Poverty line, pension among social issues raised
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
SEVERAL studies have already been done to establish a set poverty line for Brunei Darussalam, but results so far are inconclusive.
This was said by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Mohammad Hj Daud in response to queries raised by members of State Legislative Council yesterday.
The meeting yesterday raised several issues with regards to the social standing of people from various levels of the Bruneian society under the dialogue sessions of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
One of these issues is Brunei's poverty line.
According to Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad, the Belait district representative, to his knowledge, there is a poverty line in Brunei but it has yet to be announced.
He urged the Department of Community Development under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to review the guidelines with regard to this matter to ensure that it is reviewed and updated according to current times.
In response, Pehin Dato Hj Mohammad said that several relevant agencies and departments have already been carrying out research to establish Brunei's poverty line.
The Department of Economic Development and Planning, said the minister, has supported such research initiative, while Universiti Brunei Darussalam also carried out research on the topic.
However, the results were incomplete and were unfit to be used to establish Brunei's poverty line, according to the minister.
Shafiee Ahmad also raised the issue of the pension funds effective since 1955, praising it as one effort among several to recognise the contribution of senior citizens to the development of the Brunei economy.
According to the member, among the categories for pension applicants were 60 years old and over, residing in Brunei for 10 years or more for those who were born in Brunei or an obligation of residing for 30 years for those born outside of Brunei; and none leaving the country for more than three months.
Shafiee raised the concern of cases of pension recipients who were permanent residents of Brunei but have left the country yet are still receiving pension.
According to the member, they come back to Brunei just to pick up the pension, and leave again.
The minister, however, clarified that the pensions of such recipients have been discontinued.
Meanwhile, Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad from the Temburong district raised the issue of efforts in preserving Brunei's cultural heritage and art.
He raised the possibility establishing a cultural centre, among other reasons, to boost the tourism sector.
The minister responded by highlighting that a cultural centre is in the pipelines.
The recognition of cultural artists who have contributed to Brunei's art scene is also in the plans, he added.
Activities within the ministry such as cultural dances are also ensured and encouraged to preserve its originality.
The Brunei Times