BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) will spend a significant portion of its proposed $101.1 million budget on e-government and digital economy initiatives in the 2021/22 fiscal year.

Outlining his ministry’s plans for the upcoming financial year at the Legislative Council on Tuesday, YB Abdul Mutalib POKSSDP Hj Mohd Yusof said the E-Government National Centre has been allocated $8.9 million to develop a National Centralised Database.

The database, which is part of the ministry’s 11th National Development Plan project, will involve the building of a “secure and safe” data-sharing platform dubbed National Information Hub.

A total of $42.6 million is expected to be spent on projects under the National Development Plan in the 2021/22 year.

The proposed $101.1 million ministry budget represents an 8.7 percent increase compared to the previous fiscal year.

Gov’t drafts cyber security legislation

YB Dato Abd Mutalib said two legal frameworks on cyber security are currently being drafted to strengthen digital transformation governance — Cyber Security Order and Personal Data Protection Order.

He said the Cyber Security Order will deal with online security threats and incidents while the Personal Data Protection Order aims to preserve the use, collection and disclosure of personal data in the private sector.

The government set up a new cyber security agency last year to develop policies that promote digital transformation and ensure a safe cyberspace.

Brunei reported a 39 percent rise in cyber attacks in 2018, with malicious malware the most common type of online attacks.

Headquarters of network operator UNN in Bandar Seri Begawan. Photo: Courtesy of UNN

MTIC to improve connectivity in remote areas

The minister said $3 million has been set aside to improve telecommunication infrastructure and connectivity in four rural villages — Kg Sukang, Kg Melilas and Kg Apak-Apak in Belait and Kg Long Mayan in Tutong district.

To date, 983 telecommunication towers have been activated across the country.

However, YB Dato Abd Mutalib said cable theft incidents have affected the stability of network services.

He added that 176 cable theft cases were reported from September 2019 to March this year.

Plans underway to eliminate office paperwork

To improve the delivery of public services, the ministry intends to enhance the e-Darussalam government portal.

YB Dato Abd Mutalib said the portal has offered 132 services since it was launched in 2012, including 34 services that facilitate online payment.

As part of green protocol measures, the ministry also aims to “fully” adopt e-office in its internal operations to eliminate paperwork.

“This [e-office] project has also been extended to other ministries,” the minister added.

Some $8.2 million has been allocated to centralise the payment of software licenses used by the government.

YB Dato Abd Mutalib said the ministry will also introduce live bus tracking services dubbed the Public Transport Information System in the third quarter of the year, allowing public bus riders to better plan their journeys.