Foreign nationals are allowed to be company directors in Brunei, but a thorough background check must be done prior, said Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy.
Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew at the 19th Legislative Council (LegCo) Session said that the Registrar of Company Brunei Darussalam (ROCBN) is strict with giving directorship to foreigners to avoid misuse by local companies and businesses.
“We used to be lenient on this matter until problems arise where names of foreigners were used everywhere (as director). Some foreigners were not even aware, and some locals misuse them by bringing them in, registering them as directors and obtaining a green IC without sponsoring their employment. This is categorised as human trafficking,” said the minister.
Following this, ROCBN has taken measures to have further examinations on every foreign national entering the country to become a director, making sure their exact post is as stated and not otherwise.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew further said that prior to entering the country, foreign nationals need to be registered with Labour Department and only work for the position that was originally applied for.
“As an example, their work permit allows them to be a bus driver in Brunei but when they enter the country, they become a director. Their work visa is as a bus driver and not a director. This is an issue that we are afraid of being misused,” explained the minister.
He reiterated that due to issues of misuse and human trafficking, ROCBN does not take the matter lightly and will conduct thorough investigations.
Sharing the same sentiment, Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ahmaddin Hj Abdul Rahman said that some of the foreign nationals who were proposed to be a director were not aware of their job scope and not knowing the language, among others.
“Labour Department makes sure that foreign nationals are working according to their given job. This is part of the control and not an inconvenience. It is to ensure them for not staying longer without having a proper job to be made as directors,” he said.
The ministers’ responses were to the question posed by LegCo member YB Pg Hj Isa Pg Hj Aliuddin on some issues about unwritten rules and policies by ROCBN – green IC holders are not allowed to be a director; current director not allowed to hold the same position in another company and; foreign nationals are no longer allowed to be a shareholder in Brunei.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN