforts to make a success of the mission and vision of the ministry and the departments under it.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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​From the Ministry of Religious Affairs, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam then visited Julangan Titah Graduan Bersepadu located at Jalan Bunga Teratai, Kampung Jaya Setia, Perpindahan Berakas. 

Upon arrival, His Majesty was greeted by Awang Zaman bin Haji Gapar, Chairman of the Graduan Bersepadu Operations and Management Working Committee. Graduan Bersepadu Sendirian Berhad which started its services last Sunday, was established as an effort and initiative organised for the first time to provide opportunities to graduates from various academic backgrounds to be in service to society through entrepreneurship or business.

With 5 subsidiaries in different fields, Graduan Bersepadu is handled by 53 local graduates. The subsidiaries are Sajian Graduan, Pasaria Graduan, Designer Graduan, Pustaka Graduan and Tutor Graduan. The Graduan Bersepadu project is hoped to produce independent graduates, and simultaneously build a self-sufficient society in facing the various challenges of the 4th industrial revolution. His Majesty first visited the Sajian Graduan Unit. The unit carries the concept of a modern-style cafe offering over 70 dishes. The unit's staff comprise local graduates who have completed their studies in various fields from local and overseas universities.

Pasaria Graduan which is handled fully by local graduates from various academic backgrounds, offers daily necessities from quality dry and wet goods, which fulfils food safety standards.

Designer Graduan was also a point of attention in the monarch's visit. Designer Graduan is one of the subsidiaries under Graduan Bersepadu, offering services as a boutique and tailor. It is operated by 5 graduates from various backgrounds with the guidance of the board of directors and trained by a renowned company in design and tailoring.

Meanwhile, Pustaka Graduan is operated by graduates with differing backgrounds namely Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, UNISSA; Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College, KUPU SB; Universiti Brunei Darussalam, UBD; Universiti Teknologi Brunei, UTB and Laksmana College of Business.

Eleven tutors from various fields as well as local and overseas universities are operating Tutor Graduan. The Tutor Graduan teaching workforce are trained comprehensively by lecturers from Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Education Institute, UBD and introduced to appropriate teaching theories inline with the Brunei Teachers Standard.

His Majesty's visit certainly drives youths to fulfil the high hopes placed on them. This includes their meaningful contributions to the country and nation's development and progress, and at the same time prepare them to become a valuable asset to the country.

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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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 has consented to send a congratulatory message to His Excellency Yoshihide Suga, on his appointment as Prime Minister of Japan following his recent victory in the Liberal Democratic Party leadership's election.

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His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, received in audience outgoing High Commissioner of Republic of Singapore to Brunei Darussalam; newly-appointed High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to Republic of Singapore; and newly-appointed Foreign Envoys to Brunei Darussalam in separate audiences. The Audience ceremonies took place at Qashr Al-Meezaan, yesterday morning.

His Royal Highness first received in audience His Excellency Lim Hong Huai, High Commissioner of Republic of Singapore to Brunei Darussalam. His Excellency presented his Letter of Credence to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on 23rd March 2016.

His Royal Highness next received in audience His Excellency Dato Paduka Haji Sidek bin Ali, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of Singapore. His Excellency received his Letter of Credence from His Majesty on 10th September 2020.

His Royal Highness then received in separate audiences the newly-appointed Foreign Envoys to Brunei Darussalam. His Royal Highness first received in audience Her Excellency Gerda Winkler, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Brunei Darussalam. Also present was Mr. Thomas Heilmaier, Deputy Head of Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in Brunei Darussalam.

His Royal Highness next received in audience His Excellency John Virgoe, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam. Accompanying His Excellency was Ms. Natalie Gowers- Barnes, Deputy British Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam.

His Royal Highness then received in audience Her Excellency Tiffany Anne McDonald, High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam. Also present was Ms. Chintana Vongpaseuth, Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam. The newly-appointed Foreign Envoys to Brunei Darussalam presented their Letters of Credence to His Majesty on 10th September 2020.

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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 presented a Letter of Credence to Brunei Darussalam's newly-appointed High Commissioner and received Letters of Credence from newly-appointed Foreign Envoys to Brunei Darussalam. The ceremonies took place yesterday afternoon at the Istana Nurul Iman.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam first presented a Letter of Credence to His Excellency Dato Paduka Haji Sidek bin Ali, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of Singapore. 

His Majesty then received Letters of Credence from Her Excellency Gerda Winkler, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Brunei Darussalam His Excellency John Virgoe, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam and Her Excellency Tiffany Anne McDonald, High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam.

