‘No plans to set up welfare ministry’

National 1 minute, 57 seconds


THERE are no plans to set up a specific ministry for social welfare as the existing structure within the ministry of culture, youth and sports is sufficient enough to tackle these issues, its minister said yesterday.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof added the ministry has been adopting the whole government and society approach in addressing social issues, particularly through the existing National Council on Social Issues.

The minister explained the National Council on Social Issues comprises various ministries and relevant stakeholders, such as the ministry of finance; ministry of religious affairs; ministry of education; ministry of home affairs as well as non-government organisations particularly the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB).

The council collectively addresses welfare issues, and the minister said they will further improve their efforts in tackling social issues.

The minister was responding to Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Datin Paduka Hjh Salbiah Hj Sulaiman, on her proposal to have social issues here tackled by a new ministry of social welfare.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Halbi said other neighbouring countries do have such a specific ministry in handling social and family-related issues. However in Brunei’s context, the minister said the existing ministry and having the National Council on Social Issues were sufficient enough. Apart from the National Council on Social Issues, family-related issues and social issues are addressed by the Community Development Department (JAPEM) under the ministry.

Meanwhile, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Kerna Dato Paduka Seri Hj Yaakub Pehin Orang Kaya Maharaja Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Zainal questioned what efforts were in place to eradicate poverty, as well as the results from a study undertaken by a special committee on poverty issues in Brunei.

In response, the minister said eradicating poverty here is a priority, and that poverty is one of the 12 issues under the National Council on Social Issues. YB Pehin Dato Hj Halbi added the issue on poverty is also coordinated by at least six special committees within the council.

Regarding the results of the study on poverty, the minister said 100 individuals had been identified within a target group to get out of the poverty cycle.

However, YB Pehin Dato Hj Halbi said he would elaborate and reveal more on the study soon.

The Brunei Times