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Learn from experience, says bank chairman

Izah Azahari

Communities thrive when there are cooperation and collaboration, said Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah, Chairman of Baiduri Bank, during the Transform 2022 Town Hall Forum at the Radisson Hotel yesterday.

In a speech, titled ‘Navigating the Transition’, the chairman highlighted challenges faced globally.

“We are now heading towards a post-pandemic world where we must navigate another set of challenges, making it essential to have the forum. It is good to learn from each other’s experiences,” said Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah.

He believes there are many ways that the society accepts what has happened in the past few years.

He noted that some opt to pretend that COVID-19 crisis never happened and go back to how things were before, while others have adjusted away from the previous status quo and implemented lessons learnt from the pandemic.

“Personally, I say it is better to learn from experience.”

He also said, “Embracing technologies makes it easy to be caught up in buzzwords like ‘digital first’ or ‘digital by default’, but working in the digital space is more than just the application of digital tools and technology. It is about new behaviours such as being conscious of how the voice projects and thinking of non-verbal cues on video conference calls.”

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah, Chairman of Baiduri Bank giving a speech at the forum. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah highlighted that education and healthcare sectors have adopted these practices and growth can be seen in remote learning and telehealth such as online consultations that can be easily scheduled with doctors overseas.

He noted that it is important to make sure everyone can use these tools and that the pandemic has also brought to light leaders’ and business owners’ flexibility.

“Many organisations have reaped the benefits of being more flexible,” said the chairman, adding that many organisations, such as JPMorgan, have in place a ‘hybrid’ model with employees working remotely and from the office.

“This may not be to everyone’s preference as many employers and employees prefer the relationship that can develop when working in the office; but it is also beneficial to have work from home option.”

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah said that surviving the pandemic has shown the need for more compassion, consideration for staff’s mental health as well as self-care.

The chairman said trust, accountability and results are essential whether individuals work in the office or not. When trust isn’t there, there is a need to fix it first.

“The pandemic is not the only disruption that affects us. We must be wary of the global instability,” added Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah, stating that experts have noted that the pandemic dealt a major blow to globalisation and amplified changes to the global order which was in flux well before the COVID-19 crisis.

He said the coronavirus accelerated geopolitical trends such as deglobalisation and caused logistics difficulties. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is also pointing to a shift away from global just-in-time supply chains.

“As economic difficulties mount, the inevitable growth of nationalism and ‘my nation first’ politics will push companies to localise operations that favour national and regional supply chains.”

The chairman said business owners are concerned about profitability and cash flows while employees are worried about job security.

“We are going through this uncertain period and should appreciate the lessons learnt. The challenges require businesses around the world to react with better agility and more decisive ways. This is no different in Brunei,” added Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah.

As we move into the post-pandemic phase, the chairman urged everyone to seek out and seize opportunities, adding that experts advised a more ‘back-to-basics’ approach and that business owners should not forget the need for strong fundamentals.

With stronger foundations, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah believes businesses will be well-placed to capitalise more effectively on the opportunities in the post-COVID-19 era and continue to thrive as stability returns.

“I maintain that humans are adaptable, resilient, creative, imaginative and purpose-driven. Some of the most important traits rarely mentioned are optimism and being hopeful,” he added.

The chairman believes that these drive us to survive, thrive and prosper because there is nothing more dangerous than being stagnant or content as they can lead to complacency and a false sense of security.

“We are all here to seek answers, to improve ourselves and to build our network and partnership. Even incremental improvements will lead to better opportunities in the future,” said Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Dr Abdul Fattaah.