Minister tackles youth-related issues

|     Izah Azahari     |

THE Legislative Council meeting yesterday saw the Minister of Home Affairs, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, answering to questions raised by Legislative Council members pertaining to youth involvement in the village or mukim consultative councils (MPMK), the municipal board, and small and medium enterprise (SME) among others.

One of the questions answered by the minister was raised by YB Iswandy bin Ahmad on the MPMK’s budget allocation for youths, to which the minister said it depends on the consultative council itself to create its own bureaus, where the only bureau that is active is the Women’s Bureau within these consultative councils.

The minister said he voiced out last year for the need of consultative councils to recruit youths and this initiative should be carried out by the penghulus, village heads, those with titles and elected people and advisors of the council to come together to bring more youths into the council.

“I suggest the chairman of the consultative council committee to encourage for more youth involvement,” said the minister.

The minister added that succession planning is also an issue that needs to be supported by the consultative council.

He added that the ministry will support any initiative if needed such as specific training but the consultative council should make their own effort without being instructed.

The minister also commended YB Iswandy’s suggestion of creating an ‘Unemployment Insurance’ and an ‘Employment Insurance’ for those who have been let go from work not through their own fault but because of company bankruptcy, as well as individuals who have to look after sick or injured family members to be given temporary leave and still receive their salary. “Its appropriateness will be looked into further to be introduced into the country,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, the minister also answered questions by YB  Haji Umarali bin Esung, where the minister explained that September 2017 saw the election of youths as municipal board members in Bandar Seri Begawan, Tutong and Kuala Belait and Seria to give meaningful contributions in implementing their duties and responsibilities within the municipal boards.

The minister also agreed on YB Haji Umarali’s suggestion on carrying out cooperation with SMEs and non-government organisations (NGOs).

With regard to YB Haji Umarali’s question on the old Tutong District Office building, the building was once under the control of the Tutong District Office, but in 2006, it has become a heritage building by the Department of Museums, where it was also once used as the Tutong Syariah Subordinate Courts and Tutong Civil Court until the middle of 2016.

As it is now empty, the Ministry of Home Affairs welcomes other ministries and government agencies to use the building for specific purposes such as department placement.