Late payments, severe flooding discussed

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

YESTERDAY's issue in the state legislative council which discussed the budget for the Ministry of Development, council members from the districts raised issues regarding the payments for contractors and developers.

The issue was raised at last year's council meeting and again this year. Judging from the progress being made, improvements to speed up the process of payment is evident but there were still complains of late payments.

In his response to the question, the Minister of Development said that the process of payment involves many departments and that the ministry is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Finance to expedite the matter at hand.

He also added that the ministry of development is also frequently reviewing the matter with the Ministry of Finance from time to time in order for it to be considered as top priority.

Hj Bakar Mansor, the state representative for Brunei and Muara district said that what is becoming an issue now is the occurrence of floods in low lying districts and interior regions especially in residential areas.

Even though many efforts were made to tackle the situation and many agencies have been set up to manage these occurrences, he said. However, there is still problems in kampungs and mukims where flash floods can be devastating to their homes and property.

He suggested that the relevant authorities should take up the matter properly and put all aspects into consideration by widening drains and waterways which can possibly handle the extra flow of water that comes in due to the floods.

He added that the problem that is usually faced is that of approval by landowners to develop parts of their land to accommodate such widening works. He suggested to the council compensation for these land owners to speed up the approval process as a means of allowing for the widening works to proceed.

The Development Minister said that the matter will be looked into and efforts are underway to improve the waterway system in these areas.

However, he said that the issue being raised is possibly due to the recent flood incidents, especially the innundation that occurred in December saying that this should not be seen as a regular incident as what happened in that month was something that happens once every 50 years or so.

He said that the incident was a coincidence where the heavy rains coupled by high tides caused the waterways to overflow, hence the severe floods.

What the ministry realises, said the minister is that several areas which used to be natural reservoirs have now been urbanised and become residential areas so what needs to be done now is that the waterway system in those areas needs to be redirected and efforts made to look into the matter.

As for the matter of compensating land owners for the use of part of their land in the development of these waterways, the minister added, the suggestion by the representative is noted and that it will be looked into under the land acquisition charter under Chapter 41.

The Brunei Times