In the effort to reduce corruption and conflict of interest, it is high time for the government to completely restrict civil servants from doing business. 

While it is laudable on paper and intent to encourage civil servants to do business, such approach will necessarily invite corruption, as civil servants may secure unwarranted bribes  in the form of business profits in exchange of committing favour that is against the public interest.

Moreover, the civil servants too have been paid a generous salary, allowance and a fixed position for life, so it would only be proper for them to commit 100% of their work to public service. It would be grossly unfair if they start to commit 50% of their time doing part-time business during government work hours. 

As a hypothetical example, a teacher with a government salary who sells food online may end up losing sleep as she had to prepare the food overnight, resulting in subpar performance in teaching her students the day after. Keep this up for the next several months, both the teacher, school and the students suffer. 

The above scenario would be wrong and unethical. If she wants to do business, she should tender her resignation and commit to her entrepreneurship endeavours 100%. 

I write this because I support the statement by a government minister before this whereby “public servants have a big role in contributing toward national development and in looking after the welfare of the public.”

“A high commitment when executing tasks is required at all levels in the public service particularly as the nation strives towards realising Brunei Vision 2035” 

Yet, the fact Brunei is nowhere near Vision 2035 alerts there are underlying problems. 

One of the problem is civil servants busying themselves to do business. The only proper solution is restrict them from entrepreneurship. If they want to do business quit, and give the opportunity to others who are more serious in giving their 100% to public service and to realise Vision 2035.