New regulations enable Planning Authority to impose fines

Azlan Othman

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 has consented for new regulations in the form of the Town and Country Planning (Composition of Offences) Regulations, 2018, under the Town and Country Planning Order, 2015, to be fully implemented on August 1, 2021, said the Ministry of Development (MoD) in a statement.

These regulations will enable the Planning Authority, through the Town and Country Planning Department, to impose compound fines on offences listed under the Town and Country Planning (Composition of Offences) Regulations, 2018.

The total rate of compounds that may be imposed for non-compliance shall not exceed BND500. Among the compoundable offences are using, obstructing or placing goods for sale or setting up any structures in a prohibited area in business premises and enterprises, especially sidewalks, pedestrian areas, car parks, green areas and areas within building lines which affect the safety of the public or surrounding property.

A list of compoundable offences and further details can be obtained at www.mod.gov.bn/tcp.

Meanwhile, 432 compoundable offences, in violation of the Town and Country Planning Order, 2015, were recorded in Brunei-Muara District. These included light enterprise activities without authorisation (97), medium enterprise activities (94), heavy industrial activities (16), additions to buildings without authorisation for business purposes (88), change in the use of a building from the original permit without authorisation (55), and other compoundable offences (82).

Permanent Secretary (Planning, Land Use and Environment) at the Ministry of Development Dr Nor Imtihan binti Haji Abdul Razak. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

Based on profiling work carried out since 2020, which focussed on Brunei-Muara District, it was found that these offences were mainly concentrated in the business and industrial areas.

As a first step in addressing non-compliance and in enforcement of the rules, the Town and Country Planning Department will implement the enforcement roadshow, to be held in phases starting in June.

The main objective of the roadshow is to raise public awareness on the types of compoundable offences, as well as the applicable regulations.

The roadshow programme, which is focussed on “educating the public before enforcing” will be directed towards mukim penghulus and village heads, as well as traders and entrepreneurs, as the main target groups.

The launch of the roadshow programme for the enforcement of the Town and Country Planning (Composition of Offences) Regulations, 2018 – Compound Offences was held at the MoD building yesterday.

In her welcoming remarks, Permanent Secretary (Planning, Land Use and Environment), at the MoD Dr Nor Imtihan binti Haji Abdul Razak underlined the importance of a comprehensive, integrated, consistent and fair approach to enforcement action, which is a critical success factor in strengthening enforcement action and increasing compliance with the Town and Country Planning (Composition of Offenses) Regulations, 2018, regarding compound fines.

This approach is considered relevant and significant, taking into account that efforts to create a more orderly and secure development environment is a shared responsibility between government agencies, the private sector and the public in general, in generating a more progressive, dynamic and empowered ecosystem of economic and social development, in line with the strategic goals of Brunei Vision 2035 in improving the quality of life, as well as a dynamic and sustainable economy.