By Azlan Othman
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his New Year 2006 Titah last night said that the nation should explore more ways especially in the field of employment.
In delivering his 2006 Titah which was broadcast nationwide from Istana Nurul Iman, His Majesty highlighted that his government will continue to take steps to diversify the economy and strive to increase the revenues of the private sector.
"Brunei, like the rest of the world on the whole, is not spared from facing economic challenges. To answer such challenges, my government will continue to diversify the country's economy whilst at the same time stepping-up efforts to increase private sector revenues.
"The objective of private sector's economic activities is to strengthen such sectors as well as to generate more employment opportunities for locals," the Sultan said.
The monarch touched especially on employment, reminding the people that unemployment, which is the nation's enemy, is a 'complex' that could affect social stability.
"Hence, my government will not stop finding ways through various efforts to overcome unemployment, including enhancing the role of the private sector in providing new job-opportunities."
"With such opportunities, it will lessen job reliance on the public sector. We should explore new ways, especially in the field of employment. The more job opportunities available, the better. It signifies that we are creative people. Only creative people are eligible to inherit progress and civilisation," the Sultan said.
His Majesty also said with blessings from Allah, we are able to enter 2006 peacefully and with prosperity.
"Peace and prosperity are the two valuable rewards for a nation, without which life becomes meaningless. Hence, efforts to uphold peace and prosperity should become the main agenda.
"As usual, every new year poses various challenges that force us to intensify our alertness. From 2005 to 2006, the world is expected to be plagued with pandemic threats especially bird flu.
"Praise to Allah, we in Brunei are free from such a threat. This is as a result of our prayers in addition to the steps taken by various authorities. However, we should not take such pandemic lightly as it goes beyond human will. It happens not only today but has a long time ago. The influenza virus in 1918 killed millions of people worldwide.
"Hence, I take this matter seriously and I want all parties to take a forward-looking action as a preparation to face all sorts of possibilities. This has also driven me to establish a national committee which is chaired by (His Royal Highness) Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, especially to tackle such threat."
- Borneo Bulletin
(1st Jan 2006)