Vandalism threatens to tarnish Kg Ayer’s image

National 2 minutes, 49 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

VANDALISM in Kg Ayer is widespread, with grassroots leaders suggesting that the authorities deploy more enforcement officials to monitor the situation there at night.

Vandals have been targeting lights at jetties, stairs, public telephones, electricity cables, benches and walls.

Taxi boat operators and residents said the increase in vandalism was due to rising unemployment amongst young people in the sultanate over the past couple of years.

According to statistics from the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), as of June last year, around 67 per cent of the nation’s jobseekers resided in Brunei-Muara District.

When contacted by The Brunei Times, village heads declined to pinpoint who may be vandalising the facilities.

The village head of Kg Setia A in Mukim Sungai Kebun, Hj Asli Hj Mamut, said he has to report to the Brunei-Muara District Office at least twice a month requesting that they replace broken lights at the Kg Sungai Kebun Jetty.

“I don’t know who’s breaking the lights. People shouldn’t vandalise public property because it’s for public use. We should take care of it and not break it,” he said.

A taxi boat operator who called himself Brahim said a new fluorescent light was installed last week at the jetty in Kg Bakut Pengiran Siraja Muda ‘B’.

The village head of Kg Sungai Kebun, Hj Marali Hj Matzin, said he always receives complaints from residents about vandals stealing lights at Kg Sg Kebun Jetty.

“The village jetty’s lights weren’t functioning because vandals stole the fluorescent lights’ starter (fuses),” he said.

Hj Marali said the village has experienced frequent telephone cable thefts over the past few years.

He said that in 2014, a cable thief died of electric shock while attempting to steal an electric cable along Jalan Lumapas.

Hj Marali said his car was also stolen from the parking lot near the jetty in Kg Sg Kebun two years ago.

He said there were also several incidents of tyres being stolen from vehicles parked at the lot.

“I suspect the burglars committed the crimes when there were heavy rains or sometime after midnight,” he said.

Hj Marali suggested setting up a police post near the village in 2014 but is yet to receive a reply from the Royal Brunei Police Force.

Kg Sg Kebun’s population as of 2015 was 2,048. Foreigners renting out some of the houses in the village comprised 197 Indonesian nationals, five Filipinos and seven Chinese.

“I don’t have my own secretaries. Village heads aren’t superhuman.

“We need cooperation from other authorities to help us out,” he said.

A spokesperson from the RBPF couldn’t be reached for comment.

A resident of Kg Ujung Kelinik/Kg Sungai Siamas who declined to be named said some benches and pillars at the village’s jetties have been vandalised with graffiti.

He said this could affect Kg Ayer’s image.

Marali Wahab, a taxi operator in Kg Ayer, said vandalism is an endless issue that taints the image of the water village.

“The authorities shouldn’t give the excuse of a lack of manpower to patrol areas in Kg Ayer. There are a lot of unemployed young Bruneians here. Why are they still unemployed? Is this because of a budget problem? The government should think about the situation in the water village instead of just focusing on the Gadong area,” he said.

The Brunei Times