Brunei: Discovery of antiques, treasures must be reported

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) - As all pieces of antiquity or treasures discovered in Brunei Darussalam are the property of the government, anyone who fails to report of the discovery of such items can face the penalty of imprisonment of one year or a fine of $3,000, or both, under Section 37 of the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act.

Under the same law, any person who exports or attempts to export any piece(s) of antiquity or historical object without the export permit or permission from the Director of the Museums Department can face a punishment of one year or a fine of $4,000, or both.

The need to report any discovery of items of antiquity or treasure trove as well as the prohibition of exporting local antiquity or treasure items without permission were some of the issues highlighted during the ‘Antiquities And Treasure Trove Act 1967 Revise Edition 1984, 1991 and 2002’ talk held yesterday in the Brunei-Muara District.

The talk, organised by the Secretariat of the Museum Board, Museums Department, was attended by mukim penghulus and village heads in the Brunei-Muara District, including YB Pengiran Haji Ali bin Pengiran Maon, Penghulu of Mukim Berakas ‘B’ and Acting Village Head of Kampong Sungai Hanching and Kampong Salambigar.

The talk was delivered by Aminah binti Haji Majid, the Acting Deputy Director of Museums and Head of Secretariat of the Museum Board.

Under Section 37 of the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act, any person found to be carrying out business deals with items of antiquity and treasures without the approved business license from the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports can face imprisonment of six months or a fine of $2,000 or both.

Therefore, anyone who has made a discovery of any objects or monuments believed to be of antiquity must immediately inform the penghulu or village head of the mukim or the district officer of the district in which the items were found.

The discovered item(s) must then be delivered to the district officer.

Aminah also shared the four criteria needed to be met for monuments and historical sites to be gazetted under the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Act.

These criteria are as follows: the monument must be older than 50 years; possess historical value; have a unique architectural design; and hold some sort of economic value.

To date, there are 37 monuments and historical sites that have been gazetted, including 29 in the Brunei-Muara District, four in Tutong District, two in Belait District, and two in Temburong District.

In his remarks, Acting Director of Museums Haji Mohamad Jefri bin Haji Sabli urged the mukim penghulus and village heads to work together in disseminating the information given to the residents of their respective administrative areas.