Temburong residents look forward to progress

National 3 minutes, 15 seconds

TEMBURONG

RESIDENTS of the Temburong district expressed their delight and gratitude towards the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for the Temburong Bridge but also hoped that their district and the town of Bangar would experience developments as well.

When interviewed by The Brunei Times yesterday, Temburong locals expect that the traffic of visitors to the district as well as the local economy will see a sizeable improvement upon the completion of the $1.6 billion Bridge due to be opened in 2019.

Siti Nur Hazirah Saidin, who operates a food stall along the banks of the Temburong River, welcomes the improved transportation links with the rest of the country and the increase in visitors the district would see but hopes that there would be something for the visitors in Bangar town as well.

“Bangar is a quiet town and there is not much to see or do here so if there are not much attractions in the town, people will not stop for long so I hope that new buildings and commercial centres would be built so that there is more of a reason for people to visit Bangar,” she said.

“Currently, there is nothing offered here that is not available in Bandar (the capital city) – even ourselves here frequent the capital to shop for the things that are either unavailable or too expensive here in Temburong,” she said.

A local resident, Zahirah Yahya, stated that she hoped the population would increase following the construction of the bridge which would make it possible to commute to the capital for work or school as it would enliven the sparsely-populated district.

“Temburong is inaccessible without a passport and most of the jobs available are in the Brunei-Muara district which is why there are not a lot of residents here compared to other districts in the country,” she said.

“However, the bridge would improve ease of transportation as it would connect the district directly so I hope more people would move here as the district and the town is still quite small and under-developed compared to the rest of the country,” she said.

When asked whether she was worried that the bridge would have the opposite effect and drive residents away from Temburong and onto Brunei-Muara instead, Zahirah stated that it was unlikely as Temburong residents already travel to Brunei-Muara frequently and the bridge would just make it more convenient to do so.

“On the contrary, I think more people would build houses in Temburong as it is a quiet place to live and raise families and the bridge would just make it easier to shop for everyday necessities and to commute for work in the capital,” she said.

Another local, Asmat Hj Taha, said that he hoped the bridge would be a gateway to further developing the district which in turn would create permanent jobs beyond the construction of the bridge that would help prevent jobseekers from moving to the capital.

“Usually when children who are originally from Temburong get sent to Bandar to further their studies –as most of them here do- they will end up living there permanently as there are more jobs on offer there,” he said. “So unless there are more developments done here such as the construction of the PKBN Training Centre built recently, it will be hard to stop the young people from moving to the capital in order to earn a living but InsyaAllah, the bridge would bring these developments to Temburong in the future.”

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam laid the foundation stone of the Temburong bridge two days ago.

When completed, the 30km-long bridge would directly connect the enclave of the Temburong district to the rest of the country, bypassing the Malaysian state of Sarawak which Bruneians currently have to pass through in order to reach Temburong.

The Brunei Times