BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah chaired the first meeting of his new cabinet on Monday, urging ministers to carry out their responsibilities in a “fair and transparent manner”.

In a titah given at Istana Nurul Iman, the sultan warned that no one was above the law, and that rules and regulations must be followed.

“If [those appointed fail to follow the law], the risk is tyranny. I despise any tyranny happening in my government,” he said.

His Majesty said the role of ministers is to provide advice to the monarch, but that he would “not accept any advice that is inaccurate or speculative”.

“If the advice is related to the ministry or department’s respective programmes, I would like [the information] to be complete, in detail, and supported by strong evidence.”

Brunei’s sultan addresses the new cabinet at Istana Nurul Iman on July 4, 2022. Photo: Information Department

He added that cabinet ministers should act with fairness and kindness towards their subordinates, and avoid showing favouritism. 

“If there are weaknesses or mistakes, it is the leader’s responsibility to help the weak and correct mistakes… rather than take hasty actions to inflict punishments,” he said.

His Majesty also said ministers should focus on their core duties and not involve themselves in minor tasks.

A cabinet reshuffle was announced on June 7, which included the appointment of Brunei’s first female minister.

The sultan said ministers who were not reappointed were not “dismissed”, but replaced as part of a “normal tradition”.

“The structure of organisations are not static but always open to change,” he said. “A reshuffle occurs to fufill the need for change.”