Bandar Seri Begawan - The "Ali Baba" phenomenon is not helping the locals get employment, as 90 per cent of business licences are managed and operated by foreigners, said the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration organised by Forum Committee of Brunei Malay Traders and Entrepreneurs at the Stadium Restaurant in Berakas Sunday night.
The government policy is to provide opportunities to the citizens to participate in the economic development by providing facilities to operate businesses. However, to date based on the monitoring carried out by relevant parties, it has been found that licences owned by local entrepreneurs are being used by foreigners.
"We know the problem, and it is up to us to change our mindset," said the minister adding that Brunei's future depends on this matter, not only in terms of business but also our social standing.
"We are not rejecting foreigners who are trying to help us develop the nation," said the minister.
The minister said an estimated 5,000 jobseekers have registered for jobs. They mostly have 'O' Level qualification and below. Efforts to provide them with job opportunities are being made through new approaches.
The minister said licences owned by locals can really help in reducing the unemployment figure in the country as each and every licence issued means a new local entrepreneur or business.
"We welcome foreign traders to help us develop and progress, especially through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) but at the same time we are facing problems to place locals in the appropriate fields of development," he said.
Nearly 1,000 people comprising Brunei Malay businesses and entrepreneurs' community and families nationwide attended the event.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin