Development ministry under royal scrutiny
By Amin Hosni & Azrol Azmi

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday consented to visit the Town and Country Planning Department, Land Department, Survey Department and the Housing Development Department, which come under the Ministry of Development.

The Crown Prince was greeted on arrival by the Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah; Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Eusoff Agaki; and Deputy Minister of Development, Dato Paduka Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny.

Also present to greet the Crown Prince was the Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Abu Bakar; Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) Awang Haji Mohd Said; Permanent Secretary (Administration and Finance) Awang Haji Brahim; Commissioner of Town and Country Planning, Awang Kok Seng; Surveyor General, Awang Haji Mohd Jamil; Acting Land Commissioner, Pengiran Haji Abd Wahab; officers and staff from various departments.

HRH the Crown Prince visited the Town and Country Planning Department first and was briefed on the history, organisation structure, functions, role and strategic planning by the Commissioner of Town and Country Planning.

The Town and Country Planning Department plays a role in organising 'spatial' plans as a guide for land progress and development, as well as to control the use of land or building in areas that are under the administration of the 'Pihak Berkuasa Yang Layak Kawalan Kemajuan'.

The Crown Prince visited various sections and was briefed on each section's roles which is to ensure the use of land to its optimum by preparing plans and development schemes and duties of controllers and land and building development enforcers.

At the Survey Department, HRH was welcomed by Surveyor General, Awang Haji Mohd Jamil Haji Mohd Ali.

HRH took a closer look at the Land Development Section, GIS Mapping Section, Information and Communication Technology Section, Geodetic Section, Cadastral Section and administration while being briefed by the Surveyor General on each division's functions and roles.

The Survey Department's goals are to provide international standard Geomatic services to facilitate planning, development and administration for the Sultanate's land and maritime affairs in supporting the Ministry of Development's vision.

HRH then visited the Land Department where he was welcomed by the Acting Commissioner of Land, Pengiran Haji Abd Wahab bin Pengiran Haji Hassan.

The Land Department plays an important role in organising a system of land administration with quality, efficiency and effectiveness.

The Land Department is also responsible in evaluating land, its price, taxes and heritage and other taxes. The department makes sure taxes are collected effectively and systematically, as well as to ascertain that land is used in accordance to the rules under land laws for optimum benefit towards the government and the public.

HRH also toured various sections of the department such as property registration and real estate business, land registration, preparing paper work for land affairs for deliberations, receiving rents and land profits, investigation of development and usage of land, evaluation of prices for land and properties for the government, give out temporary licence, sand and gravel permits.

His Royal Highness also visited the administration section that deals with public complaints among others.

HRH the Crown Prince also visited the Brunei-Muara Land Office before touring the Housing Development Department.

The Crown Prince was greeted by the Director of the Housing Development Department, Haji Mat Salleh bin Haji Matusin and was briefed on the background and organisational structure of the department, its roles and responsibilities and the National Housing Plan projects.

HRH was also briefed on the e-SIKAP, which is one of the e-government projects of the Ministry of Development implemented by the Housing Development Department in its effort to integrate information digitally and to enable members of the public to communicate through its website. The project is 55 per cent complete.

HRH the Crown Prince ended yesterday's working visit with a mass Zohor prayer and a luncheon with government officers of the Ministry of Development at one of the hotels in Jerudong. - Borneo Bulletin (12th July 2007)