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Vacant buildings discussed at LegCo

Azlan Othman

Out of 5,638 registered government buildings, 594 have been demolished, while 271 are being inspected to see if they should be repaired or demolished.

Of these, 39 per cent of the empty buildings are in the Belait District, 30 per cent in Tutong, 28 per cent in Brunei-Muara and three per cent in Temburong.

Minister of Development Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid shared this at the 19th Legislative Council (LegCo) session on Saturday.

In dealing with issues related to vacant government buildings, the minister said a technical committee has been entrusted to handle the matter.

The committee is jointly chaired by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah and the Minister of Development.

The committee’s objective is to implement effective action plans to find utilitarian values in vacant buildings.

The Public Works Department, as the Secretariat of the committee, also updates the inventory of government buildings registered under the department, the minister said.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda said, “For buildings that are still in good condition, they will be offered to interested agencies.”

Among the vacant government buildings that have been reused is a bungalow in Jalan Berakas used as the WARGAMAS Association headquarters since April 2022.

There are also plans to renovate old buildings, including the former Telbru building at the Old Airport and 10 barrack units on Jalan Paduka Tuan and Jalan Bolkiah in the Belait District under the Public Works Department. The Survey Department and the District Office have been renovated and handed over to the Community Development Department for people in need.

Meanwhile, the technical committee for dealing with government buildings, co-chaired by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew and Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda will continue to work on finding use for vacant government buildings.

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