Call For ICT To Broaden Economic Scope

Posted on  21/10/2011  |  Media Centre

21st October 2011

Bandar Seri Begawan – If we can find a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates amongst us who can look to the future and leverage and use ICT to do in a better way things that we do now in a mundane way, then I think that we will have been successful.

The Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar said this to his audience yesterday while delivering a keynote address at the THINK BIG Innovate Forum.

Opening up by raising up an old cassette in the air, the minister asked the audience, “How many of you know what this is?”

After a show of hands, he raised up a video cassette, and asked the same question. More hands went up into the air.

Next came a CD. Even more hands were raised.

As soon as the minister raised an iPod, and then an iPad and Kindle into the air, hands were up.

He then recounted how he used to struggle to find the right song on a cassette while driving, due to there being no pauses in between tracks, and then went on to make the point of how far the world has come in terms of technology.

In his address, the minister touched on the role of ICT in the creation of a new economy, how ICT is aligned with Vision 2035, how business and government leverage on ICT can create innovation, some personal observations and viewpoints and initiatives in the pipeline by the Ministry of Communications.

Speaking on the role of ICT in creating a new economy, he said that Brunei Darussalam wants ICT to be one of the drivers in economic diversification.

“In Brunei we have yet to have a critical mass of local ICT talent that is able to fully leverage and offset ICT related jobs, professions and positions in the government and private sectors,” he said, adding that they are now looking into further building a pool of local ICT talent that will become the foundation for a homegrown base of ICT experts.

The minister’s keynote address also touched on how ICT is aligned with Vision 2035, and he said that despite growth of ICT and broadband users” in the Sultanate, the need for local content development has been revealed, as such human capacity building is one of the challenges faced.

The minister then moved on to share his observations and viewpoints, saying, “I’m not a futurist. I did my electrical electronic engineering in 1972, very soon after doing my engineering I lost hope, I gave up.”

“An operational amplifier which I spent my whole second year designing was available at about $3 per 150 chips at RS Components, so I gave up,” he said.

“Why should I study it, after all I can buy it. I wanted to design a super duper watch with a SR gauge and all that, but why bother? I could buy a digital watch for about 20 cents.”

“I then thought I must have joined the wrong profession.

I still think I joined the wrong profession,” he joked with the audience.

“I’ve lost all my engineering credibility, and what makes it worse is I’m not as tech savvy as any of you.”

“If we can find a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates amongst us who can something to the future and leverage and use ICT to better do things that we do now in a mundane way, then I think that we will have been successful,” he said.

Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah also revealed that there are estimated to be 214,120 Facebook users from Brunei Darussalam as of June 2011.

“Imagine the possibilities this brings,” he said, “Innovation is spurred from social media, and this transcends boundaries and gives borderless opportunities to micro businesses.”

The minister also spoke on the Ministry of Communications’ vision “Towards a sophisticated society and excellence in communications for enhancing national competitiveness”.

“If we are a competitive nation, then Brunei Darussalam will be a place of choice (in terms of connectivity), a place where others are keen to invest (attracting investments) and a place with high living standards and availability of jobs.”

In terms of excellence in communications, the minister’s keynote touched on how they hope Brunei will have a good transport and communications link both internally and internationally.

“Good internal transport links are pre-requisite to facilitate and promote economic and social activities locally while international transport links are indispensable to the economic development, logistics and trade activities.”

In regards to a sophisticated society, he said, “We want people to do their business effectively, and to be dynamic, sophisticated, innovative and intelligent.”

“More importantly, we want to preserve the precious resources that we have.

Nearly all efforts are geared towards this,” he added.

“We want Brunei to be a destination of choice for people to do their business.”

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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