By Azlan Othman
Bandar Seri Begawan is all set to come alive with the advent of a 24-hour weekend bazaar along Jalan Sultan.
What is being touted as the longest bazaar in recent times, the 24-hour event is one of the activities planned to reinvigorate the capital, which has been eclipsed by the bustling commercial areas of Gadong and Kiulap.
The bazaar is a result of combined efforts by the Municipal Department, the Malay, Chinese and Indian Chambers of Commerce, Women's Council and businessmen of the Bumiputera Commercial Complex.
"We want to rejuvenate the town area just like in the good old days when the town was the centre of business activities," Hj Nairul Anawar Hj Abd Lahai, Acting Chairman of Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal told the Bulletin yesterday.
"The weekend bazaar will house 88 booths and will operate from 6pm on July 8, till 6pm on July 9. It will stretch along both sides of the road, beginning at the cross junction near HSBC to the junction near Citibank."
Significant preparations are already in place with the construction of a walkway along Jalan Sultan, as well as the installation of new streetlights and new awnings to beautify the façade of old shops.
"It is hoped these efforts will attract the public to come to the capital. Jalan Sultan, as the main road in the capital, has been spruced up with a $50,000-walkway, beginning at the clock tower to Citibank and new streetlights have been erected along Jalan Sultan leading to the Edinburgh bridge in Jalan Tutong," Hj Nairul Anawar said.
He also welcomed retail outlets that wished to operate for longer hours.
"It's up to them if they want to open 24 hours just like food stalls in Jalan Residency next to the Brunei river and De Royalle Café in Jalan Sultan," he added.
"The Taman Haji Sir Omar Ali Saifuddien will be also opened to the public soon in conjunction with the 60th birthday celebration of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
"This will certainly help boost businesses for retail shops around Jalan Sultan. However, the public is no longer able to park their cars along the walkway," Hj Nairul Anawar said, adding that there is also a plan to extend the beautification project through the construction of walkways to other roads around the capital.
Hj Nairul Anawar added that to mark His Majesty's birthday celebration, the stalls or "Pasar Ria" will once again be erected at two venues - Jubilee Park and in front of the Royal Regalia building - from July 15 till August 5.
Speaking on the walkway construction, he said, "We received positive response from members of the public, though some raised the issue of availability of car park areas. We called on them to jointly look after the amenities and not to vandalise it while maintaining cleanliness in the capital."
- Borneo Bulletin
(5th July 2006)