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Singapore vs Brunei - their economic progress in past 60 yrs

edited September 2013 in General
In economic case studies, Southeast Asian economists inevitably, have a penchant to compare Brunei and Singapore,
the 2 smallest but wealthiest Southeast Asian states whom both shared a
currency interchangeable agreement. A tale of 2 nations, Brunei and
Singapore set out to diversify their economies 60 years ago, and
diverged their path from there; one adopted an open, meritocratic system
with emphasis to absorb the best and brightest foreign talents; another
embraced a closed, ethnocentric structure which placed heavy
restrictions on foreigners. The result is a real-life model lesson for
other Southeast Asian states.

One couldn't imagine this was Singapore in 1960s, plagued with housing crisis and filled with slums and squatters

---------------------------------- 1950s -----------------------------------


  • ---------------------------------- 1950s -----------------------------------

    1950s, Brunei had recovered from the ashes of World War 2. The
    destruction in war however, especially to its oil facilities, made
    Brunei aware of the needs to diversify its economy. At that time there
    was only one known reservoir in Seria, and the fear of it running out
    led the country to set forward and introduced the first National
    Development Plan (NDP) with an allocation of $100 million in 1953. The
    plan seek to lay the foundation for economic development by building
    infrastructure (communication systems, roads, water, electricity), and
    providing healthcare and education to all districts so to create a
    healthy, educated workforce.

    Singapore suffered heavily in World
    War 2. The British boasted the island as the 'Gilbratar of the East', a
    fortress that would withstand any attack, so the Japanese blockaded it
    and gave it air bombings everyday to inflict maximum damages, until the
    surrender of the island in 1942. By 1950s though, Singapore had been
    stabilized enough to again focus on economic development.

    Brunei: Seria 1950s, nation was undergoing mass infrastructure development

    from the war in physical ruins, Singapore found itself with a large
    number of homeless residents whose homes were destroyed, and
    insufficient commercial activities to support them, leading to housing
    crisis, squatters and high unemployment which plagued the island
    throughout the 1950s. In 1947, the British Housing Committee Report
    noted Singapore had "one of the world’s worst slums - a disgrace to a
    civilized community", with the average person per building density was
    18.2 by 1947 and high-rise buildings were rare. In 1959, the problem of
    shortage was still unsolved, and the people of Singapore was already not
    happy with the British as their leaders.

    The British authorities
    granted Singapore and Brunei the power of self-government in 1959, but
    the colonial administration still controlled external foreign relations
    and shared responsibilities in matters such as police and defense.

  • ---------------------------------- 1960s -----------------------------------

    into 1960s, Brunei had became a livable place with booming economic
    activities, and a GDP per capita 3 times higher than Singapore. A second
    reservoir in South West Ampa field was discovered, further boosting oil
    revenues. Oil exports account for 92% of the economy while rubber
    exports 1.5%

    A simple statistics available in 1960, Brunei, with a
    population of slightly under 0.1 million, exported $326 million worth
    of goods, an export per capita of $3,800 - impressively compared to
    Singaporean (1.64 million population) exports of $543 million, an export
    per capita of $331. The Sultanate was clearly way ahead of the Lion
    City at this time.

    Singapore 1960s: Chinatown, a chaotic slums, common occurrence throughout the country.

    by high unemployment and housing crisis, Singapore in mid-1950s
    identified industrialization as the way to diversify and also keeping
    the economy afloat. The entrepot trade accounted for 70% of the economy
    at that time, but was deemed shaky as Malaysia and Indonesia could
    commit themselves to build a rival port across the strategic Strait of
    Malacca anytime. This came true when Malaysia later built the Port
    Klang, eventually growing into the closest competition against the Port
    of Singapore in Southeast Asia.

    The 1950-1960s was a completely
    different era for Singapore. There was little or no foreign investments,
    and if Singapore wished to industrialize, it must carry them out on its
    own, under limited budget. So serious was the economic problems that in
    1963 Singapore decided to join the Federation of Malaysia in hope to
    solve its stagnated economy and other social issues.

    To tackle
    its high unemployment, Singapore began a series of 'forced
    industrialization', building cheap factories in mass quantities and sent
    the unemployed to work there, establishing the Jurong industrial
    estate, its first industrial town, in the 1950s. Singapore's
    industrialization programme began with factories producing garments,
    textiles, toys, wood products and hair wigs.

    The Housing and
    Development Board (HDB) was formed in 1960 to solve Singapore's housing
    crisis, and to clear up the squatters and slums. It began to construct
    what is known as HDB flats to resettle the population. Only after nearly
    20 years, and the building of tens of thousands of flats, Singapore's
    housing problems was finally solved at late 1970s.

    Brunei 1960s: Clearly a better place than Singapore

    merger with Malaysia did not go well, Singapore was rocked by racial
    riot in 1964 (Brunei was similarly hit by a revolt in 1962) and the
    increasing tension with Kuala Lumpur led to its expulsion from the
    Malaysian federation in 1965. By the time Singapore was ejected from
    Malaysia, its economy was in a very bad shape and Western analysts were
    predicting that the new country, with no resource at all, could not
    survive. No one at that time could had known that, in 2012 Singapore
    would be one of the most developed nation on Earth.
  • --------------------------------- 1970s -----------------------------------

    1970s was a good time for Brunei. Angered by Western support for
    Israel, Arab nations launched the oil boycott, leading to the 1970s
    energy crisis and oil price shock. This gave Brunei a windfall and
    awashed it with petrodollar, obviously followed by a sharp rise in
    living standard; for instance, just before the energy crisis in 1972,
    Brunei's per capita GDP was $2,926, but in 1973 it blossomed to $6,971 -
    even more than Japan's $4,157. By 1980, per capita in Brunei hit
    $25,538; the richest in Asia, compared to Japan's $9,034 and Singapore's
    $4,857. It was from here onwards the tiny Sultanate is to be forever
    associated with the word 'rich' and 'wealthy'. It was also at here
    Brunei reached its greatest extent, never again in future would it had
    so great a lead vis-a-vis Singapore and Japan.

    Today, the 1970s
    golden age and the fact that Brunei was once Asia's richest in GDP per
    capita at that time, is rarely mentioned in the country, perhaps due to
    the embarrassment it might brought with the country's currently
    struggling economy.

    Brunei 1970s: Good infrastructure, thriving commerce

    boom in oil revenues allowed Brunei to enter a period of rapid economic
    growth, with oil income greatly expended to modernize the state. In
    1974 it built the Brunei International Airport (1 year before Singapore
    Changi Airport was built in 1975). The country was able to connect
    itself with properly paved roads linking the port, oil town and capital
    city, making commerce flourished and new wealth created (many companies
    founded at this period went on to become the leading retailers in the
    country today), telecommunication was greatly improved, infrastructure
    was better than Singapore, and education level rose sharply. The future
    of the Sultanate looked bright.

    Despite that though, oil has
    given Brunei a sense of complacency. Other industries who once made up a
    considerable share of exports, like coal, rubber and cutch, were
    increasingly being neglected. Singapore was facing existential and
    survival threats, that forced it to act, while Brunei was able to sit
    comfortably on its oil revenues. Even though the 1970s was modern
    Brunei's best times, it also solidified its reliance on oil & gas.

    building factories en masses for 15 years, in 1970, Singapore finally
    got its high unemployment solved. There were some issues though, unlike
    Brunei who were rich enough to fund all developmental projects, the
    city-state was poor and could only afford to build flats and factories
    all these while.

    Sorting housing crisis and high unemployment
    were the first priorities at that time, and infrastructure and education
    were left aside. In 1970, Singapore began to realize that no matter how
    much low-cost factories it built, it is only a tiny nation with tiny
    population, and neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia can eventually field a
    much larger labor force and industrial base. There is no way it can
    compete if that happened, but if Singapore has highly-educated workforce
    and high tech industries, it would be able to stay ahead.

