By Leo Kasim
*Above: Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications Dato Paduka Hj Alaihuddin (L), presents a souvenir to head of a delegation.
BRUNEI-MUARA - Brunei is looking at a more holistic approach towards the national land transport system which will integrate efficiency and sustainability in the land transport service network.
Citing statistics, the Ministry of Communications Deputy Permanent Secretary said that an estimated 15,000 vehicles are registered in the Sultanate every year.
"Looking at these figures, we realise that there is a need for a holistic approach towards our national land transport system," said Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof in his speech as guest of honour of the Ninth BIMP-EAGA Transport, Infrastructure and ICT Development (TIICTD) Cluster Meeting at the Rizqun International Hotel.
Some of the transport issues that he identified were limitations of public transport network, high dependence on private vehicles, increasing traffic congestion, road safety and the need for a better integration between transportation and land use planning.
"Multi-modal and cross border transport connectivity will also be addressed," he said, adding that it would involve various stakeholders such as the Centre of Strategic and Policy Studies, Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Development, among others.
He also highlighted that transportation has been highlighted as one of the key enablers and beneficiary in realising the goals to increase trade, investment and tourism within the BIMP-EAGA.
He said that the presence and quality of air, land and sea transportation will affect how and where particular businesses will be located or developed.
"This in turn, will lead to potential economic spin-offs and enhanced quality of life for the people in the BIMP-EAGA," he said.
Meanwhile, the interest shown by the private sector in joining with the governments of BIMP-EAGA in identifying problems and creating solutions have also shown increase, he said.
"Public-private sector partnerships through the BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) are a significant vehicle in helping towards achieving strategic goals for the BIMP-EAGA," he said, while acknowledging contributions from the Asian Development Bank and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia.
Drawing from the 8th BIMP-EAGA summit last April, he said that leaders have praised the transport sector for driving the agenda of connectivity forward while at the same time enhancing logistics within the sub-region.
"Our leaders also supported the initiative to identify additional points outside of BIMP-EAGA as part of expanding co-terminalisation operations to sustain air services on existing routes," he added.
He urged everyone to build on the momentum that has been created.
"We should play our part in helping to facilitate and effectively realise the objectives set out by our leaders in promoting trade, commerce, tourism and people exchanges within the sub-region."
"There must also be emphasis on the coordination of multi-sectoral efforts in sub-regional transport development," he said, adding that there is still much to be done. "To continue this progress, efforts and a timely implementation plan must be further coordinated in order to realise our goals and objectives."