294 New Brunei Citizens
By YuL hmYulz. Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:12:11 PM
The ceremony was organised by the Immigration and National Registration Department, Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).
The guest of honour was Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman, Minister of Home Affairs.
Also in attendance were members of the Legislative Council, deputy permanent secretaries of MoHA, heads of department, deputies, senior officers of MoHA and Penghulus from four districts.
The new citizens swore an oath of allegiance and undivided loyalty to the country and His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan ofBrunei Darussalam and his successors and renounce all loyalty to any country, state or sovereign nation.
It was followed by the singing of the national anthem.
Pehin Dato Seri Setia Hj Awang Badaruddin, in a speech, said those who are granted with Brunei citizenship must swear that they will show undivided loyalty to His Majesty.
Being loyal to this country means fully accepting Brunei as their sovereign country, which reigns under an absolute monarchy, and to uphold the country's philosophy of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).
He added that in the last 42 years from 1962 to 2010 (under the Citizenship Law Act 1962) a total of 42,370 people have been granted Brunei citizenship at an average of 865 individuals every year. Of the total figure, 21,522 (56 per cent) are Malays, 11, 432 (27 per cent) Chinese, 5,945 (14 per cent) from Borneo local tribes and the rest 3,471 from other nationalities.
About 60 per cent (25,386) of the total figure are/were children whose parents or guardians are/were Bruneians and most of these children are/were adopted since they were babies.
The number of women granted citizenship as their spouse is/was Bruneian stands at 8,988 (21 per cent), with 5,164 being Malays, 1,999 Chinese, 1,117 from Borneo local tribes and 708 from other foreign nations.
The minister said the granting of Brunei citizenship will continue under the Citizenship Law Act and this also means protecting the country's interest in the long run.
Furthermore, there are some foreign citizens who have stayed in Brunei for a long time and have applied and gained Brunei Permanent Residents (PR) status.
Some of them have been granted citizenship after fulfilling some requirements.
Until December 2010, about 50,000 applicants have been issued Permanent Resident status with entry permit to enter Brunei under the Immigration Act Chapter 10 and Residence Permit under 1956 Immigration Law (No 23 of 1956 law).
Some of them have been awarded Brunei citizenship either through registration or naturalisation.
The MoHA is now in the process to quicken the citizenship process to Permanent Residents, especially for the `stateless'.
Although these processes will be enhanced, the strict procedure in assessing the applications will be continued in Brunei's interest.
Therefore, the consideration of granting Permanent Residents with Brunei citizenship will not be influenced by their economic or professional contribution, the minister added.
Among the 294 recipients, 137 received their citizenship certificates under Chapter 5 (1), as they were Permanent Residents born in Brunei Darussalam and reached 18 years of age and held entry permit not less than 12 years since it was issued and had continuously lived in the country for not less than two years before applying for citizenship.
Under Chapter 5(6), a total of 127 recipients were granted Brunei citizenship.
Under this Chapter, the citizenship is granted for wives whose spouses were Bruneian citizens and should have continuously lived in the country for not less than three years and must have remained married to the Bruneian spouse when the application was mate.
Under Chapter 8(1), citizenships are granted for permanent residents who are born outside Brunei and reached 18 years of age but hold entry permits and continuously stay in Brunei for not less than 20 years.
Under this chapter, 30 recipients were granted Brunei citizenship yesterday.
Aside from these chapters, among other requirements to acquire a Brunei citizenship, one must have a good command of the Malay Language and customs and especially have strong knowledge in Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).
Mr Fang Tech Chi, 64, who got his citizenship yesterday, said, "I felt grateful and happy when I was finally granted Brunei citizenship.
I applied for it 30 years ago, sat for the written test three times and today I finally earned my citizenship rights.
"Before the test, I did some reading by referring to Malay newspapers and listened to Malay radio stations and used Malay in my daily conversation just to improve my Malay Language and my understanding of MIB philosophy," he added.
In an effort to enhance the understanding of their roles and responsibilities as Bruneian citizens based on MIB, the Immigration Department had organised briefings from various agencies such as Adat Istiadat Department, Information Department, Language and Literature Bureau and Anti-Corruption Bureau.
The briefings were conducted in phases before the citizenship ceremony. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin