Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd was incorporated on December 12, 2012 with the mandate to manage the performance of government-linked companies (GLCs) under its purview based on commercial principles and good governance. The company is an integral part of the Brunei Government’s objective to encourage national development, drive economic diversification and general gainful employment through meaningful contribution from profitable, sustainable and commercial enterprises.
In addition to supporting operational excellence and promoting best practice, Darussalam Assets strives to improve the value for money of the products and services offered by Darussalam Assets Group of Companies to the nation. This includes creating conducive environments that are attractive for foreign direct investments, promoting local business development while complementing private sector growth, and encouraging import substitution while creating export value for international trade.
Darussalam Assets’ portfolio currently saturates several industries in the economy including aviation, telecommunications, power utilities, logistics, agribusiness, food and beverage, leisure and tourism, medical, education, hospitality and real estate.
The Darussalam Assets Group will continue to support the Brunei Government in ensuring national food security, connectivity and other aspects of living as Brunei continues to be introduced to the new normal.
In close collaboration with government agencies, Darussalam Assets works to improve industry structures and sector strategies to accelerate innovation and improve efficiency.
Through corporatisation or public-private partnership exercises, Darussalam Assets’ aim is to implement these projects in partnership with qualified technical partners as the company strives towards successful optimisation of government assets, in support of the government’s efforts towards fiscal consolidation. In doing so, Darussalam Assets is not only entrusted with alleviating fiscal stress, but also plays an active part in enhancing the quality and productivity of service delivery.
Darussalam Assets’ vision remains steadfast in inspiring and instituting excellence in corporate performance, and the company continues to commit to its mission of building a sustainable foundation to spur economic vitality in harmony with nation-building objectives.
The Darussalam Assets Group has remained committed to delivering its products and services throughout the pandemic. As a result of COVID-19, disruptions were evident in international and local supply chains across many of the sectors Darussalam Assets Group is vigorously involved in. It was imperative to keep the economy running for the nation and its people in adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines advised by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
To note a few examples, the second wave pressured the need for employees and students to shift to working and learning from home to limit the spread of COVID-19. Although upgrading works were ongoing from the first wave, the increased traffic and data volume compelled Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN) to accelerate the upgrading of existing infrastructure and installation of new infrastructure to accommodate the higher demand for Internet connectivity.
This was executed successfully in tandem with managing other considerations such as cable theft issues, manpower capacity, resource allocation for MoH and other agencies pertaining to COVID mitigation (such as providing data centre services for MoH’s BruHealth Cloud Solution, and ensuring reliable connectivity at temporary medical premises and isolation centres) as well as its home and business consumers.
Darussalam Assets’ other companies in the ICT sector have also played an active role in providing COVID-19 support such as curating and making available affordable packages for online learning and work-from-home customers.
As with the first wave, food security also remains a priority. Royal Brunei Culinary supported MoH with the provision of meals to isolation centres in addition to ensuring the hospitals it caters to remain well-maintained.
PDS Abattoir Sdn Bhd (PDS) also worked alongside the government to help ease the beef shortage by importing ready-to-slaughter live cattle from Australia. In 2020, a total of 7,495 cattle were imported from Australia, and in 2021, a total of 13,218 cattle and buffaloes were imported from Australia. In addition, PDS assisted in addressing the local supply shortage of lamb products through the rapid construction of a sheep yard and thereafter imported readyto- slaughter lamb. In 2020, a total of 2,200 had been imported from Australia and a total of 5,681 in 2021.
The Darussalam Assets Group will continue to support the Brunei Government in ensuring national food security, connectivity and other aspects of living as Brunei moves towards the new normal.
The company will continue to demonstrate
private sector leadership in the business ecosystem by exercising strong advocacy for social contribution, preservation of the environment and
Darussalam Assets will continue serving its role as the strategic owner of Brunei’s GLCs as part of its contribution to Brunei Vision 2035. The company will continue striving to champion economic development, effect economic diversification and generate gainful employment opportunities within the Darussalam Assets Group, the wider business community and the private sector.
Darussalam Assets will also continue to work with government agencies to improve the sector strategies of industries in which its companies operate in, to enhance service efficiency, accelerate innovation by leveraging on Brunei’s journey towards becoming a Smart Nation, and turn its companies into world-class corporations.
