| Azlan Othman |
A MEMBER of the Legislative Council (LegCo) has urged the government to allow villagers who are jobless and residing in housing scheme areas to cut overgrown grass and vegetation in the country instead of giving the jobs to contractors, who he said are employing foreign workers to carry out the work.
Penghulu of Mukim Telisai Yang Berhormat Haji Ramli bin Haji Lahit, delivering his closing speech on the 11th day of the LegCo meeting yesterday, also suggested awarding small tenders to locals.
He called for the private sector to prioritise local employment and urged for a minimum wage of not less than BND500 per month – including other subsidies and allowances – for employees in the private sector.
“Big companies are selling their agricultural products at a cheaper rate in the market, as they produce the wares in large quantities,” he said.
“For beginners engaging in agriculture, it is an uphill task as these big companies make their own facilities without importing them from outside the country.
“It is hoped that the big companies will give opportunities to small businesses to begin contract farming in the villages. (This means that the villages can become a centre to obtain consistent supplies of produce), and they can eventually package the products and sell it overseas.”
In his closing speech, LegCo member and Penghulu of Mukim Berakas ‘B’ Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Ali bin Pengiran Maon urged the government agencies to enhance the investment ecosystem, through steps such as improving the ease of doing business; making the procedures for setting up businesses less bureaucratic and logistically efficient; enhancing skills and investment regulations; and increasing transparency with regard to foreign direct investments (FDIs).
He added that Bruneians should be encouraged to become entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, LegCo member and Penghulu of Mukim Kota Batu Yang Berhormat Naim bin Haji Kamis called for close monitoring of subsidies provided to the people to prevent abuse of the grants.
He also urged the nation to take advantage of business opportunities made available by regional cooperation agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).