Resolving delays receives full support
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
PROMINENT public figures have supported His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's views on addressing delays in completing development projects and spiritual development and education, all raised during the opening of the sixth session of the State Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting yesterday.
LegCo member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas agreed with His Majesty's concern over carrying out development projects on time, saying that proper planning is the key to resolving the issue.
"Sometimes delays are caused unnecessarily, and they can be overcome by proper planning. For example, some sites for projects are wrongly chosen as their conditions are not good for foundation (laying)," said Dato Hj Idris, an architect by trade, told The Brunei Times.
"Also, gazetting a site should be resolved administratively among the departments concerned," he added.
The LegCo member stressed that project delays created a ripple of serious, negative effects. "For example, if a school project is delayed, this could jeopardise the school's programme as it might not be implemented on time," he said.
Delay in hospital and government office building projects would not only cost the government money, but essential services would not be delivered as well, he said.
"Construction costs are always going up. So, the longer a project is delayed, the more the government has to spend," he added.
Dato Paduka Hj Idris said there would also be "less opportunities" for stakeholders involved if a project is delayed.
"Certain projects have certain priorities, and when they are delayed, (the stakeholders) may miss out on opportunities," he added.
Regarding private projects, such as shopping malls, he said delays were a setback for shop owners in selling their products. "This will affect the economy, as when they (retailers) are not able to generate income through their products, they will not be able to pay back the bank."
Attorney-General Datin Paduka Hjh Hayati POKSDSP Hj Mohd Salleh backed His Majesty's call for LegCo members to discuss only important matters, relevant to the welfare of the country and its people. She hoped that they would carry out "constructive discussions" towards national development.
"Not only from the perspective of what LegCo members can do for the people, but also of what the people can do for the country," she added.
She also lauded His Majesty for being a caring monarch, as His Majesty reminded LegCo members of their responsibilities.
"Every gentle reminder His Majesty spoke of, such as the importance of spirituality, importance of education and importance of completing incomplete projects, are all important reminders because His Majesty has spoken about these issues on many occasions. This is the kind of guidance that the Legislative Council members have to focus on," she said.
Malaysian High Commissioner to Brunei Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari liked His Majesty's focus on education and for LegCo members to come up with ideas backed by facts, adding that this was an important message.
"His Majesty had a good speech. His Majesty knows what he wants, and (from his titah) urged administrators to be serious about doing things," he added.
However, Dato' Ku Jaafar noted His Majesty made a very interesting point regarding "spirituality". His Majesty yesterday urged the LegCo members to not only focus on the country's physical development, but also its spiritual development.
"Spirituality is a natural philosophy of Brunei's Melayu Islam Beraja. We want people to practice the philosophy and know that is it wonderful and good. Spirituality must be part of the whole package," said the diplomat.
He added that when a person "advanced" in life, he must not forget his spiritual beliefs.
Pg Hj Ismail Mahmood, the well-respected architect with Perunding Alamreka Sdn Bhd, said that spirituality was not really a problem among the older generation, but was becoming more of a social concern among youths, saying that the values of religion were held in lesser regard by youngsters.
"The young people seem to take it (Islam) lightly. It's a big responsibility as a Muslim," he said.
"It is a part of you. You cannot run away from it and after all, it is our livelihood. It is our way of life," he added.
Pg Hj Ismail, who designed the LegCo building, felt that His Majesty's message was "very appropriate" and was "glad for the monarch's continuous concern of upholding Brunei's 'Islamisation".
Although short, the eight-minute royal address was meaningful, he added.
"This is the cleverness of His Majesty mentioning (issues) like this," he said.
Pg Hj Ismail also hoped that the issues raised by the monarch would be acted upon and would not be consigned to "just words of a speech".
The Brunei Times