AS BANDAR Seri Begawan (BSB) forges ahead in its development into a Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) centric city, it would be best to consider infrastructural projects that would be beneficial to the residents.
One project would be the installation of a pedestrian bridge that connects Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah and the Kiarong Complex.
There are roughly 200-300 people working and living in and around the Kiarong Complex (Kampong Kiarong itself has a population of 5,556).
Installing the bridge would enable Muslim residents and workers to cross the highway to the mosque to perform their prayers safely and conveniently.
To reach the mosque, people would have to walk across a dangerous highway.
I spoke to a driver who said that he almost got into an accident with one of the workers who tried to cross it.
This reflects a similar concern that was expressed by ‘LT’ and ‘BSB Road User’ in their letters in the opinion page entitled, ‘Why not construct overhead bridge around big roundabout?’ on August 9, 2017 and ‘Make big roundabout safer for pedestrians’ on August 5, 2017, respectively.
On the other hand, many of these workers including locals have expressed how dangerous crossing the highway is and have almost gotten into an accident themselves.
Building the bridge would reduce the chances of these things happening.
HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) matters apply to city development too.
Installing the bridge would also make it convenient for the local Muslim population working and living in the Kiarong Complex area (and its surroundings areas) to perform their Friday or daily prayers at the beautiful mosque.
Instead of using their cars, they can walk and cross to the other side.
This will generally help reduce the traffic jams in and around the mosque during Friday mass prayer for those from the complex.
It will also increase the daily prayer turnout.
By building the bridge, the authorities can introduce Islamic-Brunei centric designs that would complement the design of the mosque.
It could include installing dome-like miniature structures on top of the bridge.
This will enhance the image of the city further making Brunei to the eyes of tourists a truly Islamic nation.
The government can reap economic returns in the form of increased land tax revenue that can be generated from the appreciation of real estate in and around Kiarong Complex as result of the bridge’s installation. This can establish long-term sustainable returns to the country’s treasury someday.
Alternatively, the government can secure sponsors from private companies or private individuals to contribute in financing and building the bridge.
The Muslim population from the area would be most grateful and happy with this idea.
It will be safer and convenient for them to perform their prayers.
The bridge could be named the ‘Sultan Bolkiah the 5th’ bridge symbolising the ‘bridging’ of our glorious historical legacy of the 15th Century to the present moment and well into the future.
This will help passersby to remember the deeds of Sultan Bolkiah the 5th Sultan of Brunei and in turn invigorate the spirit of loyalty and love for His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
I hope this humble suggestion can be taken into consideration.