Bandar Seri Begawan - Employers need to understand that local employees are bound to the Bruneian culture and mindset unlike foreign workers.
They cannot be compared with foreign workers as local employees have other commitments like those towards their families. In view of this, employers are urged to be patient before such mindset can be changed and locals become more loyal.
The Minister of Home Affairs, YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman, said this in response to YB Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Awg Goh King Chin's query on the need to scrutinise the performance of employees in the private sector.
"It's a fact that local employees are not the same as foreign workers, as locals are living in this country and have families to attend to, be it in joy or sorrow. This is the culture which we must admit and there is a need for change. However, we cannot change it overnight. It's a process that takes time," said the minister.
YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin also said that besides monitoring the employees, employers should also be monitored on how much they are willing to uphold the government's initiatives to support locals employed in the private sector by providing them with training.
YB Pehin Dato Paduka Goh King Chin in his query earlier said that a study needs to be done to assess the performance of local and foreign employees such as in supermarkets for posts like cashier, sales assistant, cleaner, security, waitress and so on.
He asked for a dialogue with employers on local employees' problems compared to foreign workers and seek ways to enhance performance and productivity. This is crucial because if the productivity is not satisfactory it would increase the expenditure costs and in turn inflation.
Speaking on factors like the mismatch of jobs and low qualifications among job seekers as raised by YB Pehin Dato Paduka Goh King Chin, the Minister of Home Affairs said that the Local Employment and Workforce Development Agency (APTK) recently held a rOadshow where many jobs were offered. Out of 45 per cent who were shortlisted, only 20 to 25 per cent got the jobs due to the mismatch phenomenon.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong said that technical and vocational institutions are offering courses like welding, air-conditioning body repairs and so on, but not many students have enrolled in such programmes.
The ministry has increased the intake at such vocational and technical institutions since two years ago for students who could not go to sixth form centres.
The problem raised by YB Pehin Dato Paduka Goh King Chin is about students who get out of the education system. The ministry has tried to tackle this problem from the education system itself.
The Minister of Education added that since last year, the ministry has revised courses and positions at technical and vocational levels and also appointed a consultant.
YB Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar also revealed that in the 21st century National Education System (SPN21), in the secondary level, there are multiple pathways for students to take according to their expertise.
These include the general programme of four years for students who are capable of completing their 'O' Levels or a general programme of five years to take the 'O' Levels in ordinary circumstances or a special apply programme for students whose academic performance is less than satisfactory and channelled to choose oriented vocational and technical subjects as well as to take the Edexcel examination.
The courses they take are also varied, like business, design and technology so that they have such expertise when leaving school.
The Ministry of Education is also working with the Energy Department to channel the 'O' Level students to occupy posts in the oil and gas industry and this effort has been carried out since last year.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah said that the Youth Development Centre also offers courses for youths.
Nine courses are available, such as ICT, banquet, pastry and confectionary, beauty therapy, fashion, body repair, fabrication, air-con and domestic plumbing.
In 2012, 114 students have undergone such courses, while this year, 122 youths are enrolling in the courses.
Besides the courses, self-development programmes to change attitudes are also offered to make them have the marketable 12 values. For the 2011-2012 period, out of 160 trainees, 75 per cent have worked, carried out business operations or continued their studies.
YB Pehin Dato Paduka Goh King Chin earlier said that based on the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS), there were some 7,000 job seekers registered with the Labour Department, most of which are school leavers with one or two 'O' Levels.
Based on the study by CSPS, it was found out that the job seekers are more inclined to work in the government sector, did not have practical and vocational experiences and a mismatch of jobs exist.
He called for more practical and vocational training to be provided to encourage them to work as electricians, mechanics, welders, technicians or in construction jobs. These skills are crucial for the private sector employment which is 90 per cent monopolised by foreign workers.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin