Bid to promote blacksmith industry in Brunei

Hjh Rosmawati Hj Manaf (3rd right), Acting Chief Executive of RBTS hands over locally made machetes or 'parang' to a representative from RBAF during a presentation on Wednesday.

BRUNEI - The Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS) pledge to revive the fading local blacksmith industry and technology in the country took another step forward yesterday with the handing over of 180 locally made parang (machetes) to several government agencies.

The ceremony was the culmination of an RBTS's pilot project with local parang producers signed last year in a bid to manufacture and market their products on a larger scale.

According to RBTS Acting Chief Executive Hjh Rosmawati Hj Manaf, the locally made parangs tested favourably against imports with the local products proving to be of a higher quality.

"This is because the imported parangs or are machine grinded while our local products are hand-made," she said.

The handing over of the parang to the recipients will further help RBTS evaluate the quality of the products as they will be used on a daily basis, added Hjh Rosmawati noting the three month test phase for recipients to determine its effectiveness.

Under the contract, RBTS employed nine local parang makers from around the Brunei-Muara District to produce 180 parangs to be distributed among seven different agencies.

The list of recipients were the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), each received 40 parangs and 20 each for the Gurkha Reserve Unit, Fire and Rescue Department, Survey Department, Narcotics Control Bureau and the Forestry Department.

Representatives of the agencies received the parangs in a ceremony held at the RBTS Vehicle Maintenance Centre at the Kg Salar Industrial Area in Jln Muara yesterday.A briefing on the manufacturing of the product was also conducted by RBTF staff.

In the presentation, it was mentioned that the parangs were made of high quality leaf springs with each leaf spring able to produce four parangs.

A test was carried out on the finished products where RBTS surveyed the quality of its production, the strength of its handle grips, sharpness of the blade and durability of its casings.

RBTS is also looking forward to getting feedback from the recipients within the next three months as this will help to determine whether RBTS will engage more local producers in a mass manufacturing project, said Hjh Rosmawati.

A question and answer session during the ceremony raised the concerns of recipients as to the products specifications and general standards seeing that they are hand-made rather than machine manufactured.

A question posed by representatives from the RBPF pointed out to the product's weight and durability which may not be uniform due to its 'hand-made' aspect.

RBTS ensured that the production of each parang was properly gauged and that the leaf spring material used is of excellent quality.

According to Hjh Rosmawati the parang will be showcased during BRIDEX next year and if demand for them increases, mass manufacturing of the product is a definite possibility.

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