Dasar Belia Negara & Strategi (DBNS) or otherwise known as the National Youth Policy and Strategy is a living document outlining the 4 core strategies intended to prepare and drive the youth of Brunei Darussalam to achieve the Wawasan 2035. The strategies include: Nationwide Co-operation, Culture of Unity, Accessibility and Suitable Employment and Youth Empowerment.
As of Sunday, 19th December 2021, 14 DBNS Dialogue Sessions led by the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) has been conducted. Luckily, we have been given the opportunity to attend the latest. These dialogue sessions serve as a direct feedback channel between the government agencies and the youth community, and hence suggesting the effective implementation and development of youth policies.
The event ran virtually from 8am to 12.30pm began with a recital of surah Al-fatihah by Tuan Fadli (from Brunei Shell Petroleum), the emcee of the event. Since it was our very first time joining the dialogue session, we were very glad to be given the infopack beforehand. The infopack was really handy as it gave us a gist of the event. It consisted of housekeeping guidelines, programme flow, explanations about the activities and even down to addressing the panelists! After the recital, a presentation was led by Tuan Nuriskandar Hasnan (from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports). He elucidated 'Dasar Belia Negara dan Strategi 2020-2035' briefly yet comprehensible. Subsequently, we were placed into break-out rooms for further discussions on specific topics, as mentioned in the infopack, also known as the 'Open Space Session'.
Prior to this session, we were given a form to choose our top two options for the break-out rooms. Such options included Personal Finance, Career Progression and Skills Gap. All six of us had varying areas of interest and so we expected to get separated. However, due to high popularity in the other topics, all of us, except for Liessa, were placed in the Skills Gap room. The speakers in the room were Puan Fatin Arifin from Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd and Tuan Nuriskandar Hasnan from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, whereas Puan Nadia Aji from Young Professionals Network was the moderator.
It was interesting to hear insights from both an employer and an employee, representing both the private and government sector, respectively. Other participants were also very welcomed to provide their own thoughts and input. Through this discussion, we were able to better understand what kind of soft skills we should instill into ourselves as a person or as a working personnel. The speakers revealed that the definition of a 'skilled' person is indeed subjective but nowadays popular skills needed in a workplace include active listening, critical thinking and wise decision-making. They have also pointed out that these attributes can be practiced even in early education, just to prepare ourselves to enter the workforce.
Another major topic voiced out by the participants was the importance of having an end goal. One suggestion was to make mini checkpoints to mark your achievements during your journey towards your final success. This could make us stay consistent with a good working attitude and be more motivated to finish off tasks consecutively.
On the other hand, Liessa was placed in the "Personal Finance: Changing Your Habits and the Way You Think" breakout room where she was exposed to the importance of financial literacy. The forum was graced by Mina Zaini, a personal finance coach, and Fadhli Sulaiman, from Brunei Darussalam Central Bank.
The two panelists touched out the need to establish an emergency fund (with 3-6 months worth of expenses); clarification of your financial goals; and the emphasis on discipline in managing your money. A notable takeaway from the breakout room is that the art of managing your finance was through one's behaviour and strategies. It was very intriguing to learn these valuable and practical lessons as personal finance is not something that you can learn in a classroom.
Later on just prior to our presentations, we each sorted ourselves into one of 7 groups for a group discussion. In our groups, we were given the opportunity to brainstorm with participants of different backgrounds and ages. This was especially interesting to us as being some of the youngest bunch in the forum, we get to listen to workers from both government and private sectors, talk about issues we have yet to experience. These issues dive different depths too: ineffective leadership, failure to provide clear job descriptions, all the way to personal insecurities or confidence.
After 40 minutes, representatives of each group present their findings to the panelists, which included the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports himself, Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd.) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin. Stunningly, us scholars partook to quite the extent! We found ourselves a lot more proactive and comfortable with the crowd compared to the others, making almost 50% of the presenters were representatives from MinDef; Liessa, Haziq and Hanan speaking on behalf of each of their groups. It is safe to say that the panelists were impressed! We were told by the senior participants how amazed they were at how well-spoken and knowledgeable we are.
After the 7 groups were done presenting, we had a feedback session regarding the presentation from the Guest of Honour, Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd.) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan, Public Service Department, Civil Service Institute, Labour Department and Manpower Planning and Employment Council and representatives from invited agencies. This was followed by a Q&A session between the panelists and the participants where we could either unmute our microphones or use the chat box function in the dialogue session to ask or contribute our ideas to the discussion. It was a very helpful and direct session where us, as youths, can be more open and input our thoughts and opinions into the discussion.
We were close to the end of our 4-hour dialogue session as we wrapped it up with a group picture together before the recital of Surah Al-Asr. Overall, we were so pleased to have the opportunity to participate in a session where we got to network with young professionals across Brunei and could have an open conversation together regarding matters that we come across and solutions that we could implement as young professionals. It was emphasized that it is really important to be able to get a youth perspective on today's common issues regarding the youth. Especially since we are at a young age like this, we are delighted to get to touch on dealing with developing our career paths, learning new skills and managing our finances.
Haziq Zharfan bin Haji Awang Hasbollah, RBAF2014 Scholar
Abdurraziq bin Abdul Aziz, SCRBAF2021 Scholar
Nurliessa binti Mohammad Daliz, RBAF2015 Scholar
Dk Fathiyah Amanina @ Dk Hanan Syafiqah binti Pg Roslan, SCRBAF2021 Scholar
Syasya Athirah binti Baharulnizam, SCRBAF2021 Scholar
Nur Alya Irdina binti Awang Harun, SCRBAF2021 Scholar
Arranged and Formatted by:
Aiman Abdullah Tee