HM tells gov’t agencies to learn from experience

, National 3 minutes, 37 seconds


POST-MORTEMS are needed to determine the extent of progress or impacts of the programme or work that has been undertaken, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, said yesterday.

In a surprise visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, His Majesty raised the question of whether any post-mortems have been done to assess the extent of progress on the departments’ functions.

“I personally am curious to know or read about the findings of these post-mortems,” His Majesty said, adding that “from the findings of the post-mortem, we can identify our weaknesses or shortcomings if any. With that, we are then able to rectify them.”

“This is what is called learning from experience. We must have the courage to ask ourselves what we have done for the country,” he added.

Touching on challenges and difficulties we face that are brought on as world conflicts become more rampant, His Majesty noted that “consequently, this warrants us to be more cautious and prudent in dealing with such situations, and for that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the one who bears the burden of handling/managing it.”

He added that if the plans are connected to security or religious law, it must first be referred to and muzakarah (discussions) must be organised with the relevant authorities.

“Do not simply carry on or issue instructions.”

The Security Department, for example, said the monarch, aims to provide security and protection that is effective, friendly, intelligent/shrewd and reliable. It is also required to cooperate with other government agencies dealing with security matters.

“It is critical that these functions are carried out correctly. Don’t just let it be only on paper. Any plan that is to be implemented must be thought out well beforehand,” he said.

“Refrain from being egoistic in the administration; comply with the regulations as others do. Let there be no regulations ignored,” he said.

On this, His Majesty gave an example of a case of regulations governing the sending of officers overseas for duty.

“There are still those who disregard this regulation. If a regulation requires something, it must be strictly observed unless the regulation has been revised or revoked. In short, all ministries and agencies must comply with the prescribed regulations. No one is permitted to be exempted from them because this goes to show that we are a civilised nation equipped with discipline and new regulations in place,” he said.

Speaking about discipline and regulations, the Department of Protocol and Consulate Affairs is also relevant, His Majesty said.

The department serves as the coordinator for state visits and official visits overseas. As the coordinator, it is important to observe the procedures and conduct of visits, he said.

For instance, frequently there are many places of interests that can be visited. The protocol department has the prerogative to choose or propose places that are suitable to be included in the visits.

“If there are any suggestions from the host country (on the places of interest to be visited), it is not proper for the protocol department to flatly accept or agree with what has been proposed without taking into consideration as to its suitability.

“Or let’s say, the host country did not give any choices (on places of interests to visit), typically we are given the freedom to choose according to what is suitable for us, what can be a problem here is when we ourselves do not initiate discussions or are not ready to make an assessment as to the suitability on the options available.

“We cannot look at it through the perspective of political or bilateral relations alone, but we also look at other perspectives, such as religion or culture.

“This is important because we are a nation steeped in akidah (belief), culture and tradition. All of these must be taken into consideration, if you do not know, do not hesitate to ask those who are in the know,” he said.

“Are we not a team? Why are the philosophies of teamwork not practised? In a team, there is no one person that is regarded as more special than the other, especially on matters related to managing policies. We all have equal responsibility in upholding the interests of the country,” he said.

The Brunei Times