Established in 2012, Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd is a private limited company established by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to strategically house a majority of Brunei’s government-linked companies (GLCs). Its shareholder is the Minister for Finance Corporation (MOFC), a statutory body formed under the Minister for Finance (Incorporation) Order, 2011.
With a vision to institute and inspire excellence in corporate performance and governance, Darussalam Assets is an integral part of the government-led initiative to spur economic development with an overarching aim of transforming its companies into world-class corporations. Since its establishment, Darussalam Assets has taken great strides in setting the foundation for its future success. It aims to achieve developmental and economic diversification through the portfolio of companies it manages, nurture future business leaders, create gainful employment and maximise commercial opportunities, while at the same time, ensuring sustainable long-term returns for the nation.
The part and parcel of Darussalam Assets’ mandate is to own and centrally manage its portfolio of companies based on commercial principles in the best and long-term interests of the nation. As a change agent, Darussalam Assets operates to increase portfolio performance and value by promoting and implementing best practices and measuring improvement. Darussalam Assets owns over 30 companies across key sectors of Brunei Darussalam’s economy. The sectors include aviation, telecommunications, power utilities, logistics, agribusiness, food and beverage, leisure and tourism, medical, education, hospitality and real estate.
As a corporatisation agent appointed by the government, Darussalam Assets is strategically positioned to drive innovation and influence industry cluster structures and strategies. With a view to accelerate further innovation, transparency and competition, Darussalam Assets endeavours to power through development projects in joint venture with qualified partners holding industry expertise, and in collaboration with the relevant government authorities.
The potential to elevate the performance of these sectors will yield improved services delivered to the Brunei population, and in turn, create a more conducive environment for foreign direct investments and generate gainful employment for citizens.
The government is currently taking steps to corporatise selected governmental services and infrastructures. International research has shown that both the public and the organisation benefit when services are corporatised as the new entity can drive growth through innovation in a business-oriented structure. Examples of successful corporatisation or public private partnership initiatives include Print Plus Sdn Bhd, previously the Government Printing Department; Muara Maritime Services Sdn Bhd and Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd.
Continuously building capability in its processes and systems within the organisation, the DA Group of Companies is at the heart of Darussalam Assets. To ensure best practices, fundamental ‘pillars of growth’ have been established which include the adoption of corporate governance, compliance to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and the development of a human capital development strategy. These were designed and established to create a solid foundation to facilitate positive change.
The Board of Darussalam Assets is committed to ensuring that Darussalam Assets aims for, and achieves, the highest standards of corporate governance. The company prides itself for adopting its own code of corporate governance, and continuously updates its policies and procedures so that it is best in class. This demonstrates that Darussalam Assets has, and will maintain, global governance standards that support and underpin the organisation’s, and the country’s, overall business strategy.
Through compliance to IFRS standards, Darussalam Assets has embraced the gold standard of accounting and timely financial reporting to monitor performance and make smart, fact-based investment decisions. In its IFRS journey, Darussalam Assets has built a network of key finance professionals across the DA Group of Companies, achieving milestones such as group-wide completion of the IFRS accreditation programme.
Additionally, Darussalam Assets has successfully implemented the ERP system on a large scale. This has given rise to accurate and timely data retrieval, enhanced business intelligence and performance measurement, not just for the organisation, but the DA Group as a whole. Darussalam Assets’ focus on human capital development is integral to developing a performance-based culture supported by learning programmes and the automation of human resource processes. In February 2020, Darussalam Assets embarked on a journey to launch a learning management system (LMS) called DArjah.
DArjah is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of education courses, training programmes, or learning and development programmes. Since its introduction, DArjah has been implemented across the DA Group of Companies in phases.
Darussalam Assets is committed to fostering a socially responsible corporate environment. Among its initiatives includes being a benefactor of Pusat Ehsan’s ‘Special Needs Student Adoption Scheme’ for four consecutive years. Other activities include organising a donation drive for underprivileged families during the holy month of Ramadhan.
Instead of paying by cash, making payments online is becoming the choice for many consumers around the world due to its convenience.
According to Global Payment Report 2020, digital and mobile wallets accounted for 22 per cent of global point of sale spend in 2019. This figure is projected to increase to 30 per cent by 2023. Cash payment, on the other hand, is projected to decrease from 30 per cent in 2019 to 18.7 per cent by 2023.
Brunei Darussalam’s first ever mobile wallet, Progresif PAY, was introduced in 2018. Progresif PAY enables consumers and businesses in the country to carry out cashless transactions on their smartphones, similar to popular e-wallet apps like China’s AliPay and Malaysia’s MPay.
Progresif PAY services include QuickPay QR, making payments through QR codes, as well as Tap and Pay, making payments through Nearfield communication (NFC).
Another e-wallet app, offered by BruPay, enables users to make payments by scanning and verifying shareable QR codes. Users can also make payments by sending a set amount to the recipient’s phone number.
The first of its kind online currency booking platform, BruXchange Money Changer launched on October 1, 2020 to enable customers to check live exchange rates and reserve currencies online for pickup.
Customers can complete a currency order in three easy steps – register for an account online, select a currency and amount to exchange; pay online with BruPay; and then collect their order within seven days from the BruXchange Money Changer counter located in Kiulap.
There are 18 currencies available, including major currencies such as pound sterling, US dollar, euro, Malaysian ringgit, peso, Thai baht, Japanese yen and Korean won.
The website has a currency converter so users can calculate the amount to be exchanged.
Several initiatives have been made to modernise the logistics and transport system in Brunei Darussalam. One such initiative is the establishment of the Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd in 2017 to operate the Muara Container Terminal, which is the country’s only seaport. Other initiatives include the establishment of the Maritime and Ports Authority of Brunei Darussalam and the expansion of the Brunei International Airport. Connectivity in the country has also been enhanced with the construction of three significant bridge projects over the past few years.
Completed in 2017, the BND139-million Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha (RIPAHS) Bridge reduces travelling time and offers socio-economic development in the surrounding areas.
The Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) Bridge was completed in 2018, connecting the isolated island with the oil refinery and petrochemical plant to the mainland. Meanwhile, the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SHOAS) Bridge opened in 2020, connecting Brunei-Muara and Temburong districts. Since the bridge opening, the public has benefitted from faster, convenient and safe travel between the two districts without having to cross the border or travelling by boat.
In terms of local transport, Brunei’s first ridehailing service, Dart, allows everyone to book rides from any registered Dart driver, including taxis. Dart Logistics Sdn Bhd celebrated its first year anniversary in May 2019 and has achieved almost 40,000 car rides since its establishment.
Dart recorded consistent growth and rising demand in its first year of operation. The company won the Startup of the Year Award at the 3rd Brunei Rice Bowl Startup Awards 2019.
From its establishment in 1998 as an acquisition agency specialising in the procurement of strategic and sensitive equipment for defence and security agencies in Brunei Darussalam, RBTS has since evolved by expanding its capabilities and has recently transformed its core business into offering Asset’s life cycle management (LCM) solutions.
LCM is an integrated approach to optimising the life cycle of an asset beginning at the conceptual design stage, acquiring the asset, operating and maintenance, continuing through the asset lifespan up to the decommissioning stage.
By incorporating a holistic approach, RBTS optimises its customer asset performance with a lower whole life cycle cost (ownership cost). To achieve this, RBTS has organised its business into three main areas: engineering, logistics (supply chain management), and training.
RBTS is also actively expanding into new areas of business this year by acquiring Darussalam Pilotage Services Sdn Bhd as a subsidiary company, to tap into the increasing market demand for ports and shipping services.
RBTS Engineering offers a range of engineering and project management services that fit into the RBTS core business of lifecycle management. Operating out of its fully equipped Vehicle Maintenance Centre (VMC) located at the Salar Industrial Area, the facility has recently undergone a major upgrade to cater to increasing demands for its comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services with expertise in specialised vehicles and systems such as military vehicles, fire rescue vehicles and systems, special operations vehicles, ambulances, and other similar platforms – which serves both the government and private sector.
RBTS will also be launching its Electronic Maintenance Centre in 2021, working with established brand names such as Furuno and Astrophysics. This is all part of its plans to establish itself in the industry as a onestop agency for all engineering services and eventually become the leading engineering solutions provider in Brunei.
RBTS Logistics focusses on the whole supply chain management. Its key areas of expertise include procurement, warehousing management (including planning and forecasting, inventory management), transportations of goods, exportation and importation of cargo (specialising in handling dangerous goods).
2020 marked a major milestone for RBTS Logistics where it was appointed by the Ministry of Health for the outsourcing of their supply chain management function. Through this arrangement, RBTS will be responsible to manage the procurement and logistics of the nation’s medicinal products and medical consumables, and the management and operations of the State Medical Store. This initiative aims to improve the efficiency of healthcare services while generating cost savings for the government. It will also help in regulating medicine supply to all health facilities in Brunei ensuring that they are sourced from reputable and credible suppliers and manufacturers.
RBTS Training Unit offers custom-tailored training solutions for specialised sectors especially in defence and security, covering various areas such as operations, leadership, and management. RBTS’s approach in providing effective training is one that is based on designing training solutions that help its clients achieve their objectives while at the same time offering a rich learning experience.
RBTS currently manages two highly esteemed training facilities for the Royal Brunei Armed Forces: Training Simulation Centre (TSC) and Naval Training Centre (NTC), a collaborative programme between RBTS and the Ministry of Defence providing fully accredited end-to-end training courses for military personnel and other security agencies.
Its state-of-the-art TSC facility features recently upgraded its high-tech computerbased platforms, specifically tailored for shooting training to increase individual skills in marksmanship, judgmental and proficiency for small arms weapons and indirect fire support (mortar). Both small arms and mortar simulators are attended by skilled, highly trained, well experienced, and fully qualified local instructors.
NTC provides theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills and on-the-job training specific for the Royal Brunei Navy. The training focusses on the naval maritime and warfare domain to achieve and meet the Standard of Training Certification and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) accreditation. The learning management system (LMS) was introduced to enhance the training experience both for the instructors and trainees.
RBTS has generally met the objectives to manage and operate the company with 100 per cent local talents across all levels in the organisation. As of December 1, 2020, RBTS has 101 employees, out of which 86 per cent are permanent staff and 14 per cent under local term contract (project-based recruitment). RBTS also actively supports the nationwide agenda with the third batch 18-month i-Ready Apprenticeship Programme. To date, RBTS has recruited 17 i-Ready apprentices.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, RBTS established an Emergency Response Team (ERT) which was tasked with the development of the company’s business continuity plan (BCP) and mobilise response efforts, such as focussing on how to bring the staffs’ work safely and maintain continuity of work in the company. This was done through posters and email communications, through close coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the immediate wake of the crisis.
The RBTS employees emerged as a priority, and this was reflected in the management’s initiatives to carry out measures to help support employees’ physical and emotional well-being, as well as effective communication through the ERT to ensure the staff is always fully informed and supported. The company also looks at the organisational insight of the crisis and develops standard operating procedures to help the company prepare better in the future.
The year 2021 will be a challenging one for most businesses as the after-effects of COVID-19 influence market growth all around the world. RBTS is not exempted from this challenge. However, as vaccines for COVID-19 have been made available, the market is expected to grow in a more subtle phase, operating in a new normal environment.
However for RBTS, as a company built on innovation, RBTS believes that trying times also bring opportunities including opportunities to learn and improve, to reach out and offer more innovative solutions to its customers, and pave the way for new and exciting ventures which will take RBTS to the global arena.
Copyright 2019 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2019 All rights reserved.