New Islamic University
By Lyna Mohamad

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam in his New Year Titah last night announced the establishment of an Islamic University called the University Islam Sharif Ali. This in effect will be the second university in the Sultanate.

In the titah His Majesty underscored the importance of education to human development.

As a small developing nation, the country will not neglect human development in a wider meaning and the platform of this development is education where it will continue to be inculcated and developed. It must be superior and stand strong in line with the nation's aspiration the Sultan added.

The establishment of this university is hoped to be a symbol of Islamic glory in the country and hopefully will also play a role in producing Muslim scholars and intellectuals that the nation needs. The first batch of students for the university will hopefully enter sometime in August 2007.

Extending a New Year greeting to his loyal subjects and residents, His Majesty also recorded his appreciation to all levels in the Civil Services, Security Organisations as well as those working in the private sector for all their sincere efforts in implementing their respective duties and responsibilities.

His Majesty noted that we all have witnessed other nations that are continuously experiencing crises and pandemonium while Brunei on the other hand has avoided it.

It is therefore the government's hope to see its citizens happy and prosperous and this can only be achieved when a nation is secure and peaceful.

Government efforts to upgrade the citizens' living standards will also be easily implemented in a harmonious environment and full of solidarity. It is this nation's advantage that we should be grateful for, His Majesty stated.

As planned, we will continue to increase the efforts in developing the nation.

Our development strategy is one that is balanced between physical and spiritual elements that must run parallel for the well being of everyone. This balanced development will not disappoint anyone, His Majesty added.

"We wish to see the fruits of our hard work being benefited by the next generation as they are the ones who will continue the development and they are also future heirs of the continuity of the nations' glory".

The public services, in this regard need to evaluate its performances, as they are the prime movers for the nation's development. Its role is not only to provide services but also as a facilitator for nation's development.

His Majesty also reminded the public services to be customer friendly particularly in ensuring the private sector to play a more active role in developing the nation's economy.

His Majesty expressed hope that 2007 will provide opportunities to enhance and improve services to the public. At the same time His Majesty called upon the private sector to be bolder in crossing borders and explore wider and bigger market opportunities.

"Our country has established various bilateral ties that can be a foundation in expanding network and find new markets", the monarch said.

This is necessary as the current global business development force us to be more open and bold. As a result, private sector needs to be competitive and dynamic.

Touching on the country's international relations, the beloved monarch noted that the sultanate will continue to be involved with world organisations such as the United Nations, ASEAN, OIC and others.

Brunei will continue to hold on to the method of settling things through dialogue as the best alternative in facing whatever issues, particularly towards avoiding disputes. - Borneo Bulletin (1st January 2007)