Focus on MCYS’ new initiatives

James Kon

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin revealed the new initiatives and achievements implemented this year, during the dialogue session with Legislative Council (LegCo) members at the Youth Development Centre yesterday.

The new initiatives include a review of the action plan on the issue of poverty, to make it more effective and result-oriented; the National Welfare System (SKN), which is expected to be fully operational early next year; and a re-evaluation of guidelines for sporting excellence such as the Sports Excellence Incentive Scheme (SKPS) and the Sports Academy, together with the national selection of athletes and coaches.

The minister said, “The focus of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for the financial year of 2019/2020 is on ‘enhancing the empowerment and capabilities of individuals, families and communities in an inclusive and impactful manner. Therefore I have outlined 51 initiatives that have been, or will be, implemented. A total of 33 (65 per cent) from 51 initiatives have been implemented, while nine (18 per cent) are on track to meet the target, eight (16 per cent) have commenced and one or two per cent have yet to be implemented.

“Firstly, we will continue to strengthen the Social Security and Protection to the underprivileged community, through the Poverty Eradication Plan Programme by reducing reliance on government assistance. Currently, the action plan on the issue of poverty is being reviewed to make it more effective and result-oriented, while based on real data. Insya Allah, this will be addressed at the National Council on Social Issues (MKIS) meeting tomorrow.

“Also to look into are the housing schemes for the underprivileged, education assistance programme, expanding the transport network, providing job creation and entrepreneurship skills as well as developing relevant policies and laws.

“This will need the Whole-of-Nation approach also involving NGOs, associations and councils. We acknowledge that the huge challenge is the change of mindset among people.”

The minister also revealed that to boost economic self-sufficiency and reduce dependency on assistance, the ministry has emphasised employment and entrepreneurship opportunities through the building of skills and capabilities.

“Several programmes have been continued, while several new ones were introduced, such as the implementation of Teguhkan Ekonomi Keluarga Asas Berdikari (TEKAD) programme, the Relevant Skills Programme, the Employment Plans and the Micro-Grant Assistance programmes.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin and other officials during the dialogue session. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“The government has given aid amounting to BND9.73 million to 5,788 recipients of the Monthly Welfare Assistance (BKB) for the financial year of 2019/2020 until now.

“It is important for this dependency to be reduced through employment and entrepreneurship, especially for those who are able-bodied and able to work.

“Secondly, we will make sure that no one entitled to receive assistance is left behind. Through the MKIS, every special committee is currently working on and continuing to implement initiatives under their respective action plans.

“In the titah 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 to the MKIS, each of the special committees must be more result-oriented, while the action plans should be carried out and monitored.

Alhamdulillah, the achievement of action plans based on KPIs are reported and analysed on a monthly basis to measure their effectiveness. We’ve also seen the importance of reaching out to the public as the eyes and ears of the government.

“The community engagement programme with penghulus and village heads was implemented in all four districts, to provide information on welfare and community services as well as on the well-being of the community. This will be continued and expanded to other areas.”

On the SKN that is expected to be fully operational early next year, he said, “The SKN ecosystem will provide state-level comprehensive and centralised data from all of the agencies involved in providing assistance and welfare services.

“This will give a better overall picture on the profiles of the target groups to prevent oversights

and duplications. The ministry will lead the implementation of the SKN’s policies and processes together with stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Brunei Islamic Religious Council, the Ministry of Education and Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

“Thirdly, we will give priority to the empowerment of community which is inclusive and sustainable. The ministry will continue to take action in providing added value and access to empowerment programmes to all target groups and individuals.

“Several programmes at the Youth Development Centre (PPB) were expanded to include various community groups, including those in the low-income bracket, especially women, unemployed youth and people with different abilities, together with the involvement of village consultative councils and government agencies.

“This should provide great opportunities for these groups to get jobs and start businesses. We are currently looking into whether the Youth Development Centre should change its functions and role in community development, so that it is viewed as inclusive.”

On entrepreneurship for senior citizens, youth and persons with different abilities, the minister stated, “We have started planning to set up an enterprise for the Senior Citizens Activity Centre and Pusat Bahagia, in addition to providing grants and platforms to certain groups including youth. Alhamdulillah, a number of youth have started using the available platforms such as textile entrepreneurship, agriculture and the food business. Among the subsequent plans are the supply of school uniforms and songkok by Pusat Bahagia, women and low-income families.

“All the strategies and actions outlined can only be implemented with the cooperation and contribution of strategic partners and the various parties through the Whole-of-Nation approach,” he said.

Earlier, the LegCo members visited the workshops in the Youth Development Centre, including the Kemari Farm Enterprise, a beauty therapy workshop, and a food and catering workshop.