    Singapore early 1970s: Road much better and streets cleaner with slums cleared

    early 1970s, the island's infrastructure and level of education remain
    poor due to the limited funding, Singapore then stopped the
    mass-construction of factories, and instead allocated the funds to
    education, infrastructure development and factories upgrade. But the
    country wasn't rich and the budget couldn't support all the projects.
    Moreover, it would take at least one decade before a new batch of
    highly-skilled workforce could be produced, something the city-state
    couldn't afford to wait. Singapore decided it wasn't plausible to do it
    by its own, and appealed to foreigners, opening up the country to
    foreign investments and skilled foreign immigrants.

    Singaporean leadership promised foreign companies what they loved to
    hear; the government would be incorruptible, the government would
    respect capitalism and all foreign investments, with no nationalization
    or seizure of assets would ever take place, and that Singapore would
    have regular and predictable law - many third World governments
    encourage investments but then change the rules at will, this would not
    be applicable to Singapore. The Lion City kept its promises and enforced
    them religiously. This differentiated Singapore with other third world
    nations, and successfully caught the attention of international
    businesses. Foreign investments began to flush into Singapore.

    that it had won foreign interests, Singapore moved on to offer
    "goodies" like tax concessions, simplified immigration procedures,
    tariff protection & exemption from import duties, and finally the
    lifting of foreign exchange controls. This pleased multinational
    corporations even more and they flocked in like swarm of birds, whose
    capital helped sped up Singapore's development by at least 10 years
    ahead. The rapid industrialization of Singapore that followed, greatly
    aided its next goal: skilled foreigners attraction. The foreign skill
    inflow was so massive that, by 2011, 40% of Singapore's population are
    immigrants (27% non-citizens and another 13% foreign naturalized

    Singapore in late 1970s: modern high-rise replacing old buildings with mass influx of foreign investments

    Singaporean government adopted a business-friendly approach and
    actively adjusted to their needs, for example, in 1970s, when high-tech
    industries abroad informed Singapore that they wanted labors with
    adequate technical skills, something it was still inadequate, the
    city-state immediately launched free government training institutes
    which would train working adults twice a week for 3-hour sessions over a
    period of two year to meet that demands. IT companies like Apple
    Computers was satisfied and located its facilities to Singapore.

    good governance, responsive and proactive economic policies of the
    island attracted even Shell and Esso, who constructed the world's third
    largest oil-refinery center on Singapore. The foundation to make
    Singapore a future first world industrialized nation, was planted in
    this period.
  • --------------------------------- 1980s -----------------------------------

    into 1980s, the energy crisis had calmed and oil prices subsided. This
    hit Brunei hard and GDP fell sharply, a price to pay for failing to
    identify and develop alternate industries in the golden 70s. After the
    Sultanate attained independence in 1984, economic diversification was
    again being raised. There were 2 economic paths Brunei could take; the
    nation's environment was ripe for rapid industrialization at the time,
    but would require the huge absorption of foreign workers. This was the
    developmental model later taken up by wealthy Gulf states like Kuwait,
    Dubai and Qatar in their industrialization progress.

    absorbed so much foreign workers that in 2011 the Qatari only account
    for 20% of the population. Similar case can be applied to Kuwait where
    only 33% of its population at the moment is Kuwaiti. For Dubai, only 17%
    of its population are Emirati. Dubai however, has successfully
    diversified its economy with oil and natural gas currently accounted for
    less than 6% of the government's revenues.

    Brunei 1980s: Seria, excellent infrastructure, living standard high, but very slow progress

    workers absorption to such extent though, is rather impossible in
    Brunei due to the country's MIB (Melayu Islam Beraja: Malay Islamic
    Monarchy) philosophy that stressed the ethnic Malay, who make up the
    majority of Brunei's population, must always remain the dominant race in
    the country. The conservative social and political nature of Brunei
    also played its role in the hesitation towards opening up the country;
    the fears that an influx of foreign elements may disrupt the nation's
    social customs, tradition and religion, together with the concerns that
    local Brunei Malay entrepreneurs may not be ready for intense
    international competition, means the Sultanate would not be seeing the
    same kind of massive foreign participation like in Singapore.

    for industrialization was dropped (which it came to regret later) in
    favor of investing Brunei's huge foreign reserves overseas. Among
    Brunei's investments include luxurious hotels in North America and
    Europe frequented by top ranking Bruneian officials (which later merged
    to form the Dorchester Collection), the Willeroo Cattle Farm in
    Australia, which itself is larger than the entire Brunei, and various
    property assets across the world. The dependence on oil hence continued,
    though the fisheries and retail industries saw significant expansion at
    this time.

    On the other hand, due to mass foreign investments
    and rapid industrialization, Singapore had emerged as an Asian economic
    tiger by 1980s. Its industries at this time had been upgraded and
    equipped with sophisticated technologies way ahead of all other ASEAN
    states. The country's capital-intensive industrial base had been setup
    and was ready to transform itself into an advanced, high tech economy.
    As part of its high-tech drive, the island also successfully attracted
    Southeast Asia's first wafer fabrication plant, which by 2011 would help
    Singapore produced 10% of the world's silicon wafer. The dependence on
    foreign firms was also noted, in 1980, foreign-owned firms accounted for
    73.7% of Singapore's gross output, and 84.7% of its direct exports.

    Singapore 1980s: City central already well-developed with towers

    the 1980s, Singapore's industries had expanded to electronics,
    computer, shipbuilding and repairing, oil rig construction, chemicals,
    petroleum refining, and raw materials refining like rubber processing.
    Then came the nightmare; as a result of unsustainable growth and
    skyrocketing wages, the first ever economic recession since
    independence, took the country by surprise in 1985, devastated the
    Singaporean economy and sent its rapid GDP growth to negative (Dubai
    similarly experienced the same recession in 2008)

    The government
    quickly identified the problems and responded by freezing wages,
    lowering taxes, and reducing Central Provident Fund contributions.
    Singapore was able to nurse itself back to health by 1988, but learnt
    the painful way that while trying to diversify its economy, it emphasis
    too much on high-tech manufacturing. Such lesson would forever changed
    Singapore, and the country decided to further diverse into service
    industries, concentrating on the likes of IT, telecommunications,
    engineering, banking & finance, and medical, while adding more
    varieties into manufacturing. In 1987, the country built its first MRT
  • --------------------------------- 1990s -----------------------------------

    little industrial development, the Bruneian economy began to slow down
    in 1990s. Increasing emphasis on MIB as a state ideology has also
    resulted in the banning of alcohol, nightclubs, public celebration of
    Christmas, and commercial pig farming in 1991. The period also marked a
    critical time for Brunei; Singapore per capita GDP had grown dangerously
    near Brunei, still the richest in Southeast Asia at that time, while
    other ASEAN states like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were waking up
    from their economic slumber.

    Brunei 1990s: modern high-rise over capital

    the mistake of not taking part in industrialization earlier on, and
    being conscious that the country might fall behind if industrialization
    still doesn't take place, the 1991-1995 Brunei's NDP called for
    industrial promotion and expansion. A number of industrial estates were
    identified, this include those in capital Bandar Seri Begawan and the
    Beribi industrial estates, together with the construction of factories
    focusing on furniture, pottery, tiles, cement, chemicals, plywood,
    glass, textiles, food and electrical.

    Brunei's push for
    industrialization however, came 40 years late - it was something
    Singapore had done in the 1950s. By that time the wages in Brunei were
    already considered too high, the industrial base too limited, and
    technological edge too low to compete with larger neighboring states in
    terms of scale and cost (this was the exact concerns in Singapore during
    the 1960s which led it to shift into high-tech industrial platform)

    bureaucratic difficulties, poor coordination between government
    departments, and lengthy approval process deterred foreign investments,
    which mean the country couldn't count on foreign multinationals unlike
    Singapore to develop its underdeveloped industrial sector. The country
    must proceed on its own instead.

    Brunei then began a period of
    'state-led construction growth' (similar to Singapore's 1960s 'state-led
    industrial growth'), initiated a plethora of construction phases and
    plans across the entire country, leading to the 1990s construction boom
    to diversify from an oil-reliant economy to one that is service- and
    tourism-oriented (it was also what Dubai did beginning the year 2000)
    The restriction on foreign workers were temporarily relaxed to allow
    large-scale projects and landmarks to be constructed, among them were a
    theme park, a magnificent hotel, and a giant power station.

    Singapore 1990s: rich, robust and modern

    these construction frenzies however, was abruptly disrupted in the
    Asian financial crisis 1997-98, which saw the collapse of Amedeo Corp.,
    the biggest construction company in Brunei at that time. It is not clear
    if Brunei could have achieved a similar kind of development like that
    in Dubai shall the construction plannings were to continue. Soon after
    the construction spree took off, Dubai enacted a law in 2002 that allows
    non-nationals of the UAE to own properties, leading to an inflow of
    foreign professionals and real estate boom. This was not seen in Brunei,
    who remains staunchly opposed to foreign ownership.

    The Asian
    crisis shattered Brunei's economy, wiped out half its foreign reserves
    it never recovered from, and basically put its economy to sleep. After
    that, the country seemingly lost its ambition and economic direction,
    which would later saw it descended into the slowest-growing economy in
    ASEAN by next decade.

    Singapore, on the other hand, had became an
    exciting place in the 1990s, the country advanced into NICs (Newly
    Industrialized Country), and was regarded regionally as the land of
    opportunities. By this time Singapore had also matured to become the
    third most important financial center in Asia after Tokyo and Hong Kong.
    The development and industrialization of Singapore was so rapid that it
    warranted the needs of land reclamation to accommodate new industries.
    In 1960, the size of Singapore was 581.5 sq km, this had been expanded
    to 710 sq km in 2011. The country is currently in progress of adding
    another 20 sq km of lands from sea.

    1990: Singapore overtook the UK in GDP per capita, all done without natural resources

    industrial growth also mean that the country, in a sudden, found itself
    in shortage of skilled labors. To solve that, Singapore sweetened its
    immigration policies; highly-educated foreign talents from anywhere
    around the world choosing to work in Singapore, would be granted
    fast-paced PR (Permanent Resident). This would later led to huge inflow
    of top talents and gave Singapore a highly competent labor force. In
    1996, Singapore was ranked by the World Economic Forum as the most
    competitive economy in the world. Business Environment Risk Intelligence
    has rated Singapore's workforce as the best every year since 1980.

    inflow of extremely skilled foreign workforce did wonder to Singapore;
    it strengthened its high-tech manufacturing and domestic
    competitiveness. The country bred up a new generation of
    highly-motivated local entrepreneurs who successfully competed with and
    took back the Singaporean economy from foreign hands, not through
    affirmative acts but meritocracy. In 1980, foreign firms contribution to
    the economy was 73%, but in 1998, Singaporean-owned companies
    contributed 55% to the economy.

    The Asian financial crisis
    similarly put Singapore into recession, but the government immediately
    worked out a quick solution to allow a gradual 20% depreciation of the
    Singapore dollar, bring forward in advance government programs such as
    the Interim Upgrading Program and other construction related projects,
    pre-emptively agreed to CPF cuts to lower labor costs, and made no
    attempt to directly intervene in the capital markets, allowing the
    Straits Times Index to drop 60%. It was a smart move, in less than a
    year after crisis, the Singaporean economy fully recovered and continued
    on its growth trajectory. This compared to Brunei who fell into 15-year
    stagnation, still ongoing, after the crisis.

    By the end of
    1990s, local Singaporean firms were ready to go global. In preparation
    for that, the country signed 13 Free Trade Agreements in order to expand
    its external trade ties, and advised local companies to start going
    regional. These companies would later be among the largest investors in
    China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Myanmar and Indonesia.
  • --------------------------------- 2000s -----------------------------------

    Even though the Sultanate did not witness social unrest as seen in neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia at the height of financial crisis, by 2000s, Brunei began to focus on social consolidation and Islamization to preserve 'stability and harmony'. It was also the same time the country's economic stagnation was confirmed, which would led it to become the ASEAN economic laggard later on.
  • image
    If we adjust the GDP per capita to inflation, Bruneians are poorer now than in 1970s

    GDP per capita adjusted to inflation revealed that Singaporeans today
    are 4 more richer than in 1970s, compare that to the Bruneian charts
  • The 1990s drive for industrialization did not create a thriving
    manufacturing industries like that of Singapore. Manufacturing in Brunei
    had never accounted for more than 3% of GDP (it occupied approximately
    27% of the Singaporean GDP, 13% of Dubai GDP and 1% Bruneian GDP as of

    The government refused to accept the failures of its
    industrialization attempts, believing that if other tiny nations could
    do it, so can Brunei (Malta, Luxembourg and Iceland, 3 countries having
    the closest population to Brunei, for instance, their manufacturing
    industries accounted for 18-27% while Brunei a mere 1%) The country
    continues to make the push for manufacturing, such as partnering with
    Heidelberg on cement production, Alcoa on aluminum smeltering, and
    finally the high profile Sg Liang SPARK project with Mitsubishi/Itochu
    to produce Methanol.

    One of the challenges for Brunei though, is
    the failure to secure consecutive follow-up investments. In its pursue
    for a strong semiconductor industry, Singapore attracted its first
    silicon wafer plant in the 1980s, since then this is followed by
    investments from many other corporations and the island now has 14
    silicon wafer plant, 20 semiconductor assembly and test operations
    center, and about 40 integrated circuit design centres, making it
    currently the world #2 silicon wafer producer after Taiwan. In Brunei,
    follow-up investments from other companies after the first, is rare.

    the 2000s, Brunei had also tried to expand into service industries such
    as offshore financial banking and tourism, with little success. Efforts
    was also made in food & agriculture, but the food sufficiency
    target has not been reached as of 2011. Recognizing that its industries
    could not compete without a higher level of technologies, Brunei
    established the iCenter, a tech incubation facility with aim to nurture
    the country's technical skills. This is however, again, 40 years late -
    it was what Singapore had done in the late 1960s.

    SPARK - another project attempted to industrialize Brunei
  • All those delays mean Bruneian industries now have a very grim outlook.
    Malaysia and Thailand, whose industries are getting more sophisticated
    and capital-intensive (i.e. the 1980s Singapore) possess a far more
    advanced industrial technologies estimated 20 years ahead of Brunei, and
    while Indonesia and Vietnam, the 2 newly emerging economies, are
    considered low-tech, they have big population and huge production base
    which Brunei couldn't possibly match.

    The 2000s was a period of
    great economic leap for Singapore. Its diversification into service
    industries materialized. Singapore not only had became the medical hub
    for Southeast Asia, it is now also the technological and communication
    hub in ASEAN, holding 50% market share of the region's datacenter
    capacity. The country's engineering feat is now world's renowned, being
    responsible for 70% of global offshore rig construction and 20% of the
    world's ship repair market. The Port of Singapore surged to be the
    world's busiest until it was overtaken in 2009 by Shanghai port.

    of the challenges Singapore faced though, is the increasing
    sophistication of industries in neighboring states such as Malaysia and
    Thailand, who are likewise getting more high-tech. By late 2000s, the
    computer peripheral industries had been largely lost to both these
    nations, who are able to produce it more cheaply, prompting Singapore to
    identify new industries to support its economy.

