Sunday, March 13, 2011

Plans to make Kg Ayer as world cultural and natural heritage

By Azlan Othman

To further maintain and strengthen the national treasures, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports through the Museums Department plans to register Kg Ayer as a world cultural and natural heritage with Unesco and strives to rectify to the convention for Brunei to get expert's assistance to make it World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

This matter has been discussed with Attorney General's Chambers and presented to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

This was revealed by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah when responding to YB Dato Paduka Awg Hj Idris bin Hj Abas queries on steps taken by the ministry to enhance Kg Ayer in the international arena.

The legacy of the memorial park found in Temburong to commemorate the struggle of locals who fought in the 1962 rebellion was also highlighted. YB Awg Hj Sulaiman bin Hj Ahad asked which department is responsible to maintain it. The minister in his reply, said such memorial park in Temburong is gazetted under historical artefacts and the treasures under the supervision of the Museums Department. It has been upgraded and improved and is now located near the boat wharf in Bangar.

YB Awg Hj Bakar bin Mansor asked whether any studies would be made on the Wasai found in this country and also asked to revive the legacy of Lela Menchanai in Kg Ayer.

The minister said it has also been taken into consideration by the History Centre and the Museums Department, adding that the historical studies are implemented based on genuine facts. Some legendary stories are not supported with facts but the Museums Department and History Centre welcome feedback from the public.

Meanwhile, YB Awg Hj Mohd Shafiee bin Ahmad asked whether any steps were taken to revive the legendary Kuala Balai, which used to be the administrative centre in the early days.

Touching on the ministry's plan to introduce a reviewed Youth Act, there is no plan to do so, the minister said, highlighting on several laws currently put in place due to global issues affecting youths in relation to development, education, abuse, exploitation, health and protection. We have a youth policy outlining the way forward.

Meanwhile, the speaker said we should not wait for another year for respective ministers to answer the queries. The Legislative Council will forward the unanswered queries to them and the departments should also answer the queries during the current session.

On issues relating to poverty with 5,472 households being categorised as poor and needy were raised by several Legislative Council members again yesterday. The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports said attention is given to teenagers and youths who are categorised as poor and needy.

From the studies, it was found that something must be done in a practical manner to free these people from poverty such as giving them education. We would not just give financial assistance but help improve their environment in order to be free from poverty. The Ministry of Education opted for a way to tackle it in an integrated manner, by allocating them to school hostels. It would give them a better and conducive environment.

YB Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Awg Goh King Chin, among others asked about the percentage of household members that are above 50, 40, 30 and 20 years old and living in poverty.

On the need to give allowance for social workers as raised by YB Hj Mohd Shafiee bin Ahmad, the Minister said we must take into account the budget but claimed he has not heard any social workers asking for allowance. However, the matter will be analysed if needed.

Social workers are taken because we encourage youths to carry out community works. Their presence could be seen during disasters like floods where many youths come forward to conduct welfare works. If there is a need to add more social workers, we could do through other agencies like the village institution.

Touching on the issue on Youth Development Centre, the ministry is thinking about widening the course and expanding the target. The ministry plans to enhance the capacity building by providing training to youths to improve their status.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

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