As a forward moving and progressive organisation, Darussalam Assets is mindful of how significant it is to be a responsible corporate citizen that actively prioritises emerging conversations that are of importance on both a national and global scale, such as sustainability and digitalisation. As Darussalam Assets reaches its 10th anniversary, the company will continue to demonstrate private sector leadership in the business ecosystem by exercising strong advocacy for social contribution, preservation of the environment and economic prosperity.
Through its corporate social responsibility initiatives, Darussalam Assets seeks to inspire social and economic changes by providing sustainable support and development for the people and the planet. The company’s RIGHT (respect, integrity, genuineness, humility and teamwork) values, envisioned through the social investments that Darussalam Assets invests in, is hoped to drive a short- and long-term positive impact not just for its company, but also for the community it wants to give back to.
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 2021, digital and mobile wallets accounted for 25.7 per cent of global point of sale spend in 2020. This figure is projected to increase to 33.4 per cent by 2024. Cash payment, on the other hand, is projected to decrease from 20.5 per cent in 2020 to 12.7 per cent by 2024.
Brunei’s first ever mobile wallet, Progresif PAY, was introduced in 2018 as a result of the collaboration between Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) and local telco firm Progresif. The app, powered by BIBD NEXGEN, enables consumers and businesses in Brunei to carry out cashless transaction with 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 near-field 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.
In 2021, DSTPay was launched as a mobile wallet app, a collaboration between Baiduri Bank, DST and UnionPay. DSTPay is both Baiduri and UnionPay’s first QR code payment solution in Brunei. The app also marks UnionPay International’s (UPI) first mobile wallet in Southeast Asia that features a tripartite collaboration of a bank, telco and international payment network. DSTPay can be used to scan QR codes at over 200 merchant outlets from diverse industries such as food and beverage, supermarkets, mini-marts, retail and services in Brunei. When international travel resumes, they can scan QR codes for payments at over 30 million merchants in 45 markets including Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Thailand.
As one of the largest financial institutions in the country, BIBD has always been committed to supporting the development of local startups. The bank’s SME360 platform is a comprehensive banking solution that complements the needs of businesses. It provides access to a dedicated relationship management team, financial solutions as well as digital payments, in support of the nation’s drive towards becoming a Smart Nation powered by a digital economy.
BIBD Mastercard Payment Gateway Services are also offered to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) wishing to receive digital payments, which is particularly useful for startups that hope to scale up and offer their services beyond the local market. The bank offers such a service at little to no cost, along with existing digital payment solutions such as QuickPay and physical credit card terminals.
In addition, Baiduri MerchantSuite (by Linkly) is an affordable, secure platform specially designed to allow businesses to accept payments online without having to build an expensive e-commerce website. With the ability to process payments from Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards, this platform offers different packages to suit businesses of all sizes, including micro and small establishments.
More established e-commerce merchants can also benefit from Baiduri’s payment gateway service, which enables shoppers to pay for their online purchases using Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay and American Express cards.
Several initiatives have been made to modernise the logistics and transport system in Brunei Darussalam. One such initiative is the establishment of Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd (MPC) in 2017 to operate the Muara Container Terminal, which is the country’s only seaport. In addition to operating the port, MPC has also diversified its business, expanding its operations to land logistics and storage of specialised goods.
Other initiatives include the establishment of the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD) as a statutory body responsible for the management, administration and security of maritime affairs and ports of Brunei Darussalam in line with the requirements of international standards.
In November 2021, an agreement was signed between MPABD and the Brunei International Air Cargo Centre (BIACC) for the leasing of inland container depots (ICDs) at Kuala Lurah and Sungai Tujoh. The ICDs are expected to improve the ease of doing business aspect in Brunei and drive down logistic costs. The warehouses will cater to the needs of customs declaration and clearance, e-commerce handling, inventory and storage management for short and longterm storage of general cargo, sea container (dry and/or reefer) and oil and gas equipment, general cargo handling (FCL and LCL containers), cross-docking services, and cargo consolidation or deconsolidation.
In terms of local transport, Brunei’s first ridehailing service, Dart, allows everyone to book rides from any registered Dart driver, including taxis. With more drivers joining, Dart provides transportation convenience for riders to travel anywhere within the country.
Copyright 2019 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2019 All rights reserved.