Friday, February 12, 2016

Business Licenses for 7 Categories Not Required

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs Hj Mohd Abdoh Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Salam (R) and Deputy Permanent Secretary Hj Mohd Sunadi Hj Buntar (L) at a press conference. Picture: BT/Koo Jin Shen

Koo Jin Shen
Friday, February 12, 2016

SEVEN business activities scheduled under the Business Licence Act are now exempt from the rule requiring a business licence, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced.

The activities are:

(1) Eateries, 
(2) Boarding and lodging houses or other places of public resort; 
(3) Street vendors and stalls; 
(4) Motor vehicle dealers; 
(5) Petrol stations including places for storing petrol and inflammable material; 
(6) Timber store and furniture factories; and 
(7) Retail shops and workshops.
In a press conference held at the ministry headquarters yesterday, senior ministry officials announced the changes, noting these were initiatives to promote a pro-business and business-friendly environment in Brunei.

These seven business activities made up of about 80 per cent of the overall business activities in Brunei, said deputy permanent secretary Hj Mohammad Sunadi Hj Buntar.

“Like retail shops, it comprises a lot of business activities, could be supermarket, could be shops selling sport accessories or garments, sundries shops and so on,” he said.

This meant that businesses that fall under these activities can now start businesses once they have received approval for their business name or company incorporation at the Registry of Companies and Business Names, an application process which can be done completely online.

“You also no longer need to pay the registration cost of about $50” if companies fall under one of the seven business activities, said Permanent Secretary Hj Mohd Abdoh Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Salam.

While these activities no longer need to apply for the business licence, they would still need to comply with existing rules and regulations regarding the type of business they plan to conduct, said officials.

Officials note that inspections on business premises will continue to be implemented and carried out by the respective government enforcement agencies in accordance to existing legislation, regulations and guidelines laid out by the relevant ministry and departments.

Officials suggest that anyone wishing to start a business also visit relevant government agencies to seek clarification if they are unsure of a particular issue. Relevant agencies include Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Health, Industry Division under the Prime Minister’s Office, Fire and Rescue Department, the Land Transport Department and the Authority for Building and Construction Industry (ABCi).

Officials also stated that business activities that require authorisation or approval by other agencies are still in force and should be adhered to.

“If it fails, then the relevant agencies can act to restrict the business activities,” said Hj Mohd Sunadi.

Hj Mohd Sunadi noted one example of a business activity that still requires a business licence is establishing business related to beauty and health, such as spas, salons, hairdressing and massage, he said.

The Brunei Times

Sultan Wins Richard Mille Cup for Charity

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in a group photo with children from the Children’s Cancer Foundation

His Majesty receiving the Richard Mille Cup

His Majesty with His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah at the event

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Qawi in a group photo. PHOTOS: AZROL AZMI

Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam was also present to witness the final match. INFOFOTO

Sultan’s team wins charity polo tourney
on: February 10, 2016
| Fadhil Yunus |

HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam led the Black Team to glory with a 5-4 win over the Red Team in the final of the Richard Mille Polo Charity Pro-Am Tournament at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club.

His Majesty, teaming up with Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Azemah Ni’matul Bolkiah, competed against the Red Team led by His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.

The charity tournament was held for the Children’s Cancer Foundation (YASKA).

Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam was present to watch the final match.

Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah.

The thrilling final produced elements of a true classic game with abundance of skills displayed on the field. It showcased a combination of a family affair and superb professional qualities of some of the sport’s iconic players.

His Majesty’s team would have won by a wider margin had it not been for Lucas Monteverde’s defensive brilliance who rescued his side on two occasions.

Argentine stars Pablo Macdonough and Lucas Monteverde played in opposing corners but had partial influence in the outcome of the match.

His Majesty also consented to collect the Richard Mille Gold Cup for the Black Team which also featured Thailand’s Top Srivaddhanaprabha.

Meanwhile, the Grey Team led by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah claimed third place and won the Richard Mille Silver Cup.

The White Team led by Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Qawi finished in fourth place while fifth place went to the Yellow Team.

As a caring monarch, His Majesty also mingled with children from the Children’s Cancer Foundation and consented to receive a pesambah.

Richard Mille, which works together with Argentine 10-goal star Pablo Macdonough, supports the charity initiative and has been involved in organising the tournament for a second successive year.

The Borneo Bulletin

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Brunei Chinese Community Welcomes Monkey Year 2016

Chinese community welcomes Monkey Year
on: February 09, 2016
| Izah Azahari & Hakim Hayat |

BRIGHT colours and lively drumbeats marked the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Monkey yesterday, as members of the Brunei Chinese community gathered in droves at the Teng Yun Temple in the capital.

It is customary for the Chinese to begin the first day of Lunar New Year with temple offerings and prayers during this auspicious event in the Chinese calendar.

Amid the smoke from burning candles and incense, a lion dance troupe from Chung Hwa Middle School and Chung Hwa Middle School Alumni entered the temple courtyard to kick off the celebrations.

The symbolic ritual was performed before a crowd who had gathered as early as 7am to witness an entertaining and robust combination of traditional dance, acrobatics and music.

A number of tourists, shutterbugs and passers-by were drawn to the performance at the temple, while personnel from the Royal Brunei Police Force were stationed in the area to control the crowd and ease the flow of traffic.

Children clearly enjoyed themselves during the colourful display with several patting the lion on the head and feeding it red packets (or ‘ang pow’) for good luck.

Meanwhile, in keeping with tradition, the Chinese community began hosting open houses and welcoming visitors to share in the joy of the occasion.

With celebrations to mark the Year of the Monkey already underway, members of the Brunei Chinese community shared their renewed hopes and aspirations, wishing for a better and more progressive year.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Olivia Tang, a teacher, said the first day of the Lunar New Year is traditionally the first day of Spring, which also reflects a fresh start, giving a chance to leave behind the past and move on with new resolutions.

Another member of the Chinese community, Adrian Wong, said that the Lunar New Year is also a time of celebration with family members, remembering the deceased and wishing each other prosperity and good fortune.

The Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Culture and Tradition for Chinese New Year in Brunei 2016

Darren Chin
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MEMBERS of the local Chinese community yesterday gathered at the Teng Yun Temple in the capital to mark the start of their New Year celebrations.

Members of the local Chinese community dressed in their New Year’s best came in droves to pray to their ancestors for a prosperous year ahead.

Tiah Eng Nee, Teng Yun Temple secretary, said that this year’s attendance on the first day of Chinese New Year was slightly bigger than last year.

“The common perception among the Chinese community is that the Year of the Monkey, which is this year, is quite an auspicious year for work and business so it is quite normal that a lot of people have come to pray for a prosperous year ahead,” he said.

Joann Leong, one of the visitors to the temple yesterday, said that besides reason for celebration, the Chinese New Year festivities are also a way for them to uphold their cultural identity and traditional customs.

The Chinese New Year celebration is the most important date on the lunar calendar, with festivities lasting up to fifteen days.

Tiah said that in preparing for the festivities normally people will start with cleaning their house on the eve of the New Year and avoid doing so on the day itself, believing that it would “sweep away the year’s prosperity” if any cleaning is done during the first day.

“People would celebrate it by letting off firecrackers, decorating the house with a predominantly red-coloured theme and of course, eating lots of food while visiting friends and relatives at open houses,” he said.

Tourists were also seen making their way to the temple to witness a lion dance performed by the Chung Hwa Middle School (CHMS BSB) troupe to welcome the Year of the Monkey. The lion dance troupe performed the traditional Chinese lion dance as well as the dragon dance in front of hundreds of onlookers.

A tourist who saw the performance, Gordon Thomas, told The Brunei Times that he had never seen anything like it back in his home country.

“Even though there are more Chinese people back home in England, this is my first time experiencing this Chinese New Year festivities as well as the lion dance performance,” he said.

“It is such a fantastic scene and I find the local Chinese here to be worshipful and devout, but also with a bit of fun and excitement in the air which makes for an enjoyable experience,” he said.

An expatriate who teaches at the Jerudong International School was very appreciative of the local observation of Chinese culture and tradition saying that the lion dance performance was worth waking up early in the morning.

“My children loved it and nowhere in UK where I come from is there anything similar to this public spectacle,” said Matthew Clint.

“We just love where everyone is immersed in another culture in peace and harmony so it is wonderful to have witnessed the celebration – especially the lion dance performances,” he said.

A local resident who witnessed the lion dance performance also appreciated the chance to experience the Chinese culture and traditions.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Brunei stands to gain from Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Brunei stands to gain from Trans Pacific Partnership

Leo Kasim
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

BRUNEI will be one of the largest gainers among the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries when it comes to exports, gross domestic product (GDP) and income over the long term, according to studies from two leading organisations.

The World Bank, in its January 2016 report entitled ‘Global Economic Prospects: Spillovers amid Weak Growth’, said that Brunei would come in third with a five per cent gain in GDP by 2030, behind Vietnam and Malaysia both of whom lead at 10 and eight per cent respectively.

The study by the Washington-based global lender said that the largest GDP gains are expected in smaller and open member economies.

Vietnam and Malaysia would benefit from lower tariffs and non-tariff measures in large export markets and at home from stronger positions in regional supply chains through deeper integration, said the study.

In a working paper from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), Brunei would experience a 5.9 per cent income growth from baseline income by 2030, behind Vietnam’s 8.1 per cent and Malaysia’s 7.6 per cent.

The paper entitled ‘The Economic Effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: New Estimates’ by Peter Petri and Michael Plummer, said that Brunei is one of the countries projected to have significant percentage gains along with other the other small economies of Peru, Singapore and New Zealand.

“Large gains are also projected for Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Japan benefits from improved market access throughout the TPP region, including early liberalisation of auto imports in markets other than the United States (US) and from domestic reforms that reduce distortions in its protected service and investment,” said the study from the Washington-based non-profit economic institution.

It added that percentage gains are especially large for Vietnam and Malaysia as the agreement should stimulate domestic reforms and provide access to protected foreign markets.

In an interview, Craig Allen, the US Ambassador to Brunei, said that the both studies show that the sultanate has much to gain from the world’s largest trade pact which would help diversify the country’s economy.

“While all these reports make macroeconomic assumptions, I think that they all point to significant improvement over time,” he said at the US embassy.

“The TPP would improve Brunei’s likelihood of diversification and growing employment, exports, output and global linkages outside oil and gas.”

He said that the TPP operates under economic stimulus regardless of oil prices and make it easier for Brunei and its TPP partners to invest amongst each other.

It will also give Bruneian small-medium enterprises the opportunity to grow beyond the small local market and help local and foreign manufacturers due to duty free entry into anywhere within the TPP world, he said.

In a November 2015 statement, Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT) said that the country’s participation in the TPP will drive national economic developments and ensure the country’s future prosperity.

Brunei’s future relies on its success as a trading nation, MoFAT said in the statement at that time.

According to the ministry, Brunei’s total trade with TPP countries amounted to $10 billion in 2014, a figure which comprises an average of 64 per cent of the country’s overall trade.

The TPP was formalised last week in New Zealand with member countries now working on completing their respective domestic processes.

The TPP member countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Vietnam.

The Brunei Times

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