Quality public services begin with ‘big hearts’, says minister

Hakim Hayat, James Kon, Aziz Idris & Izah Azahari

“We need public servants with big hearts, dedication, discipline and strong work ethics to come up with strategies to provide high-quality services that are in line with current needs,” said Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar on the second day of the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

The whole-of-government machinery, he said, serves as a catalyst to a paradigm shift to transform governance, which he believed will be more efficient, effective, transparent, proactive, innovative and customer-friendly.

Minister of Foreign Affairs II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof said that the whole-of-nation approach has led to joint efforts made to improve the quality of life of the people, including realising Brunei Vision 2035 for the present and future generations.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with relevant agencies, will continue to work towards enhancing our efforts towards the goal,” he said.

He also brought up the theme for this year’s ASEAN Summit, ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’, which aims to focus on the welfare of the people in ASEAN member states.

The minister said the priorities and deliverables that will be addressed in the upcoming summit include regional travel arrangements, COVID-19 recovery framework, ASEAN coordination and mental health in the post-coronavirus era.

Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“These efforts are needed to accelerate regional recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is grateful for the strong support received from all walks of life as well as government and non-government agencies to see Brunei Darussalam through as Chair of ASEAN this year.”

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham also shared that as ASEAN Chair, Brunei will be championing mental health with cooperation from other ASEAN member states as well as its dialogue partners.

Minister of Religious Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman believed the pandemic disruption has brought awareness to new possibilities in reviving Brunei’s human capital as well as the importance of whole-of-nation approach in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak.

Earlier, Yang Berhormat Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii shared the same sentiment, emphasising the importance of unity.

“I remember Brunei Darussalam’s 27th National Day Parade, which comprised of sectors instead of teams from ministries, companies and associations,” she said. “It reflected the spirit of cooperation. Through a whole-of-nation approach, we can deliberate, voice opinions and solutions but the direction will remain the same – to realise national aspirations.”

She added that the COVID-19 outbreak has opened the eyes of many to the importance of preparedness in supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“I appreciate the openness constantly put into practice by the frontliners to ensure sufficient investment is made for our future,” she said.

Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman also saw the positives of the COVID-19 pandemic, by saying that “although we faced several challenges last year, positive changes have been made in public and private sectors, and I thank the public for its support in building the nation.

“I commend the efforts made by the frontliners and people from all walks of life for their hard work in containing the pandemic”.

Meanwhile, Yang Berhormat Haji Umarali bin Esung believed that the sacrifices and hard work of frontliners during the COVID-19 outbreak should be commemorated.

“We should have a special day to remember and celebrate their contributions to ensure that Brunei Darussalam is free of COVID-19,” he said.