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THE 16TH ASEAN TELMIN
25th November 2016
The Honourable Ministers, TELMIN Leaders,
The ASEAN Secretary General, (Mr Le Luong Minh)
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Assalamu'alaikum and a very good morning.
I humbly thank you for the vote of confidence. It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to accept the Chairmanship of the 16th ASEAN Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministers Meeting – (or in short 16th TELMIN).
First and foremost, it gives me great pleasure to convey the warmest greetings from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, to all the Honourable Ministers, the Heads and members of delegations from ASEAN, dialogue partners and the ASEAN Secretariat. His Majesty is pleased to note that ICT cooperation has taken a centre stage in ASEAN cooperation and expressed his best wishes for the fruitful outcome of this meeting.
With that, I, warmly welcome all the Honourable Ministers, TELMIN Leaders, the Secretary General and members of delegations to Brunei Darussalam. We are indeed very honoured by your presence and I look forward to a fruitful deliberation during this Meeting, especially, on matters pertaining to ASEAN progress and development.
I would also like to express our gratitude to the previous Chairman, The Honourable Dr Nguyen Bac Son, former Minister of Information and Communications of Vietnam, under whose stewardship, ASEAN TELMIN continues to make significant progress.
I also wish to congratulate some of my fellow TELMIN Leaders for their recent Ministerial appointments, and also to warmly welcome those who are attending TELMIN for the first time.
On this occasion, I am sure that you would join me, during this period of bereavement, in offering our deepest and most profound condolences to the Honourable Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong and to the entire members of the Thai delegation, on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a notable and revered leader of ASEAN and will be remembered for his outstanding contribution to ASEAN's progress and unity.
We have seen firsthand how ICT is changing and shaping our daily life. Our respective Governments, business institutions and our society are transforming itself with ICT and innovation.
ICT is now driving our progress and development, bringing economic growth and prosperity to a new level.
These developments, I feel, have added the significance of our meeting today, especially as we work towards realising the vision of ASEAN Economic Community, creating greater opportunity for our people.
In this endeavor, I believe, ICT could represent another important pillar of ASEAN. The scope for cooperation remain vast, ranging from human capacity building, to adoption of common ICT strategy.
It was a year ago at the 15th ASEAN TELMIN in Da Nang, that we adopted the ASEAN ICT Masterplan 2020 or AIM 2020.
Our vision in the Masterplan is to propel ASEAN towards a digitally-enabled economy that is secure, sustainable and transformative.
The rapid change of technology and innovation, however, presented us with both opportunities and challenges.
We noted in particular the need to embrace new technology and innovation but remain cautious of the disruptive nature that even undermine the conventional wisdom.
This year, we have proposed the title 'Connected and Innovative Community' as the theme for the 16th TELMIN. It focuses on connecting people, and promoting creativity and innovation as the main driver for economic progress.
It highlights the reality of technological changes and underlines the importance of connectivity and access to internet as a pre-requisite for open society and future development.
There is still a large portion of the population who have yet to enjoy the benefits of ICT, where even basic connectivity and accessibility are an on-going struggle.
Bridging the digital divide, and the critical importance of efficient access and connectivity in order to fully unleash the benefit of reducing the disparity is becoming more and more important to ensure that nobody is left behind.
The theme is also relevant as it will send a strong message on our determination to promote and encourage innovation within our community as well as to fully realise the benefit of ICT as the driving force for economic competitiveness.
In as much as the benefits are numerous, it is important not to overlook its many challenges.
We cannot ignore the fact that the misuse of ICT also brings about a host of moral, social and ethical issues that must be addressed. But there are also emerging issues, such as transparency, data ownership, ethical and legal usage.
These issues have the potential to revolutionize our society, especially as we move ever closer to a world where humans are increasingly interconnected, where physical objects are merging into the digital information infrastructure.
In this regard, a secure cyberspace will bring trust and confidence, not only to individuals but to businesses and the public sectors to transact, share ideas and innovate online.
We have seen how more and more, individuals, organisations and even governments are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks and sabotage.
The scale and severity of malicious cyber attacks is unprecedented. Technical solutions are important, but, even more so, are the joint efforts and collaboration.
I believe there is much to be discussed and shared over the next two days, both inside and outside the meeting. I am therefore hopeful that the 16th ASEAN TELMIN, will provide the leadership to drive progress and help build up the foundation of ASEAN cooperation and understanding.
Finally, in the seriousness of our deliberations, however, I hope it will not distract you from experiencing all that Brunei has to offer. While you are here we would also like you to have a taste of our unique history and tradition.
Thank you very much.
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