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Friday, 12 June 2020, MINISTERIAL STATEMENT for the Opening Ceremony for ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation


The Honourable Dato Abdul Mutalib Yusof Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, Brunei Darussalam 

for the Opening Ceremony for ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation 

Friday, 12th June 2020, 2;30pm 

Theme: “Combatting COVID-19 through Joint Efforts, Embracing Cooperation through ICT and Digital Development” ______________________________________________________________ 

Your Excellency Dr. Thansamay Kommasith, Minister of Posts and Telecommunication, Lao PDR, Chair of ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) 

Your Excellency Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, People’s Republic of China 

Your Excellency ASEAN Digital Ministers, Your Excellency Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of ASEAN, Senior Officials from ASEAN and China. 

1. It is a privilege to join Excellencies and colleagues to this virtual Opening Ceremony for the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation today.

2. The outbreak of COVID-19 confronted us with domino effects across various socio-economic activities. However, it has also in some ways, become a catalyst for digital transformation. In line with the theme ‘Combatting COVID-19 through Joint Efforts, Embracing Cooperation through ICT and Digital Development’, I would like to share how digital initiatives at our national level, have become one of the key drivers in our efforts to address the challenges of COVID-19. 

3. On 25th March 2020, Brunei Darussalam through the Ministry of Health launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered web application, called the BruHealth, as a key tool to combat COVID-19. The application enables a realtime dashboard to quickly analyze population health conditions and emerging hotspots, serves as the source of verified information and platform for online self-screening tool. At the same time, the Government has also introduced FINAL AS DELIVERED: 12 JUNE 2020 2 Social media platforms to serve as public channels for official news and information related to COVID-19. 

4. A surge in usage for Online services both by the public and private sectors, including online learning and online commerce has also become the new normal in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. Powered collaboratively by Government agencies and the Telcos, Brunei Darussalam has generally seen a significant increase in digital or online usage by educators, students, buyers, sellers and the public consumers in general. 


5. Although COVID-19 came as a challenging undertaking, it is indeed an experience that provides a deeper appreciation on the value of connectivity and communication. With that in mind, the surge in the demand for digital technologies have become an opportunity for Brunei Darussalam to further reiterate our aspiration to become a Smart Nation. 

6. I would like to take this opportunity to share recent developments on ICT industry of Brunei Darussalam. On 24th January 2020, Brunei Darussalam’s ICT industry underwent a significant restructuring exercise with the consolidation of network infrastructure under one wholly Government owned network operator and three service providers with their respective competitive packaging. As a result, demand for fixed broadband has increased by four times, while usage of fixed data and mobile data have increased by 60% and 23% respectively. With effect on the same date, the Government has also restructured its telecommunication regulatory and licencing regime by no longer imposing its annual licence fee for every mobile service subscriber in Brunei Darussalam. 

7. Most recently, on 4th June 2020, the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 for Brunei Darussalam was launched. With the vision of Smart Nation through Digital Transformation, the Masterplan provides steer and direction towards impactful digital transformation across various economic clusters. At this juncture, key technological developments such as big data, artificial intelligence and 5G are among the main focus areas being pursued in Brunei Darussalam to power sustainable innovation and progress. 

8. In exploring the potentials and opportunities of 5G technologies, Brunei Darussalam is now conducting a study through its National 5G Taskforce. The Taskforce comprising of government, industry and academic agencies, is FINAL AS DELIVERED: 12 JUNE 2020 3 entrusted to come up with recommendations from different perspectives on 5G for Brunei Darussalam. 


9. Brunei Darussalam places significant values and priority on regional collaboration and partnership. As we face a global pandemic, initiatives to advance digital economy become key to our economic and social resilience. Our dependency on connectivity and data have become more apparent. 

10. The impacts from cybersecurity threats can be as damaging as a pandemic. Hence, it is through regional partnership and collaboration that we build our mutual resilience. It is very pertinent for us to find a balance that advances our digital economy initiatives while preserving our network and data integrity. 

11. Lastly, we look forward to having further continued exchanges in experience and knowledge on digital economy. More importantly, we certainly look forward and welcome the programs and initiatives proposed by H.E. Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, China, in the areas related to digital economy that can be implemented under the ADGMIN + China platform for our shared mutual benefits. Thank you.

Created at 12/06/2020 18:14 by Dk Dewi Najayati Pengiran Hj Shahrir
Last modified at 06/10/2020 09:27 by Dk Dewi Najayati Pengiran Hj Shahrir