The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) wants more young Bruneians to become grassroots leaders as their fresh and dynamic ideas could help bring about economic changes to their community.

MoHA’s Permanent Secretary Salminan Hj Burut (pictured) said Brunei needs more young leaders at the grassroots level to tackle various challenges particularly in improving the economy within their respective villages or Mukims.

MoHA Permanent Secretary Salminan Hj Burut (C) leading the press conference Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

“They (younger people) could use their knowledge and understanding of the latest technology and trends, and apply them wherever appropriate, especially for the One Village One Product (OVOP) initiatives,” said Salminan in a press conference at the ministry earlier today.

MoHA Permanent Secretary Salminan Hj Burut.“Besides pushing existing products to the right market, (young leaders) might even be able to develop new products that could set themselves apart from the rest of the OVOP producers,” he added.

The ministry is currently opening up positions for village chiefs and Penghulus to younger applicants by reducing the minimum age requirement to 30.

Salminan said that having a mix of young and senior members in village or Mukim consultative councils can create a great synergy for progress.

“The older generations have the experience, and the younger people have the knowledge and fresh outlook,” added the permanent secretary.

The ministry will begin advertising job vacancies for grassroots leadership positions next month.

Items to be advertised include academic prerequisites that will decide the minimum wage received by candidates, should they get elected.

The minimum academic requirements for village heads stands at ‘O’ level, with the lowest salary set at $1,280 per month.

Degree holders can receive a minimum wage of $2,270 monthly if they choose to become village heads, or they can opt for Penghulu posts with the lowest wage standing at $3,880 per month.

Other requirements include active participation in community activities and having a place of their own, or given consent if they are still living with their parents.

Salminan said that there will be an estimated 169 vacancies for grassroots leadership posts available by June next year.

Traditional woven hats and baskets at Eco Ponies Garden. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Responding to the new directive, youth activist Pg Kamal Ghadafi Pg Hj Suhaimi praised the government’s decision to recruit younger members to lead in the grassroots level, but reminded future young applicants to be more equipped to take leadership roles.

He said that becoming a grassroots leader is not an easy task as the youth will need to be insightful of the community that they look after.

“They need to understand what’s happening in their village, and know the people well,” said Pg Kamal Ghadafi, who is also an officer at the Department of Youth and Sports.

Another youth, who only wished to be known as Ishmal, said that young grassroots leaders would be more approachable especially for economic development projects.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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