Job security, transportation issues raised

National 3 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

TOPICS ranged from job security in the wake of the global financial crisis and the need to implement an effective public transport system to reduce traffic congestions, were discussed yesterday on the second day of the fifth session of the State Legislative Council (LegCo) Meeting.

YB Dato Paduka Hj Puasa Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin, Member of the Council relayed his concerns in regards to job security in the private sector of the country in the face of the current financial crisis to the Second Minister of Finance, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Rahman Hj Ibrahim.

"The economic crisis has caused massive layoffs in industries around the world and Asian countries are of no exception. Is our country affected by this and are there any job layoffs reported in the country? If yes, has the government taken any action to rectify this?," he asked.

The minister responded by saying that so far there has been no reports of job layoffs which could be affiliated with the current crisis. The social economy of respective country responds to the crisis in its own unique way and Brunei's economic fundamentals were significantly driven by government spending rather than uncollateralised debts which was practiced in most countries hence reinforced itself against the downturn.

However, he acknowledged that the country's revenue was also not spared from the fluctuations in the markets and has been affected.

The National Development Plan (NDP) which houses the government spending expenditures might also be affected should the country's exports (oil and gas) continues on this level, he said.

He said before the crisis, some countries opted to use capital outflow of debts to finance developments and there was also significant deficit spending to finance this which contributed to the complications which they faced now. Major financial institutions which financed these toxic debts were also drastically affected due to this.

But the country's financial institutions are spared from the problems faced by their counterparts in other parts of the world due to the high standards of best practices and international regulations which were imposed to them by the ministry.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Abd Rahman pointed out that the strong economic foundation and investments of the country which is still in its infancy stage also contributed to the resilience.

Measures, he added, will be introduced to overcome any problems that might arise from the crisis to open up possibilities in creating economic diversity thus creating employment.

YB Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad, Member of the Council representing the Belait District, raised concerns in regards on the need to implement an effective transportation system to entice the public to opt for an alternative besides personal transportation. He also questioned whether a comprehensive study has been done on this issue.

Minister of Communications, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong informed that a study is currently underway in terms of researching an alternative measure for personal transportation.

A preliminary research involving their counterparts from the Land infrastructure and Transport of Japan has already been done under the Asean/ Japan project ventures, but it has yet to be completed due to the comprehensiveness of areas that needs to be looked into.

According to the minister, around 137,000 cars has been registered last year showing the high number of active cars in Brunei and the existing public bus systems is also used only by foreigners. However, there are already plans to overcome this in the land transport Master Plan which is not yet unveiled as there are still areas to be worked on, he said.

The meeting was adjourned by the Legislative Council Speaker, Yang Amat Mulia Pg Indera Mahkota Pg Anak (Dr) Haji Kemaludin and is set to commenced again at 9.30am tomorrow.

The Brunei Times