Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The government will be launching the National Welfare System or Sistem Kebajikan Negara (SKN) on July 15, announced the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Second Minister of Finance and Economy.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said the system is for those who intend to apply for Monthly Welfare Assistance or Bantuan Kebajikan Bulanan (BKB) administered by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB)’s Zakat Fund for the Asnaf Fakir and Miskin.

Speaking during the daily press conference at the Ministry of Health (MoH), the finance minister said SKN will be opened to Bruneian citizens and residents who can access the website at www.skn.gov.bn.

The system, developed for MCYS in collaboration with MoFE along with other agencies such as the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) and Ministry of Education (MoE) is aimed to align the process of providing assistance run by these agencies.

In addition, the initiative is hoped to enhance cooperation in information sharing through the establishment of a centralised database.

“The database can enhance effectiveness of the aid programmes along with the government’s efforts to alleviate poverty and help those who truly require aid,” said YB Dato Dr Amin Liew.

The minister said that SKN will apply the National Criteria as a baseline for aligning and calculating those who are eligible to receive assistance.

“This includes aligning the basic requirements and minimum cost or Kos Minima dan Keperluan Asas (KMKA) procedure to assess each applicant’s poverty level.”

In light of this, the MCYS will be setting up a task force to operate the SKN system and handle three aspects.

These include collating applications and ensure that information entered into the system is accurate; submit the applications to JAPEM or MUIB for review and selection and to monitor the progress of the application and selection.

MCYS minister, Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan POKSMDSP Hj Abidin during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

MCYS minister, Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan POKSMDSP Hj Abidin said the taskforce will additionally be analysing and preparing monthly reports.

“InsyaAllah, the SKN will be able to provide a more comprehensive picture of the eco-system of aid in this country with transparency, clarity and prevent negligence in the distribution of aid.”

“The system will be able to provide demographics and background of the applicants including their family members and the type of aid that can be provided,” the minister added.

YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said the system will additionally be able to produce a support recipient map that will allow for appropriate analysis and intervention, which include addressing unemployment and obtaining employment and skills for the applicant and dependents towards resolving the poverty cycle.

The minister shared that currently, the total number of welfare assistance recipients under JAPEM are 5,678 heads of households while recipients of MUIB’s Asnaf Fakir and Miskin are 3,773 heads of households.

These recipients are encouraged to update their profiles on the SKN website once it launches on July 15.

“InsyaAllah applications for other assistance such as old age pensions, disability allowance, food rations, home remediation assistance, home applications and temporary settlements will be introduced in the next phase,” said YB Dato Hj Aminuddin.

He added that the eligibility criteria for JAPEM and MUIB’s monthly welfare assistance applications remain unchanged.

“For non-muslims, applications will be processed by JAPEM in accordance to existing guidelines.”

However, there are changes for the eligibility criteria for applications made through JAPEM which will be in line with KMKA using the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Modified Scale.

To apply, interested individuals are required to follow these procedures:

• The applicant must first have a valid email account to enable them to register. This email will be used as confirmation of receipt of registration.
• Personal documents are required where applicants must scan and upload their identity cards along with their husband / wife / child, birth certificate, marriage certificate, applicant and wife’s salary statement and confirmation letter from respective village heads.
•BKB recipients who have registered with JAPEM and charity donours from MUIB will receive an SMS containing a link to the SKN website to enable them to register and use the system.

Those who have not received an SMS are encouraged to update their phone numbers by calling the welfare line at 141, said the minister.

“This welfare line will also be extended to address any concerns on the SKN initiative from June 23 and will operate 24 hours.”

“For applicants who do not have access to a computer or mobile phone, can apply at nearby JAPEM branches. In addition, JAPEM offices and staff along with village heads will assist applicants to register,” said YB Dato Hj Aminuddin.

The new initiative will be shared with village heads and penghulu nationwide via roadshows starting tomorrow.

• For the Brunei Muara district, the roadshow will be held on June 23 for three days at Dewan Teater of MoFE;
• For the Belait district, the roadshow will be held on Tuesday, June 30 at Kuala Belait’s conference hall;
• For the Tutong district, the roadshow will be held on Wednesday, July 1 at the Tutong Community Complex’s main hall;
• For the Temburong district, the roadshow will be held on Thursday, July 2 at the community hall of the Temburong District Office.

The roadshows will take place from 8.30am to 10.30am and 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

Letters will be issued to the village heads and penghulu to attend the roadshows, scan their QR Codes using the BruHealth app before entering the venues.ofe

Zero cases, no recoveries
The sultanate saw no new positive cases of COVID-19 again with the national tally to remain at 141, the Minister of Health announced.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar also shared that no individuals are currently undergoing quarantine in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204), where a total of 2,823 individuals have completed their quarantine.

In the past 24 hours, a total of 103 samples have been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, bringing the total number of laboratory tests conducted from January 2020 to 26,571.

The health minister also shared statistics of the surveillance test conducted during the sixth-week of the de-escalation period from June 15 to June 21 where 530 samples tested negative.

Meanwhile, a total of 2,384 number of expanded surveillance tests have been conducted from June 1 – 21 where a total of 1,756 were taken from preschool and childcare centre staff.

“This test will be extended to primary schools and conducted at random where 10 per cent of the total number of teachers will be selected to undergo the SARS-CoV-2 swab test,” said the minister.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham also advised the public to bring and use their own prayer mats and to wear facemasks when using prayer facilities in public areas such as shopping malls and department stores.

He added that owners of these premises should also ensure that the public adhere to these requirements.

BruHealth updates

The health minister also revealed that the BruHealth tracing app has accumulated 396,773 registered as users, with a total of 10,257 businesses and premises already on the platform, added the minister.

Meanwhile, a total of 4,152 business premises have downloaded the PremiseScan application.

The minister went on to inform that all premises are advised to download the application to facilitate the QR code scanning especially for those who do not have access to mobile phone devices to enter premises.

For further information and latest development, visit MoH’s website www.moh.gov.bn or call its Health Advice Line 148 or through the web platform healthinfo.gov.bn or through the BruHealth App.

Alternatively, members of the public can also get the latest information on the COVID-19 situation in Brunei through GOV.BN official channel on Telegram at https://t.me/govbnofficial

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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