Many associations and groups established over the years cater to aiding local communities.
They range from village consultative councils to associations formed by volunteers.
One such association is SUTERA. It was initially formed to provide a platform for Kampong Sungai Teraban residents to voice opinions and work as a collective towards the welfare of their community.
“SUTERA stands for Sungai Teraban,” said Haji David bin Haji Kassim, speaking about the association’s humble beginnings.
The association formed in 2011 held activities such as cleaning campaigns and similar events for villagers to participate. Elected as president of the association in 2017, Haji David said he continued to expand the scope of activities the association is organising.
“The most important aspect of SUTERA is taking care of the welfare of the community, the religion, and the nation, which is in line with the mission and vision of the government that we wholeheartedly support to our fullest towards Brunei Vision 2035.”
One such plan SUTERA has in the works is acquiring a building for various associations to use as a centre for collaboration.
“When associations band together, they can collaborate and become an inspiration to each other in many aspects, from promoting local entrepreneurship to extending a helping hand to aid those in need.
“Having such a centre and place can help provide a connection for associations to reach out to the surrounding community and beyond, as well as for the communities themselves to see the efforts made by the association to better support the nation,” said Haji David. He believes the former office for the Department of Co-Curriculum Education’s Kuala Belait branch, at the edge of town, could be repurposed for the venture.
The old building and other similar to it have a rich history dating back to early 1950s and 1960s.
Haji David highlighted how it is of particular interest not only for associations such as SUTERA to rally under, but also serves to further revitalise Pekan Belait to help boost the socio-economics of the district.
While the building needs to be renovated, Haji David is confident it can be a friendly environment for associations to flourish in.
Some of the proposed ideas for the building include a common hall with a store and canteen to promote handmade goods and dishes.
“This can helpfurther develop and support the socio-economics and infrastructure of the Belait District, which is in line with one of the goals of the nation’s Brunei Vision 2035.” He hopes to gain approval from relevant ministries to be able to make the dream of an embassy for associations a reality.
He hopes the centre can also help promote the nation’s culture and products internationally through associations and groups.
It is a long-term investment, said Haji David. “We should aim to further integrate our culture and products into our plans if we are to promote them, not just for a few years before it is all forgotten.”