Kampong Ayer, the world renowned unique water village of Brunei Darussalam, will soon have its past glory and socio-economic standing revived while its inhabitants are being assured of a much better quality of life in the days ahead.
Extensive plans in improving the status of this much-loved settlement are now underway and some of which were revealed during the 'Seminar Serantau Kampong Ayer' that opened yesterday in the Capital.
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Paduka Awang Haji Adanan, opening the Seminar on the Water Village at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), said the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is always attentive and fully concerned over the facilities such as infrastructure and housing conditions in Kampong Ayer.
The three-day seminar, bearing the theme, 'Living Heritage: Challenges and Continuity' as a strategy to make Kampong Ayer a national heritage, is organised by the Academy of Brunei Studies, UBD whereby some 13 local as well as overseas speakers are among the 300-odd participants.
A committee on Kampong Ayer Redevelopment Plan was established to outline policies and direct the improvement of basic facilities and rearrangement of housing in a more organised manner, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs added.
This is to ensure a more comfortable and harmonious Kampong Ayer with safer living conditions and at the same time to preserve the traditional way of living with the principle of 'Kekitaan' or togetherness that exists within a village community, he continued.
Pehin Dato Paduka Awang Haji Adanan also expressed his concern on the impact on Kampong Ayer by factors such as the three major fire incidents there, and the introduction of the National Housing Scheme, contributing to a drastic decline of its residents from 35,000 to now 15,000.
He highlighted several issues of concern such as conservation, renovation and planning in the physical, social and cultural, economic, safety, cleanliness and communication aspects.
On safety, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs touched upon the need to tackle the problem of fires, incidences of infants drowning, and anti-social activities like crime, drug abuse and trafficking.
Serious thought should be given to sanitation in Kampong Ayer such as sewerage system and garbage disposal that can tarnish the area, pollute the waters as well as damage the water ecosystem, he said.
Highlighting casualties in boat accidents in Kg. Ayer, he also called on alternatives for a better communication system.
On the physical aspects, the water village's infrastructure needs to be fully or partially reviewed as well as basic amenities.
He also said social and cultural norms could be enhanced as well as cooperation in religious, community and all aspects of living in a nation.
As for the economic aspect, its unique identity should be maintained while Kg. Ayer adapts modern ways. Thus, the Deputy Minister hoped that the issues raised will be food for thought for both locals as well as international intellectuals and presenters taking part in the seminar, to discuss and formulate a positive resolution on Kampong Ayer.
Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin