| James Kon |
MEMBER of Legislative Council (LegCo) Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad during the deliberation for the budget expenditure 2019/2020 at the 15th LegCo session yesterday morning touched on four subjects.
Firstly, he said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should not to be left behind. He said, “Alhamdulillah, Brunei Darussalam will be finalising the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This will definitely bring wider market opportunities, especially for major industries. It is hoped that MSMEs will improve the quality of their products and services to enter the international markets.”
He continued, “Our MSMEs are still in the early stage and to penetrate the foreign market is a tall order for a number of them. What are the efforts underway to make sure our entrepreneurs, especially MSMEs, are not left behind and be involved as well as benefit from RCEP after it is completed?”
Secondly, Yang Berhormat Iswandy spoke about the national campaign for tourism.
He said, “Under the tourism sector, BND21.7 million was set aside for planning while a further BND66.2 million has been provided to strengthen tourism products, maintain infrastructure and bear the cost of promotion and marketing.”
Yang Berhormat Iswandy called on the whole of nation approach in carrying out a national campaign like Visit Brunei Year or tourism based on themes like medical tourism – with health facilities in Brunei being of world standards – or Islamic tourism with the strong Islamic belief of the country or water-based tourism related to diving activities and highlight the rich history of people living on the river.
Such examples need cooperation among all sectors of the country to contribute to the development of tourism sector.
The next suggestion, Yang Berhormat Iswandy spoke on was the government as the pioneer of Industry 4.0 and involvement of relevant stakeholders.
He said, “Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah mentioned about Smart Nation and gave a number of examples of Industry 4.0.
“My advice is that we would like to see coordination in the national level to ensure that every ministry becomes the government’s engine to become pioneer or be best examples in adopting Industry 4.0. This can spread to other levels including departments.
“Work with stakeholders like private companies, industry experts or academics from an early stage to formulate a policy to ensure that the various industries are prepared for the Industry 4.0 based on a whole of nation approach.”
In terms of human resources, Yang Berhormat Iswandy said, “The third focus of the budget is generating competent and employable humans where a number of efforts were mentioned like foreign direct investment (FDI) projects and public-private partnership (PPP) to provide employment opportunities, technical and vocational training education to be industry ready, youth programmes to gain entrepreneurship skills as well as youth non-governmental organisations (NGOs) assistance and human resource development as well as student’s allowance.”
He gave two suggestions for the development of human resources.
On promoting labour mobility, he said, “There is a need to provide an approach on promoting labour mobility or encourage labour mobility for those who possess transferable skills. This is for us to encourage a flow of labour among industries, companies. This contributes to the efficient relocation of the workforce from low-demand to high-demand sector. This can reduce mismatch of employment and increase productivity in the automation era.”
On strengthening the role of training and work-based learning, he said “Having a job reduces the unemployment rate. Job retention is a challenge, especially when employees quit because of weak reasons. There is a need of programme to focus on providing re-skilling and soft skills not only before gaining employment but also while working. Soft skills include resilience, common sense, work ethics, teamwork, conflict resolution and others. In other countries, employers encourage their employees to constantly improve themselves in upskilling and reskilling with short courses.”