Pehin Dato Haji Zakaria Sulaiman
Minister of Communications
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
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
04th February, 2003
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