A beacon of Bandar’s revitalisation

|     Rokiah Mahmud     |

THE Sungai Kedayan Eco-Corridor, now known as Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas, was a project carried out under the 10th National Development Plan (RKN10) driven by His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office as Chairman of the National Development Plan Executive Committee.

The project runs along the Sungai Kedayan river mouth near the famous Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Istana Darussalam, and Edinburgh Bridge. The Eco-Corridor is located on old Kampong Ayer sites around the mosque area.

The development is envisioned to be an iconic city identity, acting as a beacon for the prominent waterfront area which promotes the nation’s Malay Islamic Monarchy cultural heritage. At the same time, it also carries the objectives of regenerating Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas, promoting a healthy lifestyle for the public, improving connectivity both on land and water, and providing a platform for future economic generation development.

The Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas sits over the previously-resided suburb of Mukim Sungai Kedayan – which consists of eight villages including Kampong Bukit Salat, Kampong Kuala Peminyak, Kampong Pemancha Lama, Kampong Sumbiling Lama (Ayer), Kampong Sungai Kedayan ‘A’ and ‘B’, Kampong Ujong Tanjong, Kampong Ujong Bukit and
Kampong Limbongan.

Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas. – PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR & ROKIAH MAHMUD

At the start of the project, 168 Kampong Ayer houses and 563 household residents had to be transferred to the new housing scheme settlement in the Kampong Ayer and on land provided by the government. These housing scheme areas include Kampong Mengkubau, Kampong Meragang, Kampong Katok and Kampong Tanah Jambu.

The Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas is stretched over 12 hectares, with the development’s centrepiece being the 130m-diameter landscaped area next to Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque. A series of patterned lighting spheres, flower beds embroidered with distinguished baobab trees, rainbow tress and other local and imported trees create a vibrant and dynamic environment for the whole park. The park will be the Eco-Corridor’s main open area for the public to enjoy recreational activities.

There is a historical wall located within the park area, reflecting the transformation and journey of Bandar Seri Begawan from its historical heritage lifestyle to the present-day modernity.

Along the wall there is also a landmark wall inscribed with the name of the park. The design silhouette is based on the landmark of Brunei Darussalam. On the other side the legacy of the current Sultan of Brunei is reflected, while the outer side of the wall is inspired from the Brunei heritage of Kain Tenunan, using the colour of Brunei’s flag.

The design could be seen at a distance and when nearby, the line of the design is based on the craft on the Kain Tenunan itself. On top of the ramp, there are five ‘Demi Masa’ panels that remind Muslims of the five daily prayers and at the same time share knowledge and disseminate some verses from Al-Quran.

The Bulletin spoke to a number of senior citizens to gather their views on the project, specifically regarding the issue of some residents of the Mukim needing to be resettled in new housing scheme areas.

Pengarah Haji Mokti bin Md Salleh, Penghulu of Mukim Tamoi

Penghulu of Mukim Tamoi, Pengarah Haji Mokti bin Md Salleh explained that even though these villages were affected, the residents must be grateful and thankful to the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for providing them comfortable resettlement housing.

“We cannot resist this rapid development experienced by the country; these villages will still exist in our memories and will be passed down for generations in terms of its historical background as well as economic activities that used to be carried out here,” he explained.

Abdul Latif bin Abdul Kadir from Kampong Tamoi Ujong

Abdul Latif bin Abdul Kadir from Kampong Tamoi Ujong relayed to the Bulletin his amazement at the number of people attending His Majesty’s Golden Jubilee get-together. “It truly shows how much the monarch is loved by all levels of society,” he added.

Abdul Latif also advised the young generation to always appreciate history so that the former villages – especially those who used to live there before – which the Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas is now sitting on would not be forgotten.

The Eco-Corridor project is the latest highlight in the country’s development through His Majesty’s five decades of leadership, bringing to the fore historical significance and reviving the cultural atmosphere of Bandar Seri Begawan, while cultivating a healthy
way of life and preserving the natural environment.