Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) hosted a Distinguished Lecture by Yang Amat Berhormat Tun Dato Laila Utama Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia in the Senate Room at the Chancellor Hall, UBD.
Present at the lecture was Vice Chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Datin Dr Dayang Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah Haji Sulaiman, and Minister of Finance II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah. Also present were UBD Council Members, principal officers, staff and students, as well as invited guests from government and non-government agencies.
Yang Amat Berhormat Tun Dr Mahathir congratulated UBD on its impressive rapid growth as a young institution, stating that it paralleled Brunei Darussalam's own rapid development as a nation. The relationship between the two countries have been very close, enhanced by various commonalities which include race, language and culture. Both are also Muslim-majority countries. He emphasised the importance of looking to the future for enhanced cooperation, highlighting that there is a need to work together despite the ever changing international scene, to adjust to this change, and to enhance their respective roles as members of ASEAN.
In the Question and Answer session, the Prime Minister addressed several pressing issues. One of which was regarding the higher number of women in higher education and the workforce. "Men tend to be less serious than women about their future," He responded. "I believe this has to do with upbringing." With the rising trend where both parents in a household work full time, there is notably less family time spent between parents and their children. Men seem to be more adversely affected by this. Furthermore, women appear to be able to absorb positive values better. Yang Amat Berhormat advised parents to start instilling positive values in their children early so that they are more focused on their future.
Regarding a collaborative research project on energy consumption and reservation by UBD and University of Malaya, Yang Amat Berhormat Tun Dr Mahathir stressed the importance of being aware of the environment while countries generate energy. He said that Malaysia has a good potential in energy production, extending those services to neighbouring countries in addition to serving its own people. It also intends to use cleaner materials such as solar panels and is keen on innovative methods for producing basic supplies such as electricity and water. He hopes that Brunei Darussalam can also find ways to do the same. Calling Brunei's rivers "big", he shared his vision that the Sultanate may one day be able to utilise them for hydroelectric power.
Addressing the students present, Yang Amat Berhormat Tun Dr Mahathir advised that the youth must learn to make good use of the potential and power of technology. "IT is the most powerful technology that humankind has right now," he said. "And is therefore the future of the world." Acknowledging the ability for technology to also be a distraction, he stressed that it is necessary to utilise technology-enhanced learning in order to both educate and entertain young people nowadays. With their ability to think far more creatively and innovatively, the youth recognise that there are no limits in the growth of technology and are more willing to explore that as opposed to the older generation who are more set in their ways and resistant to change.
UBD Vice Chancellor Datin Dr Hajah Anita affirmed the university's commitment to producing innovative ideas that transcend generations, which is to be achieved by its focus on two pivotal modes of learning: lifelong learning and technology-enhanced learning. Drawing on ancient Muslim history as evidence of the Islamic emphasis on seeking knowledge with utmost sincerity. She cited the work ethic and achievements of scientists during the Golden Age of Islam.
Following the lecture, the Prime Minister then planted a tree in front of the Chancellor Hall. The Aganthis borneensis, also known as Borneo Kauri, is categorised as an endangered species based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The population of Agathis borneensis in Southeast Asia has been depleted due to overexploitation for its high timber value and high quantity production of resin.
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