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Wednesday, 19 August 2020 - Speech by The Minster of Transport and Infocommunications at the Borneo Bulletin Yearbook (BBYB) 2000 Business Networking Session
Speech of

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib
bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof
Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, Brunei Darussalam

(Delivered by Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof, Permanent Secretary MTIC)

At the Borneo Bulletin Yearbook (BBYB) 2000 Business Networking Session

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 3:00pm
JIS Arts Centre 2


Yang Mulia Ms Hazizah Osman

General Manager of Brunei Press

Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Good afternoon,

1.      Alhamdulillah, Brunei Darussalam now has its own Digital Economy Masterplan. With the vision of Smart Nation through Digital Transformation, the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 is the roadmap and main reference document as we work towards elevating Brunei Darussalam to the status of a Smart Nation.

2.      To advance as a Smart Nation, it requires us to undertake a holistic and comprehensive exercise of digital transformation. This is where the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 comes in as digital economy means more than just connectivity. Digital economy comprises of both digital and non-digital initiatives and activities, transcending across all economic sectors and activities. Simply said, digital economy is for everyone and by everyone. 

3.      With this in mind, the preparation of the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 went through an iterative process with various stakeholders. In fact, consultation and dialogue such as today are the core that makes up the essence of the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025. Hence, I would like to congratulate Brunei Press for this initiative. 

4.      With the theme "Moving forward as a Smart Nation", I see the session today as an encouraging gesture that is very much in line with the recent Titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in conjunction of His Majesty's 74th birthday. 

5.      In the Titah, His Majesty has among others, put great emphasis on our need for digital technologies, especially recently, which includes for learning, businesses and governance, that will eventually be able to make Bandar Seri Begawan as a Smart City. For this, His Majesty has consented to the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 under the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications. 

6.      In light of this, I would like to share that the Masterplan will focus on the Digitalization of both Government and Industry, while building a Thriving Digital Sector equipped with the necessary Manpower Development. Furthermore, the Masterplan has identified key enablers that will support the realization of these plans through the establishment of a smart nation platform, development of key 3 policy and regulatory frameworks such as data governance and cybersecurity, as well as efforts to strengthen our research and development in Digital Technologies. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

7.      At this point, I believe we all share the same observation that in light of COVID-19 pandemic, our digital agenda has been pushed to the forefront. Restrictions that has been put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic has inevitably became a catalyst for digital transformation. 

8.      I would like to share some statistics recorded since January 2020 to support this observation:- 

First, mobile broadband subscription has increased by more than 35,000 subscribers;
Second, the number of fixed broadband subscription has increased by 32%;
Third, bandwidth utilization has increased by almost 52%;
Fourth, the increase in Government online services and mobile app users have also been significant. For example, the TransportBN mobile app which can be used for renewal of driving and vehicle license, has recorded close to 20,000 online transactions from January to July 2020. 

9.      These are encouraging trends in our digital transactions, although there are still areas for improvement. The backbone for such promising trend and uptake to take place is the quality of our ICT infrastructure. 

10.   Alhamdulillah, under the collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications, the ICT industry of Brunei Darussalam has undergone a significant restructuring exercise. From 24th January 2020, users have been able to enjoy more innovative and competitive services from the three retail providers, namely Datastream Digital, Imagine and Progresif, all powered by the infrastructure integrated under Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN). 

11.   To complement ICT industry restructuring, effective 24th January 2020, with the consent of His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the BND25 annual Cellular Mobile Subscriber License (CMSL) fee was abolished. This initiative is a policy reform towards making Brunei Darussalam a Smart Nation and also one step to make telecommunications services more accessible and affordable for the public and people of all walks of life, and to increase the community's readiness to adopt new digital technologies and services. 

12.   The quality of our ICT infrastructure has also increased as indicated in the recent UN E-Government Survey Report for 2020. Under the report, Brunei Darussalam is at the 60th position from 193 countries. Although the report suggested areas of improvement, it has recorded an increase in the Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII) points for Brunei Darussalam, with the leap from 0.65 to 0.82. This places Brunei Darussalam at the Top 2 in ASEAN for Telecommunications Infrastructure. 

13.   To further encourage the growth of digital initiatives, MTIC is giving particular focus and commitment in strengthening the key enablers for digital economy initiatives. One of the key enablers is in data protection. 

14.   With the importance and usage of data in the era of digital economy, data is a substantive component in management and policy making. The amount of data being shared and transmitted nowadays, and the dependence on data-driven analysis, has called for the need to have the necessary governance and legislative framework on data protection. In this regard, MTIC is working closely with the relevant agencies in preparing the legislations related to data protection. Ladies and Gentlemen, 

15.   Also in light of COVID-19, we have seen how the Whole of Nation approach works on the ground through various collaboration on digital responses to COVID-19. This include, among others, the emergence of online marketplace and e-commerce platforms, the spin offs in term of delivery services and donation drive to facilitate online learning. 

16.   What I would like to highlight here is that the readiness of our society to embrace digital transformation. Alhamdulillah, under the leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, we have a strong foundation in moving towards Smart Nation. 

17.   Against such background and with the launch of the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025, it is now time to move and mobilise our resources towards digital transformation. On our part MTIC, through the Smart Nation Office, is working closely with various stakeholders in advocating for digital transformation. 

18.   We are now in the midst of another round of consultation to align the digital transformation process in the various sectors. This is to be achieved through the Digital Transformation Steering Committee which is to be formed at each Ministry to plan and oversee the digital transformation plan for their respective sector. 

19.   The dialogue such as this one today is also a valuable consultative platform for MTIC in further strengthening our digital transformation process. Hence, we look froward to learn on your perspectives and suggestions as we strive together towards a Smart Nation. 

Thank you.

Created at 06/10/2020 09:38 by Dk Dewi Najayati Pengiran Hj Shahrir
Last modified at 06/10/2020 09:38 by Dk Dewi Najayati Pengiran Hj Shahrir