  • image
    Port of Singapore at night

  • 1msia is eager to know their progress against spore. Next we know the mirians too are eager to compare themselves to us here.

    Meanwhile we do nothing.
  • I am surprised at the lack of response to this posting. I would expect SM, Han2, Justaguy, Mohd Ali and the rest to respond to this article. It is an interesting article and I look at it as a "Wake Up Call!".
  • A bad report card. A big red F.
  • Comrade Zhu,

    Maybe you were not affected, but like DC I had problems logging on to this forum and many other sites for the past several days if not weeks!

    And then there is truth and clarity which may not need much discussion except to bow our heads in shame and simply accept the reality of that article...

    Take a look at what was published in today's BB Weekend and tell me if you see any irregularity...

    MoRA Scholars Off To UK

    Bandar Seri Begawan: Three
    students on the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) scholarship
    departed to United Kingdom (UK) last Thursday night to pursue their
    studies in UK sixth form.

    The three students, Fatin Amirah
    Muhammad Sophian, Haziqah Hj Hazilan and Dk Zakirah Pg Zuhairi, are
    among a group of students under the MoRA Scholarship Scheme to pursue
    their studies in the UK.

    The three students who are from the
    Arabic School will pursue their studies at the Cardiff Sixth Form
    College and once they completed their studies, they will continue their
    higher education on medical courses.

  • It's not something we can question. Awakening has to come from within.
  • JAG,
    What is your point? What is wrong with MORA giving out scholarship for further studies? 
  • Justaguy,
    It seems to be back to normal today. It must have been Telbru or something with the internet. I also had problems watching youtube the last few days but today it is okay again.

    One thing on the success of Singapore is how the government made sure that their people are educated in the right area where it is beneficial to the country's direction.
    Another thing is their open mindedness in allowing foreign talents to become PR. 
  • edited September 2013

    That news article about the Ministry of Religious Affairs giving out scholarships to those three students had only eleven sentences.

    What is your opinion about such scholarships?

    By the way, you have not responded to my earlier question in another thread...

  • edited September 2013
    Comrade Zhu,

    One reasons why KiasuLand has succeeded so far and ahead of us is that they promoted an internationally broad based education system to be competitive in terms of human resource. By seeking and imposing even higher standards on their people, they are assured of being ahead when compared with others.

    Then when their people go into the workforce after graduation, they mandated that meritocracy be the main yardstick for promotion and leadership. That assured their civil service of having the best brains and hardest working people.

    By assuring their own people and foreign investors of a transparent, fair and just legal system where government policies are subject and comparative to international standards, they have encouraged many huge global corporations to set up base in their land.

    Then there is also the international criteria for citizenship and permanent residency available to all who wanted it. They have made it simple and transparent, comparative to many developed countries. Everyone is subject to the same laws and policies.

    How do we compare just on those four points?...

    Well, we can pray...

  • ZR,

    We had actually discussed many of the higlighted issues in varying extent many times in here. Sure, Singapore is way ahead compared to Brunei but we're not yet doomed. In fact, we're still doing fine and the furture seems bright. Sure, in retrospect, we could have done much better but we have never stopped trying and ain't resting on our laurels.

  • But Miri is catching up.
  • MA,

    MoRA is giving out scholarships to Arabic school students to do 'A' Levels in the UK, following which will be further education in the field of medicine...

    And you are asking me what is wrong?!...

    Is it just me or am I scratching my head over nothing?...

  • JAG,
    It is just you. I see nothing wrong. Why can't MORA give out scholarship for medical studies? Please be more specific in what problem you see,
  • Such MORA scholarship (to UK, USA etc) is  a recent development and I think we had some discussion around it before. This is good for our students from religious schools.  
  • edited September 2013

    Why send students from Arabic schools to do 'A' Levels in the UK?

    What are the criteria for sending students to do 'A' Levels in the UK instead of locally?

    Do we not have 'A' Levels institutions locally?

    Are all other ministries also offering similar scholarships? If not, why not?

