BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Brunei's Ministry of Defence (MinDef) has proposed a budget of 589.9 million Brunei dollars (434.9 million U.S. dollars) for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, a 6 percent increase from the previous year as it looks to enhance operational capabilities and defence diplomacy.
Second Minister of Defence Hj Awang Halbi said, during Tuesday's Legislative Council meeting, that the newly proposed budget is 35.6 million Brunei dollars more than that of the previous financial year.
While no breakdown of the budget was given, the minister said recent developments have seen the need for the ministry to re-evaluate and update its defence strategies and equipment.
Hj Awang Halbi noted that the continuous development of the country has drastically changed the country's strategic environment, citing new developments in Muara Town, Pulau Muara Besar and the construction of the Temburong Bridge as examples.
"It is time for the Defence White Paper to be updated which, among other things, will change the operations concepts and (allow for the) procurement of new military equipment to develop more balanced and holistic capabilities and to replace dated equipment that are considered obsolete," he said.
The minister said that the three focal points of Brunei's defence strategy are to ensure its abilities to suppress and respond to deterrents, defence diplomacy and holistic defence.