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ABDUL MUTALIB BIN PEHIN ORANG KAYA SERI SETIA DATO PADUKA HAJI MOHAMAD YUSOF,
MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS
NEGARA BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
THE LAUNCHING OF IGNITE ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE
4TH SEPTEMBER 2013 (3:20PM)
Mr Vincent Cheong
Chief Executive Officer
The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB)
Mr. Brian Koh
Director of iCentre
Senior Government Officials, Chief Executive of AITI,
Participants of the Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge
Ladies and Gentlemen
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, and good afternoon,
First of all, I would like to thank iCentre for inviting me to launch
the Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge 2013. I am confident that the
Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge is one of the anticipated events among
our local entrepreneurs. I am, indeed, very proud to be part of this
I understand the Ignite Challenge as we know today is the outcome of an
evolving process. This process indicates a significant move towards
adapting and embracing changes. The ICT industry is no stranger to
changes. Technology changes would reflect transformation and adjustment
in its surroundings, be it institutions, regulations, market trends as
well as user’s behavior. Hence, it is indeed timely and necessary to
keep up with the changes and embracing the benefits changes can bring.
To make changes come innovation or rather creative innovation! In this
regard, I would like to congratulate iCentre for its relentless pursuit
to create innovation amongst the bright young minds of our local
Ladies and gentlemen,
In a recent Titah by His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei
Darussalam at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Hari Raya
Celebration last week, His Majesty noted and appreciated the various
initiatives implemented by respective agencies that support the
development and progress of our local ICT industry.
4. AITI, for example, has recently implemented the Internship Student Programme for ICT Related Education (INSPIRE) where
selected students are sent for work attachments at ICT and multimedia
companies in Singapore for six months. INSPIRE is a project funded by
the HRD fund under the National Development Fund (RKN 10). I have had
the pleasure to meet them during my recent trip to Singapore just a few
days ago. I am very pleased to see them doing well and enjoying their
attachments in Singapore. This collaborative effort between AITI, UBD
and ITB is one example of AITI complementing the initiatives by other
agencies, including the Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge today. This
is, indeed, a very encouraging development for Brunei Darussalam.
Further in the Titah, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of
Brunei Darussalam also emphasised on the rising pace of ICT development,
and that it is the response of the users which has driven the global
domination of ICT. Let me now relate this to the context of SOCIAL
MEDIA. The immense and rapid growth of SOCIAL MEDIA in the last couple
of years has been a phenomenon. It is inevitable and I will leave with
you some facts to think about over the next few minutes:-
i. Over 100 million people use Instagram every month1;
ii. Twitter has over 200m active users every month 2;
iii. WhatsApp has 300m active users, with 11billion messages sent and 20billion messages received daily3.
These numbers are growing as we speak…the numbers are simply mindboggling!
This is the rate of global communication and information sharing at
monthly and daily basis. Brunei Darussalam is no exception. The usage of
WhatsApp has been estimated to reach about 70 percent across the entire
population of Brunei, and this is not even limited to residents who
have smartphones4. This figure indicates the following observations in our society:-
First, our society’s ability to accept and use technology. This is very
much justified by the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) where Brunei
Darussalam’s ranks have improved from 63 in 2010 to 57 in 2012. Over the
years, NRI has shown that Brunei Darussalam has progressed in
translating ICT readiness into usage, and the next step is to achieve
social and economic impacts. How do we do that? By translating readiness
and usage to the following economic activities:-
i. Stimulating local content generation;
ii. Creating jobs and youth employment;
iii. Producing success stories that will give impact domestically and regionally; and
iv. Encouraging more effective interaction between stakeholders (consumers, government and businesses).
Secondly, the growth of Social Media usage in Brunei Darussalam can
serve as a potential market and offer opportunities to our local
entrepreneurs. I am very happy to note that this particular outcome has
not gone unnoticed by our local players. We have seen various Government
and business agencies making full use of the high mobile phone
penetration in Brunei Darussalam to keep in touch with their users.