    If the successful graduates are expected to work with the Ministry of Health later on, should it not be MoH who should be in a better position to offer such scholarships?

    Medical degrees in the UK demand a better than the standard command of the English language, no? Will these students from the Arabic schools be able to cope?

  • Jag,

    Students from Arab schools and Institut Tahfiz Al Quran  don't just learn religious subjects and Arabic language. They also do Malay and English languages. And they also do normal "O" and "A" levels' subjects.

    They can pursue their studies in various fields such as medical, science, economics, mathematics, engineering, chemistry, psychology etc. in conventional universities in the west.

  • Jag,
    It shows your ignorance on Brunei. Scholarships do not only come from MOE. Even MINDEF have their own scholarship scheme.  So should students going on a MINDEF scholarship knows only about AK47 and M16?
  • SM / MA,

    You miss my point by a far mile...

    Looks like comprehension is not a strong suit for either of you...

    Do we not have institutions here locally, capable of offering 'A' Levels courses?...

  • edited September 2013

    Where have you been man? Brunei has been sending students to do A level overseas for as long as I can remember.

    Ok, assume you knew about this. But why you start to make it an issue when the students were from Arab & religious schools?

  • No. It wont be a problem when eventually all schools becomes religious, right SM?!

    Miri is catching up. But we are not comparing with Miri. When others make it their business to compare to us, we are still sitting here 'like a duck'. Wonder whose favorite clause is that. *cough*
  • DC,

    Muslim students must attend religious (ugama) schools anyway. But it's unlikely all schools would be religious schools.

    To catch up Miri needs Bruneians to always spend there and that Brunei is always prosperous. Miri is too dependent on Brunei to move ahead. Once Bruneians stop going there it will be a dead town.
  • edited September 2013
    Hope you are not just spooning us sugars.
  • How do we do that?!
  • SM,

    I have never been spoon-fed by the gomen, so to answer your question, I never knew that we have been sending students to do 'A' Levels in the UK when we have local institutions here...

    Btw, why on earth did we build our own institutions of higher learning and tertiary education if we could just send them to the UK?...

    Sending them overseas for degree courses and beyond is understandable when we lack the facilities and human resource.

    Have you read the msm lately where it was mentioned that our locals have not been faring too well in English language examinations? And you expect students from our local Arabic schools to take medicine in the UK?!

    I wonder if there are any statistics available for public consumption so that we may know which students from what ministry or schools on gomen scholarships have done in past years...
  • Jag,

    I guess you don't follow local news very much thus it explains your ignorance on the subject matter. And obviously you also didn't know anyone who had been given such scholarships. You see we know not just from the news but also from what's happening around us including people we know about. This is not spoon-feeding.

  • edited September 2013

    Stick to the topic and tell us what we don't know...

    If you want to raise another discussion on the dissemination of news or public policies, or the lack thereof by relevant gomen agencies, that is fine by me...

    It is obvious that I have very little knowledge of who has been given scholarship, as I am sure many others are, too.

    Now that you have mentioned it, is there a public record of the names of students who have been sent out on scholarships, and their performance? And maybe mention of their family background?...

    It may be interesting to know the number of well-to-do families who may have benefited from the generosity of our country.
  • SM missing in action. Your theeth are too sharp JAG.
  • JAG,
    I don't see what is the problem with students of Arab schools going for further studies. I know that Chung Hwa school students also go to UK for A' levels and recently the news were talking about their scholarship paid by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.  Shouldn't they be going to China and study Chinese acupunture?

  • MA,

    How did you do on your English examinations while you were a student, or are you still in school going for your 'O' Levels?...

    There is no problem with any student going for further studies when we lack the local facilities and human resource to handle such courses. You fail to comprehend that?!...

    We have institutes of higher learning up to university level and similar. Do we not have institutes capable of handling 'A' Levels?...

    Well, if SM and you still insist on talking about the colour of the dog-collar, then both of you are wasting time and effort in your responses...
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