| Siti Hajar |
HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday lamented the lack of enthusiasm among the younger generation who have yet to grasp opportunities provided by the government.
In the monarch’s 31st National Day titah that was aired on radio as well as television last night, His Majesty said the government has invested in human resource development programmes to provide locals with skills and abilities to meet the demand of the private sector. But in spite of that “not many are seizing opportunities that are readily available.”
His Majesty questioned the cause behind this issue and pointed out that perhaps many are too cautious to step away from their comfort zones whereby, “many of our locals are still too hopeful on the government sector for employment”, despite the private sector offering positions that can also fulfil their needs.
“Solutions must be found for this (issue),” said His Majesty.
With this year’s National Day theme ‘Generation with a Vision’ still remains relevant in fulfilling the nation’s Vision 2035, the monarch reminded that the younger generation must be prepared to face challenges that lie in the future.
Among these challenges, it was pointed out, include the preservation of peace, which has enabled the people of Brunei to live in comfort and carry out a number of development plans that have led to the nation’s prosperity, and the current obstacles the nation face that ought to be tackled by all members of society.
In stressing that peace is a responsibility not just shouldered by security and enforcement agencies, His Majesty reminded members of the public must play their role in ensuring that the country continues to benefit from peace that Brunei has been blessed with.
“Among the influences that can disrupt peace and prosperity is the abuse of drugs,” said His Majesty. “Government agencies, the public, parents, schools, non-government organisations and grassroots leaders must work together towards instilling awareness and encourage concerted efforts to overcome the misuse of drugs”, with education at home and school, especially religious education, being the tool for empowerment.
The economy, continued His Majesty, is also closely linked with the country’s peace. However, with competition abound in the context of globalisation, cyber communication as well as innovation that spreads across several different areas, Bruneians have been reminded to be competitive as well.
“We need to be competitive through our values, ways and thinking towards making us more independent and self-sustaining without being dependant on assistance. We must be the instigator of change and adapt appropriately to ensure that we are not left behind.”
Among the efforts currently in place to stimulate and diversify the economy was consented by His Majesty and implemented earlier in the year.
The amendment to the Miscellaneous Licence Act (Amendment) 2015 that, among others, replaces the Miscellaneous Licence with the more convenient process of obtaining the business licence that cuts down the process of licensing to just one day, is hoped to provide opportunities for the younger generation in setting up their own businesses.
Other avenues that can be pursued, it was said, include multiplying efforts in attracting more Foreign Direct Investments in the non-oil and gas sectors, improving the investment atmosphere and enterprises as well as providing the physical infrastructure and encouraging the development of model individuals.
“Economic dependency on one sector is not sustainable. We must diversify our economy to prepare ourselves for unexpected difficulties,” the monarch said.
What needs to be practised as well is prudence and inculcate this as a culture, which His Majesty described as being a culture that is of importance especially when income is low.
In concluding the titah, His Majesty expressed his appreciation and gratitude to committee members who played their role in organising this year’s celebration and to participants as well as those on duty for their efforts in securing the success of this year’s independence day celebration.
The monarch also expressed his appreciation to all levels of the community including those in the public sector, either working at home or overseas, the security personnel and those working in the private sector and prayed for the country to continue to receive protection from Allah the Almighty.