BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Tuesday censured civil servants who fail to perform their duties and uphold trust.

In a titah, the monarch said there is no point talking about criminal law when it continues to be violated without action being taken.

“Everyone seems inclined to talk about justice, but for me, to only talk about it is not enough without carrying it out.

“Justice will only prevail when it is executed, we must never compromise with any injustice,” he added.

The sultan was addressing thousands of government employees who attended the 26th Civil Service Day commemoration at the International Convention Centre.

He said upholding trust is a must for every civil servant as there is no meaning to their service without upholding trust.

“Trust is the pillar of justice. The people must be protected and defended with justice. This is the teaching of religion,” he said.

His Majesty added that the interests of the people will be compromised if the civil service is weak in its pursuit of justice.

He gave two examples where laws continue to be flouted but government inaction still persists – rampant littering and indiscriminate disposal of garbage in the country’s rivers and drains as well as smoking in public.

His Majesty said the basis to take action is strong as smoking is harmful to health and has been declared ‘haram’ (prohibited in Islam) under a fatwa (religious edict).

“So where is the trust and sensitivity of the parties involved in the implementation of this Tobacco Order?,” he said.

The monarch then brought up an issue that was supposed to be resolved eight years ago, but is still not settled to this day due to lack of initiative from relevant parties. He did not disclose details of the issue in his titah.

“Why isn’t it resolved yet? Is it because they are afraid to make a decision or are they hesitant to make a decision? If this is the case, why not consult with the relevant parties for clarification?

“Eight years is not a short time, anything can happen in those eight years. For example, if we have a building project, due to the delay in the last eight years, we can suffer a huge loss as the price of goods may go up two or three times,” he added.

The sultan went on to say the civil service plays an important role in the community and that civil servants must make an effort to ensure their service will benefit the community.

This year’s Civil Service Day theme, “Civil Service of Integrity and Innovation As Catalyst for National Development”, did not escape His Majesty’s scrutiny.

He said the theme is interesting but if civil service performance is poor, it should be considered a shortcoming.

“Every shortcoming must be overcome. However, I still believe in and am optimistic [of our] civil service. There are still opportunities for ministries, departments, officers and staff to develop to their optimum level through the presentation of awards based on merit,” the sultan added.

During the event, His Majesty presented the inaugural Premier Innovation Award to two departments. A total of 11 working papers were submitted for the award.

The JKED team from the Ministry of Finance and Economy’s Royal Customs and Excise Department received the silver award for its project on facilitating the application process for vehicle exit/entry at border immigration posts. The Government Printing Department’s The Achievers team received the bronze award for its Printing Management System project.

The Prime Minister’s Office’s Management Services Department introduced the Premier Innovation Award by merging the Public Service Excellence Award and Quality Control Circle to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Brunei’s civil service.

Other awards presented at the event were the Public Sector Performance Grading Programme, Excellent Civil Service Employee Awards and Civil Service Staff Meritorious and Dedication Awards.