Local ICT companies such as MeSixty, has been tapping on this potential
by producing apps for mobile users. I sincerely hope to see more local
companies exploring into the mobile apps market.
Thirdly, on a more positive note, social media has made it possible for
government agencies to have more outreach to the public. Getting public
feedback via the social media is one innovative and efficient way for
government agencies to help in policy making and socialising public
policies. Public engagement and public consultation can thus be
facilitated efficiently if not effectively.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Having mentioned these three points let me now share with you some of
the issues we constantly face in Social Media. There will always be
D.R.U.M.S…DRUMS! (Distortion, Rumours, Untruth, Misinformation and
Smears). I believe most of us must have come across discomforting jokes,
vulgar or inhumane messages being passed around over social media.
The implications of DRUMS can be far-reaching, destabilizing and
chaotic. Not only reputations can be tainted by false information,
public harmony and safety can be jeopardized. In addition, impacts of
such irresponsible use of ICT can also be harmful to vulnerable members
of our society, particularly among youngsters and children. DRUMS can
also cause MISCOMMUNICATION if NOT properly mitigated – Co-Authors Ed
Keller and Brad Fay of the book The Face to Face Book (show book)
explains why real relationships still rule in a digital marketplace.
As such it is very important for us to be quick in responding to such
information and to mitigate any potential implications. Once a message
or a video becomes viral, immediate actions are required to counter such
transmission. We have to be alert and able to tune in easily to public
issues, grievances and even interests.
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his
recent Titah, stated that any negativity arising from ICT usage must be
stopped and countered. This is an important step to prevent any remorse
in future. The Ministry of Communications and AITI, have taken several
steps towards this Titah, such as:-
The formation of the Content Advisory Panel with the cooperation of
various relevant agencies. This Panel considers regulatory, enforcement
and content management issues in Brunei Darussalam. This panel also
makes policy recommendations, guidelines and codes of conduct for media
or what is now called New Media content.
10.2 Child Online Protection Framework (COP)
with more than 10 relevant stakeholders for this initiative, the Child
Online Protection (COP) Framework is developed to address
internet-related sexual crimes that are targeting those who are young
and vulnerable within the society. This step is to counter recent cases
where ICT has been made as the medium by online predators.
collaboration among various agencies, between the Government, the
private sector and the public, is the key approach in mitigating
implications of DRUMS and unsuitable content.
With this in mind, it is very important to reach out to the public.
Considering that communications and transport issues are among the
issues affecting across all segments of the population, the Ministry of
Communications strives to ensure that new policies, regulations and
services are explained in the best way possible. Various dialogues have
been and will continuously be held with the public and various
stakeholders covering various issues in communications and
transportation sectors. This approach is an ongoing process for the
Ministry of Communications and will certainly be enhanced from time to
Just delving into social media alone, we can see the complexity of
issues around it. Despite such complexity, I am optimistic that there
will always be someone out there who will be able to break the
intricacies and come up with new and simple ideas. These ideas, once
implemented will create simplicities for us and this is where platforms
such as the Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge comes in.
With entrepreneurship as the core theme, we can expect Ignite
Entrepreneurship Challenge to produce those who can innovate, able to
think creatively and to solve problems. The process of becoming an
entrepreneur enhances the ability to acquire, develop and strengthen
one’s resilience in embarking into an unknown journey. With the
willpower and resolve to be innovative and risk-taking, entrepreneurship
will be a very rewarding and gratifying experience.
To conclude, I look forward to new and intriguing ideas from the
participants of the Ignite Entrepreneurs Challenge. With the success
stories from previous Think Big and Ignite participants, I am sure the
panel of judges will have a challenge to face for themselves. Once
again, thank you to iCentre for inviting me today and lastly, to all the
BRIGHT YOUNG MINDS participating today, I wish you all the best!
With the kalimah ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’, I am pleased to launch Ignite Entrepreneurship Challenge 2013.
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