Plan to privatise construction of Sg Pandaruan bridge


AUTHORITIES are planning to privatise the construction of the much-awaited bridge that will connect Limbang and Temburong, it was disclosed at the seventh session of the State Legislative Council (LegCo) yesterday.

Temburong district representative to the council, Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad questioned the progress of the proposal to build the bridge, which has become a recurring issue in the LegCo sittings and a long-standing topic of concern for both Brunei and Malaysia.

At presently, those travelling byland routes have to use a ferry to cross the Sungai Pandaruan, which separates Limbang and Temburong.

Hj Sulaiman explained that travel often stalled in times of flooding and traffic congestion, to the extent that motorists have queued for as long as "three to four hours" to wait their turn to cross the river for a distance of about 20 metres.

Addressing the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Temburong representative asked when the bridge will be built.

"This matter has been discussed with Malaysia, and it has been agreed in principle, (for the bridge) to be constructed and carried out by the private sector," answered Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng.

"So in general, there are no problems for this matter to be implemented.

But I believe this matter will be negotiated and carried out by the relevant agencies."

Meanwhile, Development Minister Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar told the LegCo that a committee has been established within the Brunei government to see how the bridge can be built as a public-private partnership (PPP).

When these issues have been identified, the matter will be discussed again with Malaysian counterparts, he said.

"After that, InsyaAllah, it is hoped a tender will be offered to list the conditions of the duration of concession and other matters necessary to ensure this bridge will be carried out well and meet the public's needs," the minister added.

The construction of the bridge was also related with the demarcation of previously disputed borders between Brunei and Malaysia.

On March 16, 2009, Letters of Exchange were signed here by the leaders of the two countries, to see the land border issues resolved on the basis of five existing historical agreements between the governments, and where appropriate on the "watershed" principle.

A technical committee has also been established to formulate the terms of reference, which will allow both sides to start survey and demarcation work.

"I am pleased to announce that recently, on February 24 and 25 (2011), the technical committee has convened in Bandar Seri Begawan and it looks like the process to resolve this matter has commenced," Pehin Dato Lim added.

The Brunei Times

  Stories in Video