Shut the doors on corruption
By Za'im Zaini

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called on his subjects to close the doors on corruption and urged them to be creative to attain progress.

In his titah on the eve of the New Year, the monarch said that despite active development among many countries in the world, social ills and poverty still grip them.

There are surely mistakes and reasons (behind such social ills and poverty), His Majesty said and added that one of the reasons is corruption.

"With corruption all mechanism will become weak. When the mechanism becomes weak, all development will become distorted," said His Majesty.

"If this is true, it is a warning for us to shun corruption. Do not assume that 'petty corruption' is acceptable.

"Remember the risks, be it small or big, it is an illness that can affect the nation.

"A nation that is overwhelmed with corruption becomes an ineffective country," said the Sultan.

His Majesty thus emphasised the need for all doors on corruption to be closed.

"When we are clean from corruption, Allah the Almighty will surely bless our country and us," His Majesty added.

"In relation to this, all civil servants should shoulder the responsibility to ensure that this aspiration is achieved. They cannot shirk from leading and providing awareness to the people on this issue.

"They must lead by example as they are the managers and administrators. If they are clean, the government will also be clean," the Sultan said.

The monarch hoped strategies that have been planned will be made effective and won't remain on paper, especially if the "implementing engine" has problems or has long had problems trying to implement them.

His Majesty expressed his confidence that Brunei is not trapped in a morass.

On strengthening international ties, the ruler said that while we are organising and reviewing ourselves, the relations with world bodies or organisations must also be strengthened.

"This is important to maintain working relationships in various fields including to assist in finding opportunities in trade and promoting Brunei products overseas, especially in the BIMP EAGA," His Majesty said.

The monarch expressed his gratefulness to Allah the Almighty that we have entered the New Year in an encouraging environment.

"We bid farewell to 2007 with comfort," said His Majesty.

"We aspire to make 2008 a 'Tahun Bahagia' or 'Happy Year': the year of peace and prosperity like the previous years."

His Majesty urged everyone to start the year with hard work instead of being just "on lookers" and fill it up with programmes that are beneficial to all.

"We have to be creative in producing anything that needs to be produced, improve anything that needs improvement and enhance what needs to be enhanced. Through this concept the country will progress.

"We progress with others with the use of resources and the mechanism we have," added His Majesty.

"The development will be special or extraordinary if we succeed in placing it on a proper and safe platform and away from being polluted by negative behaviour or acts of human deceit," the Sultan noted.

Before concluding the titah, His Majesty expressed his appreciation to all in the public sector, security forces, and those in the private sector for their sincere efforts in implementing their duties and responsibilities.

The beloved ruler also extended his and members of the royal family's New Year 2008 wishes to the people and residents of the country. - Borneo Bulletin (1st Jan 2008)