After the ceremony, His Majesty received in audience the High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of Singapore. His Majesty also received in separate audiences the newly-appointed Foreign Envoys to Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty first received in audience Her Excellency Gerda Winkler, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Brunei Darussalam. Accompanying Her Excellency was Mr. Thomas Heilmaier, Deputy Head of Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in Brunei Darussalam.

His Majesty next received in audience His Excellency John Virgoe, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam. Accompanying His Excellency was Ms. Natalie Gowers-Barnes, British Deputy High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam. 

His Majesty then received in audience Her Excellency Tiffany Anne McDonald, High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam. Accompanying Her Excellency was Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Hauser, Assistant Defence Advisor, High Commission of Australia in Brunei Darussalam.

​Also present at the ceremony were Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd. Yusof, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs; Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Mohd. Nawawi bin Allahyarham Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Haji Awang Mohd. Taha, Private and Confidential Secretary to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam; Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Penggawa Laila Bentara Istiadat Diraja Dalam Istana Pengiran Haji Alauddin bin Pengiran Paduka Tuan Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, Grand Chamberlain; and Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohd. Nor bin Haji Jeludin, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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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 His Excellency General Wei Fenghe, State Councillor and Minister of National Defence of the People's Republic of China. The audience ceremony took place at Istana Nurul Iman. Accompanying His Excellency were Her Excellency Yu Hong, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam; Lieutenant General (Air Force) Jia Zhigang, Deputy Commander of the Southern Theater Command; Major General Song Yanchao, Deputy Chief of the Office for International Military Cooperation of Central Military Commission, OIMC; Major General Liu Yantong, Director General of Research Bureau of General Office of Central Military Commission; and Colonel Jiang Bin, Staff of Asian Affairs Bureau, OIMC.

Defence and military cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and the People's Republic of China were strengthened through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Military Exchanges on the 12th of September 2003, and further bolstered through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Strengthening Defence Cooperation on the 13th of September 2017. 

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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 in the titah says COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the way in which governments and national parliaments respond to ever-changing norms and unprecedented challenges. His Majesty says its indefinite nature calls for urgent actions to protect the interest of the people whilst emphasising the importance of remaining united and integrated within the ASEAN community. The titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is in the content of His Majesty's message in conjunction with the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, AIPA.

His Majesty stresses that AIPA, along with its existing strategic partners, also has an important role in formulating and executing effective strategies to foster an outward-looking ASEAN Community that can respond collectively and constructively to issues of common concern. The Monarch says that together, we can create a more sustainable and resilient ASEAN with improved capacity to embrace positive transformation. His Majesty underlines that Brunei Darussalam shall continue to support the work of AIPA towards this end.

Touching on the theme for the 41st AIPA General Assembly, which is 'Parliamentary Diplomacy for Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN', His Majesty in the titah states that the theme is in tandem with ASEAN's vision which calls for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN. It brings attention to the need to strengthen regional solidarity in responding effectively to challenges as stipulated in both the ASEAN Charter as well as the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. In addition, parliamentary diplomacy enhances AIPA's role in supporting ASEAN through increasing mutual understanding between countries and better representation of the people.

The Monarch also notes that the agenda for the 41st AIPA General Assembly this year will highlight COVID-19 responses and recovery efforts in relation to the economy, social security and peace and stability in the region. In ending the message, His Majesty strongly believes that AIPA will be able to help ASEAN endure these challenging times and emerge as a more resilient community.

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His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, today hosted a dinner on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at Qashr Al-Meezaan, in honour of the Special Envoy of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Sultan Yang Di-Pertuan of Johor Darul Ta’zim, led by His Royal Highness Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor.

Present at the Dinner were His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Highness Tunku Idris Iskandar Al-Haj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Tunku Temenggong of Johor; His Highness Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Tunku Panglima of Johor; and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

Also present at the Dinner from both sides were Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, the Yang Di-Pertua of Adat Istiadat Negara; Yang Berhormat Major General (Retired) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr.) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti; Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Penggawa Laila Bentara Istiadat Diraja Dalam Istana Pengiran Haji Alauddin bin Pengiran Paduka Tuan Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, the Grand Chamberlain; Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Abdul Rahim bin Ramli, the Yang Di-Pertua of the Johor Council of Royal Court; Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Azmi bin Rohani, the Secretary of the State of Johor, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Abdul Latiff bin Yusof, the Secretary of the Johor Council of Royal Court; and Sohibus Samahah Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Yahya bin Haji Ahmad, the State Mufti of Johor.

