Digital Economy Council established to facilitate ‘Smart Nation’ drive

|     Azlan Othman     |

BY THE consent of 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, the Digital Economy Council has been established to replace the functions of the Brunei Darussalam National IT Council, which has existed for over 19 years.

The establishment of the council will guide the policy towards Brunei’s drive to become a Smart Nation, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof said on the third day of the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting yesterday. He was responding to LegCo member Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad and Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Hadii’s questions regarding the coordinating of efforts to move the country towards Smart Nation status and to realise a digital economy.

“Coordination is paramount in the nation’s drive towards Smart Nation status,” the minister said. “It is not a sole effort of one ministry but involves every ministry, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Since the middle of last year, we have carried out coordination to review the purpose of the ICT policy for the country for the area of e-government, and ICT and telecommunications industry.”

Several ministries such as the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications; Prime Minister’s Office; Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry; as well as the Ministry of Finance and Economy have coordinated on a policy basis, the minister said.

He added that in this Fourth Industrial Revolution era, “Everything we do revolves around Internet access”, and to facilitate the country’s smooth transition towards this technological transformation, the country needs to increase accessibility to the technologies, which include applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

“To do this, the prices (to access these technologies) must be affordable,” he said.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof. – PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad