| Achong Tanjong |
THE Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, yesterday visited the Lambak branch of the Milimewah Department Store Sdn Bhd and the Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong, which is owned by Abdul Razak Holdings company.
Speaking to the media, the minister said the objective of the visit is part of the ministry’s drive to appreciate companies that employ over 50 per cent of locals in their workforce.
The Milimewah Department Store and the Rizqun International Hotel both have a local workforce of some 60 per cent. The visit is meant to act as a signal to encourage other companies to join suit.
According to statistics provided by the ministry, there are 3,454 companies under the country’s five main industries that employ a total of 44,274 employees, of which 28,857 people (65.18 per cent) are foreigners while 15,417 people (34.82 per cent) are locals.
The minister expressed his appreciation to the 1,231 companies that are maintaining a minimum of a 50/50 ratio of locals and foreigners, with some of those companies having a greater proportion of locals. He urged the remaining companies in the country to put more effort to achieve this ratio as well.
To this end, the ministry has also emphasised the importance of local job seekers to not be fussy and demanding. He urged them to fill up vacancies whenever possible.
During his visit yesterday, the minister was briefed by management regarding the history and workforce of the department store and hotel respectively. He also took the opportunity to mingle with staff.
Meanwhile, the minister said that should industries in the country genuinely require foreign workers to keep operations going, this request will be channelled to the Labour Department for consideration. He said that the government does not want to bar these companies’ development, as long as jobs are filled by locals. He added that Brunei does need foreign workers but only when it is truly required.
Regarding the construction site accident in Kuala Belait recently, the minister said that the case is still under investigation and that the Labour Department is monitoring the situation.
Accompanying the minister during his visit was the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Awg Roslan bin Haji Taja’ah as well as senior officials from the Department of Economic and Planning Development and the Labour Department.