I AM writing to express my views on the Skim Perumahan Negara Brunei Darussalam (National Housing Scheme). As a Brunei citizen, I am very grateful that His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam grants his subjects houses under the National Housing Scheme .
My spouse and I had applied to the housing scheme in the Belait District right after our marriage and at that time we opted for land so we could build our dream house. Unfortunately, the granting of land has been stopped nationwide and is now replaced with houses.
So everyone doesn’t have a choice, as the Perumahan Negara (Housing Development Department) has standardised the design of the houses, ie mostly terrace houses. Regardless of the salary scales, whether you earn B$1,000 per month or B$5,000 per month or if you have one child or five children, you have to live in terrace houses.
I was wondering why the relevant authority has not considered building different types and sizes of terrace houses that would suit the family income? For example, if a husband and wife are government servants and both earn B$7,000 per month, they would not mind paying a little extra for a bigger terrace house.
Why has the government done away with the previous housing scheme system? There were different types of houses, from “A” class for big income families all the way to “E” class for lower income families.
I also want to mention here about the abandonment of the Lot-Lot Tanah in Perumahan Pandan and Lumut. We have physically counted more than 40 pieces of land being left vacant for many years. Based on the stories that we have heard, most of these owners do not have the budget to build their houses as it is very costly to do so. Some have even retired from their work. What is the government going to do with these land?
We went to the Perumahan Negara and what we were told by an officer was they could not do anything about it as the process was complicated. The younger generation is an educated lot and earning a higher income than the previous generation. Building a house should not be a problem anymore. Maybe the government could consider revoking the ownership of these vacant land owners and replace them with terrace houses instead. At least they have a place to live.
In addition to that, local estate agents and developers have taken full advantage of the current housing situation. They know that the housing scheme is unfavourable to some from the younger generation, so the developers are now offering bigger and better looking houses than the National Housing Scheme but at very high costs. That is their strategy, to gain as much profit as they can by digging deep into our pockets.
I really hope the relevant government agencies will look into the situation and have some control in place against these developers.
– Loyal Citizen