Business at old Pasar Belait better: vendors

National 2 minutes, 33 seconds


VENDORS at Pasarneka Kuala Belait have recorded steady sales since the building's opening four years ago, but claimed business was better at the old Pasar Kuala Belait located at the edge of town because of its open air design.

Sellers at Pasarneka Kuala Belait, often referred as Pasar Baru Kuala Belait, told The Brunei Times that sales began slowly during their initial relocation to the new building in 2011 because its walled up design prevents the onlooking public from viewing the market's operations.

Lee Sweet Kiat, who has been selling fruit and dry goods for over 40 years, said the building's unconventional design provided better shelter from hot and rainy weather, but was not able to attract as many customers as an open air design.

“Believe it or not, not everyone knows that the market has now been moved here. If you are driving across the road, it's very unlikely that you will notice the place as a market. It resembles an office or government department,” said the 61-year-old.

Operating at one of the market's booths costs a monthly fee of $25, which sellers noted as the main attraction for them to trade there.

For fishmonger Azmi Aduni, his main issue is securing a steady supply of fish for sale, but added that this is a normal part of selling fish and seafood in Brunei Darussalam.

“I get most of my supply of Belait and the rest from Muara, which is sometimes imported,” he said, adding that whole, uncut salmon imported from Norway and Holland – usually retailed at $15 a kilogramme – was the popular choice among Belait residents for foreign sourced fish.

Retired policeman Rosli Hj Abdul Roslan, who now runs his family's business, said his mother – who is unable to trade anymore because of health issues – thought highly of the new market because of the stability it offered.

“When I was working as a policeman, my mother would always trade in many different areas across Belait; the old Seria wet market, stalls in Lorong 3 Seria and the old Kuala Belait market. Here the structure and building is solid and well maintained.

“Total sales isn't all that much, usually between $20-$30 with our most popular product being ambulung (sago used to make ambuyat),” said Rosli.

A third section of market is a food court, which sees regular flow of customers in the morning, lunch and late afternoon when Belait residents get off work.

James Liew, who won the tender to run several stalls selling Indonesian, Chinese, Malay and Western food, said he planned to continue operations for the foreseeable future, having secured a consistent clientele on weekdays.

“When I opened Dapor Sri Pasar three years ago, I decided to renovate the flooring and seating space to provide a more comfortable environment for people to dine in. Nowadays, we can expect full seating in the mornings after we open at 7am on weekdays,” he said.

The market is joined by small stalls or tamu set up adjacent to the building on the weekends, operating from as early as 7am and stopping shortly after noon.

The Brunei Times