Crown MIPR receives Crown Prince
By Liza Mohd & Sonia K

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, made working visits to departments and project sites under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) yesterday morning.

MIPR serves as the focal organisation to actively promote, facilitate and accelerate economic diversification with particular emphasis on the development of productive industries for the well-being of Brunei Darussalam.

The locations in the itinerary included forestry centre, manufacturing, fisheries and agriculture sectors in the Belait and Tutong districts.

At the BLNG helipad, His Royal Highness was greeted by the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, deputy minister and permanent secretaries.

His Royal Highness first visited the Brunei Forestry Centre in Sungai Liang where the Director of Forestry Awang Haji Saidin bin Salleh delivered a briefing on the historical background, its functions and other facilities within the complex, which includes the National Herbarium internationally known as BRUN.

The Brunei Forestry Centre started operation in 1986 and plays a vital role in centralising implementation of the forest development programmes and activities. The centre also trains forestry staffs to equip them with technical knowledge and experience on forestry core duties.

The Brunei Forestry Centre complex also includes the Forestry Museum and Sungai Liang Recreational Forest Park (Arboretum), which are among the main tourist attraction sites in the Belait District.

From the conference room, His Royal Highness was brought to tour the centre's library and training section and later to the Brunei Forestry Centre's National Herbarium or BRUN where His Royal Highness closely observed the state-of-the-art facilities and activities carried out by the staff.

BRUN fully operated in 2000 to provide scientific reference for variety of plants species found in Brunei Darussalam for the purpose of research and development in the related field. It also collaborates with other regional researchers and international herbarium institutes for information exchange such as Royal Botanic Garden, United Kingdom, Singapore Botanical Garden, Leiden Rijkshebarium, Netherlands, Havard University Herbaria USA, Sabah and Sarawak Herbarium.

BRUN has a capacity of storing 100,000 plant specimen units. At present, it has a total of 26,000 collection units, some of which are endemic to Brunei Darussalam. The oldest specimen collected is in 1935 and BRUN manages to preserve it in a good condition.

His Royal Highness ended the visit to the Brunei Forestry Centre in Sungai Liang with a photography session with the Forestry Department's officials and personnel.

Later His Royal Highness proceeded to visit Syarikat Kerjasama Persatuan Ikatan Melayu Telisai (PRIMET), a cooperation company in Kampong Telisai, Tutong, .

The PRIMET in cooperation with 86 members operates a bus transportation service with a total investment of B$122,950 under the Brunei Industrial Development Authority (BINA).

Next, the Crown Prince took a closer look at the 495-hectre Phase 11 Telisai site for prawn breeding, which is a Fisheries Department project under the Ninth National Development Plan.

The project of breeding prawns in ponds is based on the environmental friendly concept and is expected to be launched by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The site has already been openly offered to members of the public interested in operating prawn-breeding farms in the area and applications are currently evaluated.

The site is expected to produce results in the year 2009 with the potential of reproducing 2,500 metric tonnes of prawns annually at an estimated value of B$24 million.

In the early phase, the Fisheries Department provides general infrastructure such as road entrance and electrical station to the said area. Meanwhile the sea water supply system is currently being carried out and is expected to be completed in July next year with a total cost of B$11.5 million.

Other facilities provided include internal electrical supply, clean water supply, telecommunication supply and an area surrounded with fence gazetted to the Fisheries Department. The long term project with IAI Company is 'To Stipulate Shrimp Farming in Brunei through Advanced Technology and Niche Marketing' which will be executed in February next year with the purpose of substantiating the production of giant-sized prawns.

The main production from prawn breeding in the area is intended for export market to America, Japan and Taiwan.

The Crown Prince then continued his working visit to Serambangun Industrial Complex in the Tutong district, where he visited Sabli Food Industries (B) Sdn Bhd and ATH Garments Sdn Bhd.

Sabli Food Industries Sdn Bhd was founded in 1985 and is a member of Sabli Group of Companies. Upon establishment, the company began its production of spices and flour-based food products including coffee and the tarik. Then in 2001, the company pioneered into the production of canned food. A year later the production of cordial drinks and sauces began. The company managed to obtain its product from SIRIM Bhd Malaysia for chicken curry and chicken rendang.

Its mission is to become a major producer of halal food locally and to play a significant role in the regional and global halal market.

Later His Royal Highness visited ATH Garments located within the industrial complex area. ATH-Garments Sdn Bhd, a local joint venture company, was incorporated in Brunei in January 1998. Its vision is to establish ATH-Garments Sdn Bhd as one of the industrial leaders in the company's related business and to grow in line with the country's aspirations in terms of social and economic development.

Its objectives is to complement the company's aspiration to participate in the development of garment industry in Brunei, in an attempt to serve as the major source of garment products for the export markets, incorporating the following philosophy that is to accompany significant economic contribution to the country, to achieve long term growth of the company, to attain a satisfactory rate of return from its investment, to participate in the strategic sectors of the Brunei economy, to protect the interest and welfare of our future generation and to create opportunities for employment and business expansion.

His Royal Highness ended the working visit at Kumpulan Harapan Baru Chicken Rearing Farm in Kampong Luagan Timbaran, Mukim Kiudang, Tutong District. Upon arrival, His Royal Highness was greeted by Ong Chek Thiam, Manager of Kumpulan Harapan Baru and was then briefed on the farm before heading to check out the chicken-rearing farm.

Accompanying His Royal Highness during the working visit were deputy minister at the Prime Minister's Office and permanent secretaries. (21st Dec 2006)