Bandar Seri Begawan - Those who have been given notice to vacate a government TOL land in the Belait district will be, provided with the proper assistance. This was announced yesterday, as local authorities are taking steps to ensure that the said area is suitable for national development.
Responding to questions posed last week, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office explained during the 9th Legislative Council meeting that the said industrial area along the Duhon River has been scheduled to receive a facelift not just to provide quality services to tenants but to also tackle a more serious issue that places the community at risk.
"Inspections conducted on the area have revealed that it was not properly developed and has had a negative impact on the environment as well as the safety and health of the public," such as the storing of hazardous material such as flammables and the fact that the area has been turned into a dumping ground for used goods.
"The narrow road," continued Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar, "makes it difficult for emergency respondents such as Fire and Rescue and ambulances to gain access to the area should there be a need".
The notice was issued on August 30 last year, he said, and some have been given six months - until the end of March - on a case-by-case basis to leave the area whilst a budget of $5 million has been set aside by the Land Department under the Ministry of Development as compensation and the allocation of another TOL site in Kuala Balai to accommodate those who have been given the notice.
Though such issues are among the forefront of the move to reclaim the TOL area, the minister also pointed out that there have been occupants who utilise the site for non-riverfront activities such as the storing of heavy vehicles that he described as being "non-beneficial" to the country, more so when taking into consideration that the area has been pegged as prime land that is already limited especially for the oil and gas industry.
"Some have rented out their space to other parties and it has also been discovered that some use the space to construct their own private vessels and not for business purposes," he continued.
Sharing his own personal experience following a visit to the site, the minister had also expressed his disappointment at the sites current condition and "because the area is TOL, there is no opportunity for new players to gain access to facilities that can help with the development of their businesses because of the lack of access to the riverfront.
"This issue is not in line with the vision of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's Government that aims to see the growth of local enterprises on an even playing field without the domination of one sector through unfair advantages.
"Taking this into consideration, the Ministry of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office with the Land Department, under the Ministry of Development is currently taking steps to rectify this situation."
Among what is envisioned include the building of basic international standard infrastructure that can be readily accessed by marine related com pal lies that have active contracts for them to carryout projects at low cost perusing even more modern facilities and once those contracts have expired, continued the minister, the site will be put up for rent.
Another government project for the site will come in the form of the Brut lei Maritime Academy that is aimed to produce experienced human resource recognised by the International Maritime Organisation as a means to meet demand that is approximated at 2,000 skilled individuals to fill in roles in the offshore oil and gas sector of which 90 per cent of such roles has been taken up by foreigners.
"It is important for us to possess an industrial site that meets international standards whilst at the same time, providing facilities that is thirty opened to all and it is important for us to make available an environment that is clean and safe not just for industrial workers but for the general public."--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin