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Speech By Awang Abdul Mutalib Bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohamad Yusof, Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Communications At 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

Invited guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, and good afternoon,

1. 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 event today.

2. 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 Bruneians!


Ladies and gentlemen,

3. 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.

5. 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!

6. 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:-

6.1 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).



6.2 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.


6.3 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,


7. 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.



8. 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.


9. 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.


10. 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:-

10.1 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)



Collaborating 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.



Close 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.




11. 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 time.




Ladies and Gentlemen,



12. 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.


13. 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.


14. 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.






Created at 05/12/2015 11:08 AM by Siti Hawa binti Aboo Samah
Last modified at 05/12/2015 11:08 AM by Siti Hawa binti Aboo Samah