| Aziz Idris |
The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, YB Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof shared this on day eight of the 13th Legislative Council session yesterday.
This was in response to a query by YB Haji Mohimin bin Haji Johari @ Jahari, Legislative Council member and Village Head of Kampong Limau Manis, regarding the status of the Brunei’s national museum.
The museum – the largest in the country – has been closed since January 28, 2014.
The minister noted that the termite outbreak has spread to all five galleries of the museum, affecting the electrical wiring and air-conditioning system of the building, further acknowledging that the closure has caused disappointment among visitors.
“The Brunei Museum in Kota Batu is closed indefinitely to the public. Repair works will take a long period of time while our maintenance team devises ways to solve the problem,” he added. A key issue currently faced by the Museums Department is insufficient funds for the unpredictable and high-cost of repair and replacement works.
A similar question was raised to the minister during the 12th LegCo session last year, in which the minister was quoted as saying, “The renovation and repair works are estimated to take almost five years, taking into account additions and improvements to the museum’s buildings and galleries.”
The minister suggested members of the public, particularly tourists, to visit the other galleries along Jalan Kota Batu such as the Brunei Darussalam Maritime Museum, Malay Technology Museum and Kota Batu Archaeological Park in the meantime.
Upgrading and renovation works on new and existing museums have also been made by the ministry, including the recently opened Belait District Museum. The museum is a valuable addition and an interesting alternative to other tourist attractions in the district, such as the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre, Labi longhouses and Pekan Seria.
The five galleries housed within the four-decades-old Brunei Museum are the Brunei Darussalam Archaeology and History Gallery, which covers the history of Brunei Darussalam beginning from prehistoric times up till Brunei’s independence in 1984; the Art Exhibition (Brunei culture) Gallery; the Oil and Gas Discovery Gallery; the Islamic Art Gallery; and the Brunei Shipwreck Gallery which exhibits artefacts from China, Thailand and Vietnam discovered in 1997 from a shipwreck off the coast of Brunei Darussalam.