‘Technology helped businesses thrive’

Aziz Idris

Technological advances not only contributed in the effort to curb the pandemic in Brunei Darussalam, but also helped businesses to stay afloat and built on innovation and resilience, in order to thrive.

This was one of the examples of innovative use of technologies highlighted by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the Business Dialogue organised by the Britain Brunei Business Forum (BBBF) at the Radisson Hotel on Saturday.

The minister said the use of innovative technologies helped to control the pandemic, “such as the introduction of BruHealth app as a monitoring and surveillance tool, as well as a platform, to educate and keep the public informed.

“With restrictions enforced during the pandemic, the use of virtual meeting platforms has become more pertinent, especially when working from home during self-isolation and quarantine periods,” he said.

The minister expressed his conviction that there are significant opportunities for businesses to thrive and innovate, especially for businesses in the healthcare industry or support services.

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) welcomes and supports business opportunities especially in relation to pharmaceutical, medical consumables, healthcare technology and advanced healthcare systems,” he said.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah in a group photo during the business dialogue. PHOTOS: AZIZ IDRIS & BBBF
ABOVE & BELOW: Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham attends the dialogue; and Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew shares a light moment with British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe and BBBF Chair Yvonne Kuan

Sharing the same sentiment was Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah.

He said the experience and expertise of the private sector in the utilisation of technology and innovation will be invaluable in post-pandemic recovery efforts, to ensure that the shift towards a digital era is all inclusive.

“It goes without saying that the private sector plays a very significant role in stimulating the economy, in advancing innovation and ensuring our markets remain open and competitive,” he added.

“While economic agreements and cooperation are in place to help set the direction of our economic integration agenda, for a development to be truly inclusive, it will require a holistic and deeper understanding of ‘on-the-ground’ needs and demands.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew also expects there to be acceleration in the work on digitalisation this year and beyond, but warned that the ecosystem needs to be ready and conducive, in order for the outcome to be favourable.

At the same time, the universal acceptance by all stakeholders is critical, to ensure the successful implementation of all initiatives that will take place.

“There is no easy solution but with cooperation and support by everyone, only then can we recover stronger and faster,” he said.

The ministers were invited speakers at the business dialogue titled, ‘What to expect in 2021’. BBBF Chair Yvonne Kuan, meanwhile, expressed her appreciation to the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, for the way the country has managed the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also stated that one of the BBBF’s aims is to further promote trade between the United Kingdom and Brunei Darussalam, and that “it is through events such as these that members are provided with a platform to achieve this aim”.

Among those in attendance was British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe.

The event was also attended by Legislative Council (LegCo) representatives, along with the BBBF Executive Committee and its members from a spectrum of business industries with links to the United Kingdom, from banking to oil and gas to education.

Over 100 guests attended the talk, including members of the Diplomatic Corps to leading corporate companies and BBBF members.