Sultan lauds power of ICT
Lyna Mohamad

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said in the use and application of ICT technology, we have begun to see the technological development through various programs such as e-Government, e-Commerce, e-Education, broadcasting media and others.

In this regard, His Majesty expressed interest in knowing about the assistance and encouragement programmes by the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) and Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) in generating the development of the ICT industry in the country through the assistance scheme in the form of grants, specially for ICT companies and local digital media, to enable them to further advance in producing products that have the potential to be commercialised in the international market.

His Majesty underscored these in his titah at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) Hari Raya celebration 2013 yesterday.

Accompanying His Majesty to the celebration were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.

The monarch also expressed his appreciation on the achievements of students and youths in the nation’s ICT competitions such as CIPTA, BICTA, IGNITE, INFORAMA as well as regional and international competitions such as APICTA.

He further noted that it is hoped that they will continuously contribute towards a more dynamic economic growth in producing products and Made in Brunei ICT services as well as be able to penetrate into the international market.

Between 2008 and 2010, according to the Network Readiness Index (NRI) said His Majesty, Brunei was ranked 63rd out of 133 economies while in 2012/2013 the country is ranked 57th and this, His Majesty added, is a good sign that the ICT sector is continuously developing.

ICT will advance as the generator of economic growth and on this note, His Majesty pointed out that according to the International Telecommunications Union, there are 6.8 billion mobile-cellular consumers and 40 per cent or 2.7 billion people use the Internet.

“We are not able to predict when this development will reach its climax but the fact is that it will increase significantly while consumers’ response has made it truly dominating in the world.

“Its power is so huge and has the potential to influence all aspects of life and if it is used for the benefit of good, good will be easily accomplished. If it is used otherwise it will prove harmful to all.”

His Majesty thus reminded everyone to be always cautious towards the negative consequences of using ICT, particularly among the younger generation, especially children.

Improper and diverging use of ICT could cause serious harm, regardless if the user is an individual, family or the community.

As for agencies responsible as well as all relevant sectors, His Majesty pointed out that they need to ensure that ICT serves as a facilitator to increase productivity, effectiveness and efficiency in all matters as well as to generate economic growth.

Other than this, anything that is of disadvantage or harmful in nature should be blocked and prevented, stressed the monarch. - Borneo Bulletin (28 August 2013)