The 19th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday saw LegCo members deliver their motions of thanks and raising several issues which will be discussed further throughout the meeting.
Among the LegCo members who spoke yesterday was Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Minister of Defence II Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof who highlighted the importance of the titah by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and YangDi-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the opening ceremony of the 19th LegCo session on Thursday.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi said the titah showcased His Majesty’s wisdom and love for the people and the country.
In his capacity as the Minister at the PMO, Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi acknowledged certain issues raised by His Majesty, most notably the issue of unemployment in the Sultanate.
He said by working together and with support from relevant parties, the unemployment rate in the country can once again be reduced as it has been achieved before, noting that the unemployment rate of 7.3 per cent in 2020 was reduced to 4.9 per cent in 2021.
Some highlights in his speech included the need for revision and improvement of the Public Service Commission (SPA) and the Public Service Department (JPA) to be more efficient in filling relevant positions as well as fairer to those seeking occupation in the country.
The government has also introduced the SkillsPlus programme to provide an opportunity for locals to improve their skills and marketability, and it has now been extended to four new sectors – energy, construction, transport, logistics and HSE.
The LegCo member also touched on programmes that have been implemented, such as the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) initiatives in providing training for jobseekers to up-skill and re-skill to meet the current competitive job market.
He also highlighted the revised payment guidelines which provide information on payment scale, most notably in the private sector, which assist in employment retention in the private sector.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi highlighted the roles played by higher education institutions in providing the appropriate skills in the labour force, such as IBTE which has produced skilled welders and scaffolders, who upon completing their course have been instantly employed in their industries.
He also touched on the importance of supporting and developing local entrepreneurs and businesses, highlighting initiatives such as the i-Usahawan programme by the Ministry of Energy to support young Bruneians to start, own and grow their own businesses.
Through the programme, participants have the opportunity to secure their first contract with the government, government-linked companies (GLCs) and statutory bodies, he said.
To date, he said, 23 contracts have been offered to participants amounting to BND30 million in funds and provided job opportunities for 300 people.
He ended his motion of thanks by acknowledging His Majesty’s titah that LegCo members must fulfil their responsibilities with sincerity, be open in receiving feedback and look for positive impact on the people and the country in their deliberations.