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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, this afternoon received in audience the Special Envoy of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Sultan Yang Di-Pertuan of Johor Darul Ta’zim, led by His Royal Highness Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor. The Envoy also included His Highness Tunku Idris Iskandar Al-Haj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Tunku Temenggong of Johor and His Highness Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Tunku Panglima of Johor.

Present at the Audience Ceremony were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

At the Audience Ceremony, His Royal Highness Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor presented a ‘Warkah Perutusan’ from His Majesty the Sultan Yang    Di-Pertuan of Johor Darul Ta’zim to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. At the same Ceremony, the Crown Prince of Johor also presented a ‘Warkah Perutusan’ from His Majesty the Sultan Yang Di-Pertuan of Johor Darul Ta’zim to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Also present at the Audience Ceremony from both sides were Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Aziz bin Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, the Yang Di-Pertua of Adat Istiadat Negara; Yang Berhormat Major General (Retired) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr.) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti; Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Penggawa Laila Bentara Istiadat Diraja Dalam Istana Pengiran Haji Alauddin bin Pengiran Paduka Tuan Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar, the Grand Chamberlain; Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Abdul Rahim bin Ramli, the Yang Di-Pertua of the Johor Council of Royal Court; Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Azmi bin Rohani, the Secretary of the State of Johor, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Abdul Latiff bin Yusof, the Secretary of the Johor Council of Royal Court; and Sohibus Samahah Yang Berhormat Dato’ Haji Yahya bin Haji Ahmad, the State Mufti of Johor.

The Audience Ceremony took place at Istana Nurul Iman.

Photo courtesy of Information Department, Prime Minister’s Office

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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, this afternoon received in audience His Excellency Air Vice Marshal (Retired) Mahmud Hussain, outgoing High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Brunei Darussalam.

His Excellency presented his Letter of Credence to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on 15th February 2017.

The Audience Ceremony took place at Istana Nurul Iman.

Photo courtesy of Information Department, Prime Minister’s Office


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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, yesterday afternoon received in separate audiences the outgoing Foreign Envoys to Brunei Darussalam. The audience ceremony took place at Istana Nurul Iman. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam first received in audience His Excellency Richard Lindsay, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam.


His Excellency presented his Letter of Credence to His Majesty the on 10th August 2017. Also present was Ms Natalie Gowers-Barnes, Deputy British High Commissioner and Group Captain Graeme Davis, Defence Advisor of the United Kingdom to Brunei  Darussalam.

His Majesty next received in audience His Excellency Peter Hermann Wolff, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Brunei Darussalam. His Excellency also presented his Letter of Credence to His Majesty on the 10th August 2017.

His Majesty then received in audience Her Excellency Nicola Rosenblum, High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam. Her Excellency presented her Letter of Credence to His Majesty on the 25th October 2016. Accompanying Her Excellency was Chintana Vongsapeuth, Deputy High Commissioner of Australia.


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In the titah, the Monarch also highlights the benefits of Qunut Nazilah which is read during Friday prayer. It has been several Fridays that the doa qunut has not be read during prayer and His Majesty urges that it be recited while performing the five obligatory prayers at home.

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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 in a titah stated the importance of ASEAN to work together to keep economic activities alive and also learn from the COVID-19 crisis to be better prepared for future health emergencies. Enhanced cooperation across all Community Pillars is necessary to strengthen ASEAN's resilience. To this end, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam highlighted on the urgency for accelerating intra-ASEAN trade in preparing the region for post-COVID-19 recovery. 

His Majesty made the titah during the video conferences for the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 and Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19, together with other ASEAN leaders and dialogue partners, the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Both video conferences took place at Baitul Mesyuarah, Istana Nurul Iman.

The Special ASEAN Summit took place in the morning and began with the opening speech by His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist republic of Viet Nam as the ASEAN Chair for 2020.

At the Special Summit, His Majesty in a titah stated that further ASEAN Solidarity is needed in facing the unprecedented challenges brought by COVID-19.

In the Summit, leaders were presented a report from the Chairman of the ASEAN Coordinating Council on ASEAN efforts in handling the COVID-19 by His Excellency Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Leaders of ASEAN also approved several recommendations to address the COVID-19 Pandemic, which include establishing the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund; developing harmonised guidelines for response to public health emergencies; enhancing communication and cooperation to address fake news; minimising the economic impact of COVID-19; continued social protection and developing a post-pandemic recovery plan.

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His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, The Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday made a working visit to the Australian Collins Class Submarine, HMAS Dechaineux which is docked at Muara Commercial Wharf. HMAS Dechaineux is the first submarine to dock in Brunei Darussalam and is in the country from the 7th March to Monday.

Upon arrival, His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was greeted by Yang Berhormat Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yusof, Second Minister of Defence; Major General Pengiran Dato Paduka Seri Aminan bin Pengiran Haji Mahmud, Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces; Her Excellency Nicola Rosenblum, High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam and Retired Brigadier General Dato Seri Pahlawan Shahril Anwar bin Haji Ma'awiah, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.

Shortly after the arrival, His Royal Highness boarded the submarine and toured the Senior Sailors Mess; Control Room; Weapon Storage Compartment; Junior Sailors Mess; Motor Generator Room; and Machinery Control Room.

HMAS Dechaineux which is based at Fleet Base West in Western Australia is the fourth Collins Class submarine that was commissioned for service in the Royal Australian Navy on 23 February 2001.  The submarine is capable of accommodating 38 sailors and 10 Officers.  It is one of the first submarines which was designed with computers. HMAS Dechaineux also boasts a range of features including high-performance hull form, highly automated controls, high shock resistance as well as efficient weapons handling and discharge system.

At the end of the tour, His Royal Highness took a group photo and received a plaque as well as pasambah from the Chief of Navy of the Royal Australian Navy and the Commanding Officer of the HMAS Dechaineux. His Royal Highness also presented plaques to the two officers.

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The First Meeting of the 16th Legislative Council Session starts yesterday with 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 in the titah stressed on the importance of reviewing human resource policies as an effective measure to increase job opportunities and tackle unemployment issues. Towards this, His Majesty has consented for the Manpower Planning and Employment Council, MPEC to be placed at the Prime Minister's Office. His Majesty also consented for the establishment of the Temburong District Development Authority, AKDT for generating the economy and improving the quality of life for citizens and residents in Temburong District.

In the titah at the Opening Ceremony of the First Meeting of the 16th Legislative Council, His Majesty also stressed on the need for the Legislative Council to be further empowered as some of the members are more towards asking question rather than giving out ideas or proposals that makes the deliberation less interesting. In the titah, the Monarch also touches on various aspects of economy that are currently facing uncertainty, further worsened with the world geo-political unrest and the COVID-19 outbreak. However, His Majesty says the country is still capable of recording encouraging growth rate, apart from enjoying a number of reformations in the aspect of infrastructure and policies. 

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The Opening Ceremony of the First Meeting of the 16th Legislative Council session commenced with full tradition at the Dewan Majlis Building in Jalan Dewan Majlis. This marks the start of deliberations on the Supply Bill for the Financial Year 2020/2021.

Upon arrival, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was greeted by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib, Speaker of the Legislative Council.

Shortly after arriving, His Majesty received the Royal Salute mounted by 108 personnel of the Royal Brunei Police Force led by Superintendent of Police Haji Mahran bin Haji Ahmad, Parade Commanding Officer.
 
Also present were His Majesty's son and brothers:

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office as Ex-Officio Member;

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah;

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; and

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

Established according to Article 23 of the Brunei Darussalam 1959 Constitution and the members appointed according to Article 24, the Legislative Council was dissolved in 1984 and was re-established in 2004. The re-establishment was in conjunction with His Majesty's 58th birthday celebration on the 15th of July 2004.

His Majesty's arrival at Dewan Persidangan, Dewan Majlis was accompanied by the procession bringing in the Ceremonial Mace of the Legislative Council. The Members of the Legislative Council comprised of Cabinet Ministers; Titled Persons; Persons Who Have Achieved Distinction; and District Representatives who symbolise Brunei Darussalam's unity and solidarity. This is also a proof to the world that the country also practices a democratic system with the Bruneian mould through muzakarah and meetings based on the Malay Islamic Monarchy, MIB concept.

The Doa Selamat was recited by Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Doctor Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, State Mufti.

Apart from deliberating and approving the national budget, the Legislative Council session is highly significant and symbolic on the importance of the citizen's voice and aspirations, in together thinking and deciding on the nation's direction for mutual interest and well-being. The session among other matters highlights several foci such as the implementation of strategies for sustainable economic growth towards diversifying the country's economy and update all policies, regulations as well as procedures to be transparent and orderly.

Despite the current uncertain economic situation, the country is still able to record an encouraging growth rate as well as implementing several reforms in infrastructure and policies. Throughout 2019, the nation achieved a number of important accomplishments.  However, it cannot be complacent and should look far ahead. Hence, the Legislative Council Meeting will be a strategic platform for thinking of and debating matters that are needed by the people and country. 

News courtesy of Radio Television Brunei
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