Friday, September 7, 2012


If Brunei want to become champion of SMEs in the year 2035, We should now consider seriously or at lease create our SME policy by look and learn from the East (Look East policy) such as the countries like Japan and South Korea, made as a models of our national development.

When I was in Japan for youth friendship program (the 21st Century Friendship program) sponsored by the JICA in the year 1986, I noticed that Japan had become a great industrial power, The Japanese had become Europeanised and they had long discarded their kimonos to wear coats, ties and dresses. But it was only a cosmetic changed, culturally and intellectually, they still very Japanese and very polite. They speak and write in Japanese language, although most of the Japanese know how to speak English.

Unlike our Bruneian are very much Europeanised, especially cosmetically, culturally, mentally and intellectually, where I look at it do not help much in developing our industrialisation or SMEs national development program toward our vision 2035. Now as we also could see the South Korea was emerging as an industrialising country.

The Japanese workers were working not for individual gain, But for the country, for those days they understood that lifting the country from its depths (after the postwar years) would eventually result in better lives for them. Sacrifices had to be made, and they were made without complaint. Today the Japanese worker are among the highest paid in Asia. But look at our own people seemed lazy and always asking for less work and more pay, we are inclined to take the easy way, If we can get somebody else to work for us, we will, rather than get our own hand dirty by doing it ourselves. Today, I do believe that almost 30,000 – 40,000 foreign worker worked in Brunei Darussalam.

Some of our people are not loyal in the sense of staying with one employer throughout their lives, They hop restlessly from one employer to another in order to improve their earning, but in the other hand, they do not try to improve the quality of their work and increase productivity in order to promote to higher position and earn higher income.

The attitude of foreign workers towards work is quite different, They are not company-oriented but individualistic and display little loyalty to their employers. They donot give their best to help their company to succeed.

I would suggest and prefer our SMEs learn from Japan and South Korea about need to pursue into economic prosperity and culture modernity. To do so, we do not have to sacrifice our dignity or our sovereignty, our mastery of our own fate. Look East attitude, we should learn to apply Japanese work ethics, trying to adopt selected aspects of Japanese culture such as its value commitment to work, orderliness, excellence and to implement.


Dr Haji Mohd Hatta Bin Hj Zainal Abidin

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