e-Government and IT usage unsatisfactory
By Aziz Idris

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam expressed his disappointment on the use of e-Government strategy and Information Technology (IT) in the Sultanate 10 years since its implementation with a budget of B$1 billion.

His Majesty also saw the need to re-activate the Client's Charter (TPOR) as it is one of the government's agendas.

The ruler delivered a titah during the 17th Civil Service Day celebration at the International Convention Centre (ICC) yesterday.

On the use of IT, His Majesty said, "I allowed the implementation of the e-Government strategy since 2000 with a budget of B$1 billion. However, its use so far is still unsatisfactory.

Similarly, IT applications, which are to facilitate the public's dealings with the government, are also unsatisfactory, when compared with other countries in the region."

Meanwhile, the implementation of the Client's Charter needs to be activated "because it is on my government's agenda", the ruler said before adding, "It is also important to substantiate whether the Client's Charter service is running smoothly and satisfactorily, or whether it still has flaws. If so, what are the causes? Could it be related to leadership? All this requires re-survey or study," the ruler said.

His Majesty also gave attention to the importance of public services for it serves to determine the extent to the capacity and quality of the government administration.

"I believe the demands on public services will never get lessened. Moreover, in the present era of rapid development, there is no room for Civil Service to fall behind."

The benevolent ruler reminded the civil service to come out with plans to improve public services, whether it is in the form of a strategic plan or a plan for continuous improvement, and by ensuring the fundamental values are not ignored.

"Among these matters are attendance, commitment, dedication, discipline and integrity. If these values do not exist or are found lacking, whatever efforts made to improve the management and technology would fail," said the ruler.

His Majesty stressed that these are values that must be held in esteem because it is the essence of management and human resources. "In charting skills and expertise in human resources, these values cannot be ignored nor can they be made optional.

"Effort and knowledge mean nothing without self-esteem in areas of discipline and integrity. The weaknesses here have repercussions, resulting in bad and ineffective service," His Majesty added.

Another value that the ruler focused on that is very much needed in the service industry is loyalty. "Loyalty is sacred, it cannot be bought and sold no matter what the price. Loyalty can shape one's career into a meaningful and satisfactory one," said His Majesty.

The ruler affirmed that whether we realise it or not, in performing any task, people are sometimes willing to choose the crooked path of disloyalty.

"For example, we take the matter relating to the government circulars, particularly circulars from the Prime Minister's Office which have instructed all officials and employees to perform a particular duty, but the instructions go unheeded.

"Is this non-compliance not the same as disloyalty?" His Majesty asked.

His Majesty hoped that such behaviour should be shunned, as it is viewed as "untrustworthy" and may affect the quality of service, and thus, impair the image of good governance.

"This is a question of one's self-worth ... disloyalty and lack of integrity in service are matters that cannot be tolerated. It is a disease that not only undermines the service, but also risks the perpetrator to incur his own loss," His Majesty pointed out.

In addition, His Majesty called attention to strengthening the characteristics of self-worth in civil servants as it is important to master modern management skills, such as the use of scorecards, the use of IT, supervision and others.

His Majesty congratulated the recipients of the Excellent Civil Servant Award and Excellent Public Service Awards for 2010 on their success. - Borneo Bulletin (22nd October 2010)