Will ‘Bruneianisation Directive’ guarantee quality local workforce?

In his titah at the opening of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Meeting last year, 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 voiced concern over the country’s rising unemployment rate, calling on the government to find urgent solutions.

Brunei has the lowest population in ASEAN but has the highest unemployment rate.

Many years ago, the Minister of Energy at the time mentioned that the government hopes to create 50,000 jobs by year 2035 in the energy sector. However, I have not seen any progress towards this goal.

Year after year, the same issue is brought up during the LegCo meetings. A potential solution mentioned was for locals to take over expats/foreigners’ jobs.

Although I agree there are instances where we have locals who are qualified to take on positions held by expats, we fail to acknowledge the issue faced by employers once locals take over.

I have seen many cases where locals are found to be less productive and cooperative than the expats.

This, however, does not mean that all locals behave in such a manner. On the other hand, we have instances where expats in management positions abuse their power by hiring their friends and relatives to join their companies and hold top positions, even in government-linked companies.

Adding fuel to fire, their performance and knowledge were even worse than locals but we turn a blind eye because of our trust in expats.

It was agreed at the recent LegCo Meeting that rolling out the ‘Bruneianisation Directive’ would solve the unemployment issue. I agree that this directive can reduce unemployment but can we guarantee that locals be of higher quality or at least on par with the foreign workforce?

In my opinion there are better and more effective ways to extradite unemployment in this country.

Pg Abd Rahman