‘Use PPP to revive Kampong Ayer’

National 2 minutes, 17 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

REVITALISING the centuries-old Kampong Ayer through public-private partnerships (PPP) can attract foreign investors and help Brunei achieve economic diversification, said a Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department official.

Pg Junaidi Pg Hj Bakar, head of Master Plan Unit at the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department, said the water village was identified as a central corridor of growth in the BSB Development Masterplan through PPP.

The government had previously announced plans to transform Kampong Ayer into Brunei’s centre of heritage by the year 2035, with boutique hotels and restored residential neighbourhoods in the pipeline.

During a presentation on the BSB Masterplan at a seminar yesterday, Pg Junaidi said Kampong Ayer will be revitalised to become an economically sustainable water village.

He said Kampong Ayer can be turned into a heritage boutique resort, mangrove spa resort and a cultural artisanal design village.

The Kg Ayer redevelopment is part of the master plan which was completed in 2011, he said.

Pg Junaidi said population growth in the capital is an opportunity for Brunei to attract more foreign investors to form joint ventures through PPP.

In an interview, he said some of the challenges of redeveloping the water village were lack of guidelines on the housing construction through PPP, as well as property sales, ownership transfer, and leases for buildings to be developed.

“PPP is something new to us. At the end of the day, cooperation of all government agencies is the key to meet the challenges. It is a concerted effort. It cannot be one person. It’s a team effort,” said Pg Junaidi.

During a question and answer session at the seminar Director at the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) Hj Aminuddin Hj Mohd Taib said the department has yet to compile statistics on the number of PPP projects carried out in Brunei.

However, Hj Aminuddin said around 15 PPP projects have been proposed to JPKE. “But this has not been published yet because PPP is a new approach. The projects that have been put forward to us (JPKE) are not yet the standards required for financers and potential investors to participate in.”

In his speech, Chairman of BSB Municipal Board Pg Dato Paduka Hj Abd Rahman Pg Seri Indera Pg Hj Ismail, said the Sg Kebun bridge that connects Jalan Residency in the capital and the road expansion on Jalan Residency are among the ongoing development projects carried out close to Kampong Ayer.

“Under the regeneration of the River Eco-Corridor project for BSB, the dredging work project for Zone A in Sungai Kedayan has been approved, along with the piling and resurfacing work from Kuala Sungai Kedayan to Edinburgh Bridge that can enhance the beautification of the environment in the capital,” he said.

The Brunei Times