Brunei’s annual parliamentary session, the Legislative Council (LegCo), will convene tomorrow for an estimated two-week period, with discussions on the government budget, national policies and development set to take place.

The Scoop spoke to several youth representatives from the Legislative Council to find out what issues they will be bringing to the floor this year.

YB Khairunnisa Ash’ari, who at 29 is the youngest member of LegCo, said His Majesty the Sultan’s recent titah highlighting the importance of youth involvement in national development is a reflection of what they have been advocating for the past few years.

Youth have to be proactive in seeking opportunities [to contribute to the community and economy]. But at the same time, society also needs to accept that good ideas and implementation can come from anywhere — age is just a number, so encourage the young in your community to do their part.
File photo shows YB Khairunnisa Ash’ari in discussion with a peer.

She stressed that young people need to engage with their communities more, whether through volunteering or through their respective village consultative councils (MPKs).

“We are also hoping for the strengthening of youth programmes and more efforts towards capacity building of NGOs to enable youth to participate more effectively,” she added.

LegCo member YB Hafimi Abdul Haadii said she wants to discuss volunteerism as a pathway to long-term employment, as well as issues related to the economy and how Brunei is coping with the fast pace of change.

Both Hafimi and Khairunnisa said the younger generation’s contribution to the national GDP and boosting the economy will be an important topic in the coming session.

YB Iswandy Ahmad (C) speaks during a recent panel at the Brunei Young Global Thinkers Network. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

YB Iswandy Ahmad, appointed to LegCo in 2016, shared some of the issues he will be raising, such as the retirement and social protection scheme, Wawasan 2035 and how it relates to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

He said discussions on youth engagement at the grassroots level; the capacity building of teachers; tourism development; sports development; and first aid services are all issues that will be raised in the coming weeks.

The annual parliamentary session will be opened by His Majesty the Sultan tomorrow morning and will see newly-appointed cabinet ministers being sworn into the Legislative Council.