BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Saturday said the government has drafted “self-empowerment initiatives” that will create more job and entrepreneurship opportunities to reduce welfare recipients’ reliance on government aid.

In his 36th National Day titah broadcasted on Radio Televisyen Brunei, the sultan said the initiatives will be introduced as part of the National Council on Social Issues’ poverty eradication plan. 

However, he said the country still has a responsibility to provide welfare for its people.

The monarch added that a digitalised National Welfare System will soon be implemented to allow applicants to apply for welfare online.

The people’s welfare is a priority under the guiding principle of taqwa or piety, he said, which can strengthen unity among Muslims and promote harmonious relations with others on the basis of respect and non-interference.

Policies based on taqwa also ensure income or livelihoods are derived from sources that are halal (lawful/permitted) and not haram (forbidden), he added.

“This policy strictly prohibits cheating or giving and receiving bribes,” His Majesty said.

The sultan also touched on the need for Brunei to develop a highly-skilled workforce that could help realise the national vision. 

Referencing the Temburong Bridge project, he said the long-awaited mega-bridge is “just waiting to be opened”.

“This project would not have been possible without skilled human resources.

“That is why it is important for us to outline the importance of higher education in order to produce skilled resources,” he added.