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MEDIA CONTENT EXCHANGE >> Media Content Exchange >> Information Department, Brunei Darussalam >> Media Content Exchange 2015
Dermaga Diraja Bandar Seri Begawan - Historical to recreational value

2 March 2015
Historical findings suggest that Brunei Kingdom began more than 1,500 years ago, pre-dating Islam. Its earliest existence was believed to be a tributary province of Java-based Majapahit Empire. After the disintegration of the Majapahit Empire, Brunei ruler took charge of their own territorial responsibility.

Ancient Chinese texts referred Brunei to as either Puni or Poli and documented interactions with the Chinese Empire in the years 518, 523, 616, 669, 977, 1279 and 1369-1643 AD. Brunei is also written in the account of the Italian, Antonio Pigafetta (the First Voyage around the World - July 1521) which he stated that the city is entirely built in salt water, except the houses of the king and certain chiefs.

In earlier year, it was also stated that river also provided tax revenue for the Sultanate as large proportion of the Borneo natives lived either inland or downstream, the used the rivers as the main way of communication among themselves and with the outside world.

Until the mid-19th century, Brunei still played the role of first mart in the East for China-Malayan commerce. Every mouth of a Brunei feudal river served as an outlet for jungle produce going upriver of Borneo; and the Malays waiting at the river mouths would purchase the produce from the natives whose business was to gather the produce from the jungle.

The legacy of river as gate for communication is still can be seen with the existence of the Dermaga Diraja Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB). The wharf located at the side of Brunei River had its own personal historical pieces as it was the unloading area for basic necessities.

Realising the historical value of the site, the Government made a facelift to the 1.8 hectares wharf site. The inauguration of the Dermaga Diraja BSB on May 28, 2011 had marked another milestone in the country.

The grand launching of the wharf new-look which named as Waterfront BSB was officiated His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, The Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Ministers Office.

Dermaga Diraja BSB with its facilities signifies the citizens social support for achieving quality life, in line with the nations Vision 2013 (Wawasan Negara 2035) in the aspect of universal access to important public facilities, said Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin in his remarks at the ceremony.

He also welcomes and encourages all agencies; government, private and non-government organisations (NGOs) to utilise the wharf for appropriate activities in dynamic communities contact.

The facelift among other includes the installation of fancy-decorated fences, tiles and building of two mini restaurants, public restrooms and car parks.

Later on January 1, 2013, with consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah, The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Ministry of Home Affairs announced the change in the name of Waterfront BSB to Dermaga Diraja BSB effective from the same date.

Dermaga Diraja BSB has a wide range of history as the Dermaga Kastam dan Eksais Diraja (Royal Custom and Excise Wharf) such as the departure of the late Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien for the Holy Land of Mecca for Haj Pilgrimage in 1951.

The royal wharf also recorded numbers of momentous history like the traditional boat race locally called Berjanuari which was participated by the late Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien.

With the opening of the newly renovated royal wharf, the traditional boat race or Berjanuari was brought backed to life in 2012. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah, The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah had personally participated in one of the categories.

The wharf as the main point of arrival and departure through sea had also received the arrival and departure of members of the royal family and dignitaries including Duchess of Kent, Brunei Darussalam Haj congregation and as port for passengers and import and export of goods.

The historical value of the Dermaga Diraja BSB is further highlighted with the presence of the old Customs which believed had been built in the 1950s. The customs is one of the protected buildings under the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act (Ancient Monuments and Historical Site) Order. The old Customs building not only serve as one of the attraction for the area but also as exhibition venue. Various exhibitions had been held at the building from historical to arts.

The royal wharf area is also become one of the favourite areas for the public and private and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to held recreational activities and expo.

After walking along the wharf, visitors can stopped-by at the two mini restaurants that served various menus and enjoy beautiful scenery of the water village.

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