New work culture for Civil Service
By Azlan Othman

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, yesterday called on civil servants to heed public opinion for delivering competent services and to cooperate with the private sector to woo investment.

In delivering his 'sabda' at the 13th Civil Service Day at the International Convention Centre yesterday, His Royal Highness also urged Civil Service machinery to be coordinated in tandem with the evolving times, possess an open attitude to hear public opinion and evaluate service quality and be committed to upgrade their ICT expertise.

HRH said all government ministries and departments should give serious attention in upholding the government's aspiration to deliver efficient services conducive for the development of the economy.

"In achieving this objective, cooperation with the private sector in attracting foreign and local investments should be given specific priority, to seek and overcome any problem which may affect growth and development of the private sector," HRH the Crown Prince said.

"Increase in enterprises capable of re-generating the economy is an important agenda in the nation's development. It entails enhancement in the provision of a speedier, more competent and effective public services."

"The Civil Service plays a very important role in generating growth of viable enterprises to achieve the nation's aspiration for an economic diversity that is sustainable and dynamic," he said.

The Crown Prince also said that the Civil Service being the nation's prime institution, plays an important role in provision of various services for the well-being of citizens and residents.

Efforts towards modernising the Civil Service is of continuous importance in ensuring that it remains dynamic and responsive in facing current challenges and demands. Towards that end, the Prime Minister's Office as the focal agency responsible for the Civil Service has set out a Strategic Plan with the main theme, 'Modernising the Civil Service' in embracing the Civil Service Vision for the 21st Century.

HRH also believed that officers and staff in all government ministries and departments have and will continue to take serious action to uphold His Majesty's aspiration of Civil Service Vision for the 21st Century as stated in the 21st National Day titah as a guideline and direction.

"I hope all ministries and departments will continue to implement the strategic plan in embracing the vision by virtue of their functions in their respective ministries and departments."

HRH also said that the community, which is regarded as the major client, should be regarded as a key partner to evaluate the quality of services delivered. "For that, we should always inculcate an open attitude to hear their opinion. This is a positive attitude to acquire, in order to obtain evaluation of the service quality, or working procedures being practised.

"With the willingness of an open mind to accept opinion, we should at the least identify weaknesses in our work practices for review and improvement. In our approach to improve, we must start by being caring and constantly courteous in serving the community subscribing to public services.

"In my opinion, this call coincides perfectly with the objective of the theme for this year's Civil Service Day celebration, which is, 'Customer Friendly Civil Service'. It is not a mere call to be taken lightly but it should be given a whole-hearted focus."

HRH said every civil servant is required to upgrade their knowledge and proficiency in usage and maintenance of ICT. "If we are weak in mastering the ICT knowledge, we will be lagging behind other nations."

Therefore, every civil servant should readily accept and adopt new work cultures like skills in ICT.

HRH also said that the Civil Service as the centre of the nation's administration has played an important role in securing stability, prosperity and well-being of the citizens of Brunei.

HRH the Crown Prince later presented prizes to silver, bronze and consolation prize winners of excellent service awards in both service and finance categories. There was no gold winner this year.

The silver winner in service category went to 'An-Nur' group of Mosque Affairs Department with its project 'IQRA system implementation for Quran literacy at mosques'. They walked away with $5,000, trophy and a certificate.

'MTB 15' group of the National Registration Section (of NRID) was the bronze winner ($3,000 and a certificate) with its project "To speed-up citizenship application under Section 6 (1) following Bruneian mother."

'Kompos' group of the Environment, Parks and Recreation with its project "Environmental-Friendly Practice" also won bronze ($3,000 and a certificate) in the finance category. Three others received consolation prizes. HRH also presented certificates to 44 retired civil servants and viewed an exhibition. - Borneo Bulletin (1st October 2006)