BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network): As the lead agency responsible for national security policies in Brunei Darussalam, the Prime Minister’s Office will continue to use a ‘Whole-of-Nation’ and ‘Whole-of-Government’ approach in addressing transnational criminal activities that have the potential to affect the safety and security of the people.
This was stated by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Halbi Mohd Yussof, the Chairman of the National Security Committee at the Plenary Session of the 16th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) held virtually on Wednesday (Sept 21).
The minister highlighted the Sultanate’s efforts in addressing transnational crime especially during the pandemic, such as the smuggling of illegal and contraband goods including illicit drugs through the land borders and waterways.
The country has also recorded a significant achievement in combatting Trafficking in Persons (TIP) through the prosecution of two new cases in 2022.
According to the minister, it is important for the AMMTC to further strengthen cooperation with Asean sectoral bodies and Asean dialogue partner countries to assist regional recovery efforts in the post Covid-19 era.
“This is in line with the aspiration set out in the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Combatting Transnational Crime Post Coivd-19 pandemic adopted during the 15th AMMTC chaired by the Sultanate in September last year,” he said.
The 16th AMMTC and its related meetings are chaired by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Samdech Kralahom Sar Kheng.
The meeting was attended by Asean ministers responsible for transnational crime issues as well as Deputy Secretary General of Asean for Political-Security Community Robert Matheus Michael Tene, who delivered a report on the recent developments in Asean, including activities conducted by other Asean sectoral bodies.
During the plenary session, Asean ministers and heads of delegation adopted the Terms of Reference of the National Representatives for the implementation of the Asean Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP).
The document is a manifestation of the commitment of Asean member states to address the issue of TIP as reflected in the ACTIP which was ratified by Brunei in 2020.
The meeting took note of the adop-tion of the Asean Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime Work Programme to Implement the Asean Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime 2022-2024 by the Asean Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC).
It also discussed the status of the implementation of activities under the SOMTC and Directors-General of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM) and Asean Chiefs of National Police (Aseanapol).
The Sultanate’s delegation to the meeting were Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dato Seri Paduka Awang SufianSabtu who is also the Deputy Chairman of the National Security Committee, Permanent Secretary (Security and Law) at the PMO Nor Hashimah Mohammed Taib, and senior officers from the PMO.
The three-day 16th AMMTC and its related meetings will conclude today.
It commenced with the Preparatory SOMTC and will continue today with a Dialogue Partner Consultations with the Plus Three countries, China, Japan and Korea.
The next meeting will be held in 2023 in Indonesia.