Bruneian nationals working, living or studying overseas are urged to register with the Brunei embassies of their respective countries as a means to ease contact and establish a support line for citizens living abroad amidst the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking during a joint press conference recently, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Erywan Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof said that there are currently about 3,700 Bruneian nationals overseas.
“About 670 Bruneians have registered with the consulates of their respective countries, either due to work or travel. Meanwhile, only 39 have registered through the MFA website and of course, this does not reflect the true number of Bruneians out there,” he said.
With more than 80 percent of Bruneians overseas comprising of students, the minister highlighted the importance of keeping all Bruneians worldwide accounted for, especially with the looming threat of lockdowns expanding as COVID-19 cases rise globally.
In light of this, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are working closely with one another to monitor and get updated on the latest developments in countries affected by COVID-19, particularly those with Bruneian students.
According to YB Dato Hj Erywan, there are about 2,500 Bruneians studying abroad and a majority of them are found in Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Egypt.
On his part, Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman said that the ministry’s COVID-19 Task Force Centre has been receiving daily reports from education attaches in Australia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
This information not only pertains to the status of students residing in the three countries but also the well-being of Bruneians who are studying in Singapore, Ireland and New Zealand.
“In countries without education attaches, the ministry will conduct direct monitoring either through the ministry’s Scholarship Section or through the Brunei consulates in each country,” said the education minister.
“Taking into consideration that the sultanate itself is facing the challenge of controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus currently, MOE with the advice of MoH, will look into measures that will enable the students to return home,” added YB Dato Hj Hamzah.
For parents and guardians who wish to know more of the measures taken by the ministry in ensuring the well-being of Bruneian students abroad they can refer to the Scholarship Section of the Ministry of Education or call 2380019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN