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 called on members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) to fulfil their responsibilities with sincerity, be open in receiving feedback and look for positive impact on the people and the country in their deliberations.
“This attitude is important,” said His Majesty during his titah at the opening ceremony of the 19th LegCo session yesterday.
“Don’t run away from looking for a positive impact on the country, because this is the time to discuss without being bound by disadvantageous conditions,” His Majesty said, calling on LegCo members to be open-minded while being free from external influences.
His Majesty also hoped that experienced members of the LegCo can lead discussions on strategic issues, and reminded them that operational and tactical discussions can be held outside of LegCo sessions.
His Majesty drew attention to unemployment, stating it as an important issue that requires attention.
The monarch expressed confidence that with the cooperation and strong support from relevant parties, the unemployment rate could be reduced, as it has been achieved before, noting that the unemployment rate of 7.3 per cent in 2020 was reduced to 4.9 per cent in 2021.
His Majesty said the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) Secretariat is planning and implementing strategies through the whole-of-government and the whole-of-nation approaches to ensure the interests of local jobseekers, particularly through re-training and upgrading of knowledge.
The monarch highlighted the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Competency Apprentice Programme that has been introduced to improve the skills of locals in private companies, particularly those in the construction and energy sectors.
The programme enables locals to be eligible to register as safety and health officers or coordinators in the workplace, in accordance to the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA).
The government has also introduced the SkillsPlus Programme to give an opportunity for locals to improve skills and marketability, which has now been extended to four new sectors – energy, construction, transport, logistics and HSE, said the monarch.
His Majesty said that the new National Retirement Scheme (SPK), to be launched in July, will provide better retirement income than the current Employees Trust Fund (TAP) scheme while also encouraging members to continue to find employment in the public or private sector.
Meanwhile, on the Sultanate’s commitment to climate change, Brunei Darussalam is hosting the ASEAN Centre for Climate Change which allows national and international experts to conduct research activities related to climate change, said His Majesty.
“This is in line with the country’s climate change policy in which carbon inventory directive using a centralised inventory system will be introduced as part of the country’s efforts to monitor and verify data accurately.
“By end of the year, the information will be included in the national climate change adaptation plan,” added the monarch.
His Majesty also spoke on the economy, noting that the Annual Census of Enterprises report in 2021 shows that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) made up97.2 per cent of the total active businesses in 2020.
His Majesty believes that MSMEs play a role in strengthening the nation’s economy and the business environment must continue to be encourage entrepreneurship and expansion of existing businesses.
The monarch also called on MSMEs to be courages in expanding overseas, adding more value to the country’s economy and noted that Darussalam Enterprises (DARe) will continue to provide support and advisory services to MSMEs.