I have been following the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting for a number of years.
And my applause goes to the authorities for not skipping the important annual congregation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I can’t help but notice that the topics brought up by the representatives are generally repeats of previous mentioned issues, such as the prolonged acting positions of certain civil servants.
I applaud the particular LegCo member’s persistence in keeping the issue alive, as it is an important one.
However, for years, the issue has remained unresolved.
Some officers in the public sector, including senior officials, have continued to hold the unconfirmed position.
Why have these officials not received confirmation after years of holding the acting position? Is it a question of competency or quality? If so, why not replace them with more qualified individuals? Is it not a huge gamble to take on a person who has yet to prove his or her worth to be responsible for matters that are of importance not just to the country but to the people?
In my opinion, these positions should be filled by competent individuals immediately. A year is more than enough time for putting them to the test. Beyond that will be too long, especially for those who prove incompetent; it may do more damage than good to the department which they manage.
At a time when the country is aiming for fiscal consolidation, the authorities need to pinch pennies whenever possible, instead of paying millions of dollars for these acting positions. Instead, I propose making better use of the money by investing in areas that are beneficial to the country and its people.
I hope the issue could be resolved before the next parliamentary meeting.
I’m writing in response to a news article, ‘Brunei reviewing Halal procedures: Minister’, published on March 21 in the Bulletin.
We were excited to hear that the authorities are set to review the Halal procedures, especially in the ways accreditation of slaughtering houses overseas are being given.
We believe it is a step in the right direction, to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener; it has truly been a litmus test for existing regulations.
We hope that the review would take into consideration the ‘what if?’
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, meat importers have been affected by the country’s health measures, which kept Halal inspectors from travelling abroad to witness the slaughtering of livestock and the processing of meat products.
This has resulted in severe meat shortages, especially lamb and beef, in the country, leading to a price hike and causing financial strain among consumers.
In their response to the meat supply crisis, the authorities have been banding together to facilitate the importation of meat by utilising local envoys stationed in the country to represent the Halal inspectors. Such a concerted effort must be lauded.
We hope the upcoming review on Halal procedures will yield strategies that are cost-saving, administratively friendly and conducive to the local business environment.
Food Importer Collective
It has been over four years since two distinguished local youth have been appointed Legislative Council (LegCo) members.
Their ability to represent the biggest demographic group in the country – the youth – has been exemplary.
The representatives continued and sustained engagement via offline (town hall meetings, national youth congress and conventions) and online (social media and virtual surveys) channels have been empowering young people to be more engaged in national discourse, generating more constructive ideas.
Some of the issues underlined and solutions brought forward by the youth were highlighted during the recent parliamentary meeting.
It is through the raising of these issues and solutions could policy changes be made by the government to be more relevant and reflective of the needs of young people.
As such, the young LegCo members’ capacity to listen and clearly articulate young people’s ideas make them very effective voices of the group that represent.
Amid the call to tackle growing challenges faced by the country through a whole-of-nation approach, I am in full support of having these two young parliamentarians re-appointed as LegCo members in the next cycle.
I was happy to see the authorities enforcing the pilot project for electric vehicles (EVs) in the country during the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session.
Hopefully, car dealers in the country will bring in more hybrid and electric cars, thus affording us a wide range of price points to choose from.
Sure, there are a number of people who have expressed concern over the high electricity consumption that may arise from owning an EV. From my point of view, if there were only EVs on the road, the expenses that have been going into powering the car with petrol would no longer be there. Thus, my hope is for people to slowly warm up to the shift.
I believe that the hassle of owning an EV that a lot of people are fearful of is rooted in change.
Like all changes, once all is done and dusted, the environment will thank us for our efforts.