BITEX ® 2003 MAGAZINE

FOREWORD - PEHIN DATO HAJI ZAKARIA SULAIMAN, Minister of Communication, Brunei Darussalam
FOREWORD - Hjh Hairati bte Dato Paduka Hj Muhammad, Chairperson, BITEX ® 2003 Exhibition and Trade Fair
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FOREWARD
by Pehin Dato Haji Zakaria Sulaiman
Minister of Communications
Brunei Darussalam


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

First of all I would like to thank Persatuan Komputer Brunei Darussalam (PKBD) for inviting me to write a few words in the BITEX 2003 magazine. May I take this opportunity to congratulate PKBD for organizing the BITEX 2003 exhibition which is held in conjunction with the PKBD's 20th year anniversary.


It is indeed encouraging to note the participation of more and more companies in this annual BITEX event exhibiting their latest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services. BITEX 2003 not only showcase of ICT products and services but also create interests and appreciation of the usefulness of various ICT applications that nurture knowledge, creativity and innovations in support of our social and economic development in this competitive and globalised world.

This event will certainly support the Government's initiatives in bridging the digital divide in the country. The Government through the Brunei Information Technology Council is vigorously pursuing a national policy to increase ICT literacy in the country, which will, directly or indirectly, benefit the business community as well as the community as a whole. Efforts in narrowing the Digital Divide and making ICT services available to all levels of society are our top priority. Initiatives have been taken to introduce IT into our mukims and kampongs; by using post offices in remote rural areas as Cyber Centres, targetting the elderly, pensioners and school children who do not have PCs or Internet access at home, schools or workplace.
The growth of the Internet and its pervasiveness cannot be stopped. We have to accept this or risk being left behind. Our initiatives in promoting ICT among the Brunei Society are clear indications of our belief that the issue of promoting the positive use of the Internet needs to be highlighted. It is indeed worrying to know that certain negative activities have proliferated over the Net and these have imposed serious challenges to the values of our cultures. Our younger generation will be the most vulnerable and obvious casualties of these new developments. There is therefore a need for us to educate and create awareness among our society so as to produce a healthy, innovative and competitive information society, strongly embedded with moral and societal values.
The Internet has created a new global economy. In the past when we talked about our wealth, we were talking about ownership of plant, equipment and natural resources. Today, knowledge is the new basis for wealth. This has never before been true. The world's wealthiest man owns only knowledge. In the future when we talk about our wealth, we will be talking about our control of knowledge.
Thus, the theme for BITEX 2003 is "Empowering People With Knowledge Through Education To Enable Them To Maximise Their Leverage" is aptly chosen to remind us that we have to enrich our people with ICT knowledge in order to create a nation of highly ICT-literate and empowered individuals. ICT exhibition such as BITEX 2003 has an important role to play in opening up windows of opportunities to help create an awareness and appreciation of the importance of ICT for the benefit of the Global community.
Best wishes and thank you.


PEHIN DATO HAJI ZAKARIA SULAIMAN
Minister of Communications
Brunei Darussalam


04th February, 2003

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