Bandar Seri Begawan - Among the topics covered during yesterday's session of the 9th Legislative Council Meetings were a lack of job opportunities and openings for former drug convicts, poor television transmission to rural village areas in Temburong, and tasks undertaken by the Internal Security Department (ISD) in safeguarding the nation.
Starting with a lighter area of concern, residents of Kg Batu Apoi and Kg Bukok in Temburong have expressed concern over the issue of television transmissions in the area, which the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdul Rahman bin Hj Ibrahim said, "Radio Television Brunei (RTB) said its tender closed on March 2, 2013, and that the provision of a site will be completed within a 10-month period as soon as approval is granted, which will then see the construction of a building and respective antenna within another 12 months. For further information regarding the project, residents can get assistance from RTB's Bangar branch."
The minister said this to reassure Yang Berhormat Awg Hj Sulaiman bin Haji Ahad, a representative of the Temburong District who enquired regarding the situation.
On the topic of providing employment opportunities to former residents of Al-Isiah Drug Rehabilitation Centre, which was raised by Yang Berhormat Awg Hj Mohd Shafiee bin Ahmad; the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office said that former residents undergo a supervisory scheme that lasts two years where they take part in progammes of a spiritual and consultative nature with their family and counsel support. During this time, they also undergo entrepreneurship training to engage in business. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) also assists them in seeking government or private sector employment.
The minister took the opportunity to share the results of an analysis based on case studies pursued by local universities in the Sultanate with regards to former residents suffering a relapse in their habits.
It is seen that not all the former residents of the A1-Islah Drug Rehabilitation Centre succeeded in breaking free from their habits as some engaged in the same routines due to multiple factors such as a lack of support, the association of negative stigmas and perceptions from the community, a lack of employment or even employment in a stressful job environment.
It is not uncommon for some former inmates to have their contracts terminated based solely on their past.
This led to the topic of internal and national security being brought up with emphasis paid to international drug syndicates, where the NCB is taking seriously the threat of organisations that have been trying to use the Sultanate as a transit hub for the transportation of illegal substances to other nations.
Information sharing is crucial to ensuring that any action taken is consistent with both national and international standards. The minister added that the public is constantly being reminded of the tactics and offers made by drug smugglers to locals.
In response to Yang Berhormat Awg Hj Jumat bin Akim's query on the progress of developing security, the Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office said that the Internal Security Department has for a long time now been fostering and strengthening its ties with other local enforcement agencies as well as their counterparts in neighbouring countries in the area of information sharing. This is particularly crucial, especially-with the shape and scope of potential security threats in this era of globalisation.
The minister concluded his remarks by reminding the public that they can contact the Internal Security Department's hotline at 133 to provide tip off information should the situation arise.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin