Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Health (MoH), said this as he spoke at the Inaugural Convocation Ceremony for Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy yesterday.
"This truly is a giant leap for the Oral Health Services in the country because for the first time the Ministry of Health is able to produce our own local dental hygienists who are capable of meeting the high standards that are set by King's College, London, which is an internationally renowned institution for dental education," the minister said.
"This is a significant first step towards being self-reliant in producing dental therapists to meet our dental human capital target.
"This strategy is in line with the policy of the Ministry of Health, which is to increase the accessibility and availability of oral healthcare to all Bruneians, with emphasis on education and prevention.
"It also meets one of the Dental Department's main goals of optimising accessibility of Oral Health Services to the community, as clearly spelled out in the Oral Health Agenda 2008-2012," said the minister.
The ceremony was held by the Department of Dental Services, Ministry of Health, and took place at the Dewan Utama of the Royal Brunei Polo & Riding Club in Jerudong, and saw eight graduates receiving their Diplomas for Dental Hygiene and Therapy after completing a three-year course, which was organised by the Department of Dental Services with the cooperation of King's College in London.
The Minister of Health was the guest of honour at the event. Also present were Deputy Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Haji Awang Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Dato Paduka Haji Abd Salam bin Abd Momin, Permanent Secretary at the MoH, and Haji Daud bin Haji Mahmud, Permanent Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Education.
Also present were director generals, directors, chief executive officers, senior officers, graduates and their families.
"The treatment of tooth decay in children can now be carried out by dental therapists and the majority of gum diseases can be treated by dental hygienists," said the minister.
"It is more cost effective to train dental hygienists/therapists rather than dentists to provide simple treatment for dental caries and periodontal disease, which are the major oral health needs of the population here," the minister said.
The minister also revealed that there are presently nine trainees in the second cohort who are undergoing the same training and are set to graduate next year.
"Further intake of candidates into the training programme will continue in the future with the recruitment of 10 trainees per year in order to meet the targeted ratio of dental therapist to population aged 18 years and under at 1:800."
According to the minister, as this is the estimated dental manpower required to meet the oral health needs of Brunei's younger population, the initiation of "this innovative programme is fully justifiable not only from the health perspective but also from the social point of view".
"It is important to remember that such local training opportunity will undoubtedly attract others who are looking for careers in dentistry and therefore will provide our youth with more career choices and offer them an excellent opportunity to be associated with the health profession."
The minister then spoke of how "the Dental Department must ensure its sustainability including the availability of various essential resources, finance, manpower, related infrastructures and equipment" now that the training programme has started.
"One option is of rendering the training programme to be more cost-effective is to consider collaboration with other institutions in the country such as the Institute of Medicine, UBD."
The minister also spoke of "the possibility of further developing and advancing the local training programme in the future", where having local training facilities available would allow a flexible training protocol to be "incorporated into the core curriculum so that various training options may be made available to cater to the training needs of the other categories of operating and non-operating dental ancillaries".
"In addition, once the training programme is firmly established, the option of admitting international students, especially those from the Asia-Pacific region, may be explored," added Pehin Suyoi.
"This will enhance the spirit of mutual cooperation between the Asean countries and will definitely raise the status of Brunei Darussalam as a centre for academic excellence and as a direct contributor to oral health in the region and internationally." (Borneo Bulletin)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Despite having already agreed to take part during the head of delegates meeting for the 3rd Borneo Games at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on Oct 10, the Federal Territory of Labuan sent a letter stating its non-participation.
The letter did not state any reason for the withdrawal. After the news in the last meeting that the Brunei Darussalam Football Association had been suspended by FIFA, Malaysian teams from Sabah and Sarawak had declined although the Borneo Games has no affiliation with AFC or FIFA.
With only Brunei and Kalimantan participating in the football event, it does not have the mandatory three teams to compete. Without football, this year's Borneo Games will comprise nine sporting events badminton, lawn bowling, cue sports, gasing (top spinning), hockey, athletics, pencak silat, sepak takraw and tennis.
Athletes from Sabah, Sarawak, the Federal Territory of Labuan, Kalimantan and Malacca, the host of Sukma 2010, and host Brunei will be contesting in nine events. (Borneo Bulletin)
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Brunei has its season of fruits and this year, we seem to have a bumper crop. The trees are laden with rambutans, taraps, longans and durians.
When roadside fruit stalls spring up every few hundred yards along Brunei's major roads, you know it's fruit season in Brunei. The local fruits are succulent, nutritious and delicious. Health food never tasted so good.
Everyone has their own favourite fruit, but there is no doubt that durian, "the king of fruits", is Brunei's favourite. It has a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of a great many Bruneians. The seeds of the durian can also be eaten, but you must cook them first. We had a durian at home yesterday. I hope to be able to move back into my house in a couple of days!
My personal favourite is the rambutan or hairy fruit. They seem to be extra juicy this year. My wife told me that the seeds can be eaten raw.
After eating one, I decided to check that out. According to Wikipedia, the seed is mildly poisonous when raw, but can be eaten when cooked. Well, so much for that! I hope I last long enough to see this article in print. (Borneo Bulletin)
Friday, October 23, 2009
In the past week alone, the section said it received 300 new applications with many searching for jobs in administration, but most of the unemployed still prefer to work in the public sector.
However, according to Haji Mohd Ideni Hj Ahmad, Assistant Commissioner of Labour, locals are slowly but steadily opening up and are taking up opportunities provided by the private sector.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Hj Mohd Ideni said most private companies working in cooperation with the local employment section in search of employees look at an applicant's willingness to work more than his/her qualification.
"An applicant's willingness to work is one of the major driving factors that an employer considers in a potential candidate. Even if an applicant has a primary six qualification, but if he/she is determined and willing to work, it catches the employer's attention.
"It's a different story if the position offered requires high qualification and an under qualified applicant applies," he quickly added.
He said the Local Employment Section is trying to create awareness not only among job seekers but also the private sector.
Hj Mohd Ideni urged those in the private sector to inform the section on jobs that they offer.
Commenting on the employment figures, the assistant commissioner said of the 4,700 applicants it received throughout the year until August, only 189 got jobs in the private sector.
"It's hard to state the actual figures. The 189 could be under-calculated because some employment-seeking cardholders do not inform us once they get jobs. So, we do not know if the numbers are higher," he added.
Hj Mohd Ideni also advised private companies to look into the public-private partnership initiative as it would help job seekers find employment directly or indirectly.
Yesterday, the Bulletin witnessed first hand the high demand for employment at the Job Centre in the capital. Unemployed locals were seen sending in applications, queuing in long lines waiting to get interviewed while some were looking at advertisements on the bulletin board for vacancies.
The Job Centre, which is now located in the capital behind the Brunei Hotel, was relocated in September 2008 from its previous place at the Immigrations headquarters.
The centre's functions include counselling, training, advertising and interviewing job seekers. (Borneo Bulletin)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Guest singer Uji Rashid
Bintang Radio previous winners
(From left: Isamudin, Ampuan Rosnahwati, Ampuan Nur Hafizah Hanum & Khairul Nazri)
In the men's category, Ak Shahminan Pg Ahmad claimed first place for a crowd pleasing performance, winning himself $2,000 and a trophy.
His performance received a standing ovation from the audience as he sang Menyulam Kasih.
Second prize went to Mohd Ruzaimi Mohamad, 21, while third prize went to a member of the Royal Brunei Police Force, Hj Zul Azmi Hj Mohin.
In the female category, Nuraqilah Maidin gained herself the title of the top female singer of the night's competition after belting the song Burung Pungguk.
The female singer also won similar prizes to Ak Shahminan for her efforts.
Suzann Maidin was named first runner-up of this year's contest while 20-year-old Siti Fairuz Hj Ibrahim grabbed a safe spot at third place.
The first runners-up of both categories received trophies and cash prizes of $1,500 whereas the second runners-up received $1000 and trophies. Consolation prizes of $800 and trophies were also given to the remaining finalists.
On hand to present the awards to the winners was the guest of honour at the event, Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, Pg Abdul Hails Pg Hj Shahbudin.
Ak Shahminan and Nuraqilah will be representing Brunei at the Nyanyian Bintang Klasik Nusantara 2009 which will be hosted by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) in Kuala Lumpur next month.
