Floating restaurant construction in pipeline

|     Aziz Idris     |

AN AMBITIOUS plan to build floating restaurants along the banks of Kampong Sungai Kedayan and the Brunei River, which will overlook the new jewel of the capital – Taman Mahkota Jubli Emas (TMJE) – is in the pipeline.

Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong pointed this out yesterday at the 14th Legislative Council (LegCo) session.

He was responding to a question by LegCo member cum Kampong Limau Manis Village Head YB Haji Mohimin bin Haji Johari @ Jahari on whether the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board, which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has plans to develop a floating or permanent building for restaurants/hawkers to operate.

YB Haji Mohimin views the mushrooming of hawker stalls in the surrounding area of TMJE as a “positive sign” indicating that these hardworking people, particularly those from the lower income groups, are trying to deal with the economic slump.

The hawkers help bring in visitors to the park, especially tourists, he said, before lauding the BSB Municipal Board’s initiative in providing facilities for locals to operate their stalls.

However, constructing a permanent structure for a floating restaurant or stalls “would be more than just a novelty,” he said, adding, “it would also mean providing more facilities for visitors and further beautifying the capital.”

He suggested that open-tenders should be given to construction companies and the private sector to conduct a ‘pilot study’ on the viability of constructing a floating restaurant overlooking TMJE.

The minister welcomed the suggestions.

MoHA, together with the Ministry of Development (MoD) and the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) conducted an initial study and identified Sungai Kedayan and Brunei River to be “feasible” for a floating market.

The minister said that more amenities will be built at TMJE for both visitors and hawkers, and that there are also plans to develop the river banks along Jalan Residency to further complement the 12-hectare riverfront park.