Brunei’s ‘living laboratory’ a boon for researchers: A diologue session

Dialogue session with Alice Lim and Professor Asit. Photo: Zee Yusri

Zee Yusri

BORNEO BULLETIN | October 13, 2013

Brunei Darussalam remains a prime choice for exploratory fields or as a living laboratory for various researches that will generate new ideas or concepts for growth and development in terms of social and economical aspects. The Sultanate is also a remarkable platform to conduct research and exploration activities without much restriction, which may prove difficult in other countries.

This was highlighted by Professor Asit K. Biswas, Founder and President of the Third World Centre for Water Management in Mexico, during a seminar and dialogue entitled ‘Water As An Engine For Social and Economic Development’ at the Indera Pahlawan Hall, Ministry of Development Training Centre (MODTC) in Berakas recently.

According to the professor, water issues take on different scenarios across the globe, with many unaware of the importance and value of the ‘golden’ commodity in some countries as compared to others. Thus it remains a rather emotional and sentimental issue amongst certain countries.

“Brunei possesses the fundamentally related sectors such as water, energy and food. Hence, other nations should visit Brunei to explore the wonderful ‘living laboratory’” he said.

Earlier this year, the issue of excessive water usage per person was raised as this could possibly decrease the water sustainability and efficiency within the country.

“Water will eventually decrease in resources and this will definitely affect other systems. But as our knowledge base increases, technology improves while social needs, views and aspirations change. This then enhances management practices for the better.

“It is essential that both the government and private sectors reflect on best practices to properly manage or sustain the modern transformations tactically and increase the standard of living of the people,” the professor said.

Water shortages or crises are still faced by several countries across the globe and this evidently leads to health problems including economic and social issues as they struggle to provide clean water supplies for the populace.

“For instance, if contaminated water was supplied, the incidences and frequencies of water-borne disease will increase. This, in turn, affects the population – especially the poor – as they are made to fork out funds to facilitate treatment costs.

“In this modern era, the most fundamental issue is water conservation and how much is consumed on a daily basis globally,” said the visiting academia. Focusing on water development issues, he said that revolutionary changes will soon impact water development plans and projects around the world through many means such as fast-moving science and technological advances.

Through this, new methods of water management will be designed and more emphasise is placed on the integration of water, food and energy.

“Many of these could be achieved in the Sultanate as it possesses the essential advantages to contribute to better water management and efficiency through research, new development projects towards social and economic development of the nation,” concluded Professor Asit.

A dialogue session with Professor Asit K. Biswas, accompanied by Alice Lim, Acting Assistant Director of the Water Service Department, Public Works Department, Ministry of Development was later held.

Also at the seminar was Dato Paduka Haji Suhaimi bin Hj Gafar, Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional); Awg Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny, Acting Permanent Secretary (Administration and Finance) and Hj Marzuke bin Hj Mohsin, Director-General of the Public Works Department, officers and staff at the Ministry of Development.