HM demands answers from MoHA on tamu

National 3 minutes, 3 seconds


THE Ministry of Home Affairs was placed in the hot seat yesterday when His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, demanded answers over the inaction of officials in tackling problems.

Delivering his titah during a visit to the ministry’s headquarters yesterday, the monarch said the maintenance of markets has worsened because it continues to be neglected.

His Majesty said he witnessed Tamu Kianggeh vendors selling their goods all over the market without considering hygiene and comfort during his visit there last Sunday.

Describing the conditions of the market as messy and an eyesore, the Sultan added that he had difficulties navigating the tamu because the stalls were disorganised and some occupied a larger space than others, including selling their products on the stairs.

“This is an unpleasant sight. I also saw garbage and stones scattered around, while there is a vendor selling kuih apam balik (local delicacy) outside of a building nearby,” he said.

“Where are the municipal authorities? Did they not see this situation?

“If so, why was it left without being addressed?” he continued.

The monarch went on to say that the long abandoned building near the market showed that the authorities had given the green light to construct the building without careful assessment as it was not necessary and suitable to be built in the area.

Some of the vendors, he said, had also complained of foreigners loitering at the cemetery behind the tamu on Fridays and Sundays.

“According to the vendors there, this is unpleasant to them, there were efforts to forbid (the foreign workers) but it was unsuccessful,” he said.

“The vendors had to report to authorities including the police and the Municipal Department, but the situation did not change, and it became worse,” he added.

The monarch expressed concerns as the vendors had also told him that the foreigners may disturb them as they were drunk.

“So my question is, where is the discretion of the authorities in this? Where are measures to preserve the sanctity of the cemetery? Where are our efforts to ensure peace and safety?” he said.

“Do we not see drunk people at the cemetery as threatening? Would it not be possible that apart from them being intoxicated, they may also plan something that can endanger the country?” he added.

The monarch noted no changes had been made, an indication that the issue was not resolved.

“If it is addressed, at least we will see changes for the better, but the situation at the tamu seems to be getting worse,” he said.

He added that if the authorities were not told or instructed to take action, changes would not be made.

“So here I would like to once again ask, where are the municipal authorities and the others?” he added.

The Sultan said the same can be applied to the Jerudong wet market as it is now only left with fishmongers as fruits and vegetable vendors had long abandoned their stalls in the building.

These vendors had brought their goods to the corridors of the building, making it difficult for people to pass by as it is now filled with temporary stalls for vendors to sell their goods.

His Majesty said the reason they had abandoned their designated stalls because it was dark, hidden and not enough clean air, making it difficult for them to attract customers.

The building, His Majesty said, is now abandoned, neglected and dirty.

“This continues to persist, where are the authorities? Why has it not been visited?

“How long has this been going on? What are we waiting for?” he said.

The Brunei Times