Call to build regional digital capabilities

James Kon

As countries and businesses prepare for economic recovery from the pandemic, there is an opportunity to take advantage of the renewed mindset, leveraging on future challenges as new opportunities for ASEAN.

With substantial digital transformation expected in the coming years and potential unlocking of sustainable natural capital opportunities like nature-based solutions, the ASEAN region has a huge potential for building digital capabilities and green developments.

The importance of embracing digital transformation was underscored by Brunei LNG Managing Director and CEO Hajah Farida binti Dato Seri Paduka Haji Talib in her special remarks at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2021 held virtually yesterday.

The ABIS included keynote addresses from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, Malaysia Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.

“The world is in a constant flux of change. Change is a necessary ingredient for evolution, the next step needed for our society to advance forward. As we look forward to rebounding from COVID-19, people capability becomes essential for driving digitalisation and sustainability efforts, as we shift from the industrial age to the network-ed era,” Hajah Farida said. The movement towards Industry 4.0 is set to disrupt traditional way of doing things, she said, adding that “connectivity and automation on a larger scale enables increasing productivity and performance, shifting away from the traditional business mindsets and value chain.

“The possibility of a wider seamless digital integration opens the door for economic growth if it is done in an inclusive manner.

Brunei LNG Managing Director and CEO Hajah Farida binti Dato Seri Paduka Haji Talib. PHOTO: BRUNEI LNG

“COVID-19 pandemic, is a stark reminder to all of us that what we view as ‘normal’ lacks permanence and highlights the importance of equipping ourselves with the capability to thrive through rapid change.

“Strategic discussions on digitalisation have accelerated into an operational imperative as many adopt and rely on digitalisation tools to remain sustainable in the new normal.

Digitalisation, she added, “for me is not a new way of working, but a way of working that needs to be accelerated. A way of working that we need to preserve for the future.”

She also said, “The impact of climate change is real and occurring now; loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat wave happening across the globe calling for more intensive efforts towards preventing further catastrophe. We all play our part in supporting the climate change agenda and making sure there is a viable future for our children’s and their children’s generations”.

Coming closer to home, she said “the ASEAN economy is predicted to be the world’s fourth largest ‘single market’ after the European Union (EU), United States (US) and China by 2030. With this projected economic and population growth, its Energy Consumption (TFEC) in the baseline scenario is also expected to grow by 146 per cent in 2040 creating the challenge for ASEAN to find a pathway that can integrate a holistic approach for addressing their energy security needs with their aspirations for economic sustainability.

“Brunei LNG is proud to be one of the joint lead sponsors for the ABIS and the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) 2021, led by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Brunei.

“I believe that a platform such as the ABIS can cultivate thoughtful discussions among international leaders, key industry players and promote collaborative spirit between public and private partnership to pave the way for solutions to address future world challenges.

“Personally, I am heavily invested in this futuristic society we could all create together. This also reaffirms our commitment as an industry leader in promoting sustainable energy solutions and as a trusted partner with the Government of His Majesty, as the country progresses towards a low carbon and climate resilient nation”.