Previous winners of Bintang Radio of recent years, Mohd Khairul Nazri Hj Johari, Ampuan Nur Hafizah Hanun Ampuan Hj Yaakub, Ampuan Rosnahwati Ampuan Hj Yaakub and Isamuddin Samsudin were also present last night to perform during the finals prior to the announcement of this year's champions.
The audience was also treated to guest performances by Malaysia's evergreen singer Uji Rashid, who sang several of her own hits of the 70s and sang duets with each of the past Bintang Radio champions.
In a statement by RTB's Acting Director Pg Hj Mahari Pg Hj Abd Rajak, this is the eighth year that the Bintang Radio contest has been held since its revival in 2002. (The Brunei Times)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Successful applicants who were promised a cut of the multi-million-dollar financial aid from Zakat collection finally had their share banked into their bank accounts yesterday.
In His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's Titah last Wednesday, the monarch said that these shares were meant to lessen the burden of the less fortunate by providing them with a better, more comfortable life.
From as early as 6.30am yesterday, people armed with files of certificates and documents stating their entitlement had gathered outside a bank in the capital.
When asked what she would do with the extra money, Dayang Rosnah of Kampong Ayer told the Bulletin that her priority was to buy food and supplies for her house.
"I will also use the money to settle my debts," she said.
An elderly man, Awang Abdullah, express his gratitude to Allah the Almighty and His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for easing his burden.
"It has been a while since I had this much money on hand," said the 68-year-old man as he flicked some 50-dollar notes. "Some of this will be used to pay off my debts, while the rest will be kept for a rainy day."
A single mother of two, Hjh Rokiah of Berakas, meanwhile, said that she would receive $30,000 in financial aid from the fund.
However, there were a few sad faces, as they were not able to withdraw the money from the bank due to "procedural mistakes". Some had attempted to withdraw the money from account that was currently under the name of the head of family, either their mother or father.
Bank staff reassured the Bulletin that this matter could easily be resolved as long as the head of family can write a letter authorising one of their relatives to withdraw the money on their behalf.
Some people who visited the bank early yesterday morning were saddened to hear that their accounts had not been updated. They were told to come back after noon to see if the money had been banked into their respective accounts.
However, many people are still confused as to how much they would be allowed to withdraw each month.
It is understood that the funds that are banked into their resistive accounts can only be withdrawn each month to the amount of no more than 1/12 (one-twelfth), 1/36, 1/48 or 1/60 depending on their category.
"I'm still in the dark about this arrangement," said Shamsuddin, a retiree who was told by a bank staff that he was not allowed to withdraw more than $1,000 yesterday.
Understandably, this is one of the mechanisms to prevent any of the recipients form spending the money like water.
His Majesty expressed his hope that the recipients of the shares would use the funds wisely and "avoid an extravagant and wasteful lifestyle" in last Wednesday's titah, which was delivered during a presentation ceremony for the 4,084 heads of families from the poor community.
Out of the 4,084, 2,313 were from Brunei-Muara District, 573 from Tutong, 749 from Belait and 259 from Temburong. Some 190 people were categorised under the al-Gharimin (debt-ridden) category.
The Bulletin has learnt that with the Zakat or monthly assistance, the 4,084 families will no longer be categorised as "poor" and will be removed from any list for the next couple of years.
The financial assistance should be sufficient to cover their basic foodstuff necessities, daily spending money, their children's education and rent for housing.
Meanwhile, recipients from the al-Gharimin category will be receiving funds to settle their outstanding housing debts up to January 31, 2009.
According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the outstanding housing debt stood at $2,325,296.38, and the money is owed to Housing Development Department, Ministry of Development and Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation. (Borneo Bulletin).
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Bandar Seri Begawan - "Today, a historic chapter is being written tinted in gold for our country, as we now move towards freeing ourselves from poverty," said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday.
His Majesty delivered his titah during the ceremony to distribute documents of Zakat funds to the poor community (asnaf Fakir Miskin) and those who suffer from debt (al-Gharimin) at the International Contention Centre, Berakas.
"I see this ceremony not only magnificent in its aim, but also representing an important history that is very meaningful to us all and for the country," said the monarch, who earlier in the year had made a call to eradicate poverty in the Sultanate, which was dubbed the 'Vision 2035'.
"This is not just being done for the sake of doing so, but through a carefully thought out plan, which has been coupled further with hope and with our capability of doing so," the monarch added.
"Should what is to be carried out shortly truly fulfil the complete requirements for the poor community? Once I have duly distributed the Zakat financial documents to the recipients, the country, in that particular moment, can truly be labeled as free from poverty," His Majesty said.
"Praise be to Allah, let us all together now accept this as reality and no longer a dream. Allah the Almighty knows of our intentions, which are in line with His teachings, and will therefore fulfil our intentions, much more than our expectations."
But His Majesty, ever the caring monarch and benevolent ruler, underscored the possibility that there may still be among his subjects, those that have yet to be accounted for in the list of the poor.
"If there are still any individuals that have been left out, who consider themselves eligible, then their plight must be brought forward to the respective authorities for consideration. These respective authorities will determine whether they fit the criteria of Fakir Miskin or otherwise.
"It would be normal after this ceremony that there would still be grievances from the aforementioned individuals, and this would not be seen as a black mark to dampen this new history that we are achieving today".
However, the monarch also lay particular emphasis on "the respective authorities that are carrying out the collections and distribution of Zakat must take on a more in-tuned and proactive attitude in monitoring and evaluating the needs of the community that are considered to be eligible for Zakat".
His Majesty warned them that they should not just simply wait for the applicants to come forward, "as not all of them are capable of doing so, or that even some of them might possibly not be aware of how or who to go about it".
This, the monarch pointed out further "would no doubt add further emphasis to the roles and responsibilities of our community leaders, such as the appointed legislative members, Penghulus and village leaders".
But as the supreme head of religion in this Islamic state, the monarch also called for patience "to those that are still being processed and evaluated, whether they came forward to apply on their own or otherwise, must therefore fulfil and accept each assessment by the concerned authorities, because those assessments have been carried out based on the proper guidelines and measures".
To the more than 4,000 recipients of the Zakat financial documents, His Majesty had these simple words of advice: "We hope that you will utilise your respective shares wisely and purposefully, by avoiding an extravagant and wasteful lifestyle. Those shares are meant to help you provide for a better and more comfortable life. You are now no longer labeled as Fakir Miskin, at least for the specified time".
The monarch also urged them to use this golden opportunity to the fullest, not just for their own sake but also for the sake of their children and their children's children. "And it would also be conceivable that amongst their numbers there will be some of them that will no longer want to look back, but with new-found determined ambitions, as well as with wise planning, they can continue to prosper without requiring the support of Zakat.
"Let us all give thanks and prayers to Allah the Almighty that we and our country continue to receive His blessings, live in peace, safety and prosperity, full of faith and penitence for all time," His Majesty said before wrapping up his momentous titah that has paved the way forward for making his personal dreams and hopes of eradicating poverty for all present and future generations of Bruneians a tangible reality. (Borneo Bulletin)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
HM upon arrival
...oooh, Jalil Yusof doing an interview...
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
According to the press release, a total of 4,084 heads of poor and debt-ridden families nationwide will receive the Zakat funds distribution documents. The figure comprises those that have qualified and are listed as Zakat recipients until July 31, this year.
The press release also stated that the Coordination Committee for the Distribution Ceremony is requesting that all the respective recipients to attend the function at the venue before 7am on Wednesday with their invitation cards and their individual passes that have already been distributed to them.
The attendance of every respective recipient is required at the distribution ceremony, the press release emphasised.
The event signals the tangible response to the numerous queries posed by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam about the distribution of funds from the Zakat collections to those in need.
According to previous figures cited, the total collection of Zakat as of 2004 stood at $239,631,073. But five years on, figure must have increased.
The distribution of the Zakat funds comes under the responsibility of the Islamic Religious Council, which directly assesses, manages and distributes the funds. As such, with the staggering amount that was cited way back in 2004, the Islamic Religious Council has a huge role and responsibility to ensure that the Zakat funds are completely, fairly and systematically distributed to every single member who falls within the six categories of the poor, as prescribed by Islam.
Islam advocates that there are six categories that are entitled to receive the Zakat funds, which include the poor community (Fakir Miskin), tithe collectors, Muslim converts (Muallaf), and the redemption of slavery, Fisabilillah, Ibnus Sabil and debt-ridden families (al-Gharimin). (Borneo Bulletin).