| Ishan Ibrahim |
STERN action will be taken against recip-ients of national housing schemes who continue to disregard guidelines and regulations that had been “set in stone” by the relevant authorities, warned the Minister of Development.
Speaking at the official launch of World Habitat Day 2014 at the Atrium Hall of The Airport Mall in Berakas yesterday, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman expressed his regret that some recipients of national housing schemes have rented out their houses, while others have sold them off.
In some instances, residents would make further renovations to their houses and in the process of extending, would trespass boundaries (compounds), the minister said, noting that such actions threaten the harmony of the neighbourhood.
“The guidelines and regulations (of the national housing scheme) had already been set in stone by the relevant authorities. However, they are simply ignored,” lamented the minister.
It is also regrettable that there have been instances where additional housings that infringe guidelines and regulations have been constructed, creating slums that will devalue the cost of property, as well as endanger lives in the event of a fire emergency.
The authorities will not take this matter lightly and stern action will be taken against those who continue to ignore the guidelines and regulations, the minister warned.
On the importance of maintaining cleanliness of the surrounding areas of one’s home under the national housing scheme, the minister said this responsibility should fall squarely on the shoulders of the residents themselves.
He lamented over the fact that there are some among the community who show total disregard for their respective neighbourhoods, where they would indiscriminately dump their rubbish.
According to the minister, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has spent billions of dollars to create a housing environment that is well equipped with facilities and utilities for the welfare and well-being of the citizens and residents of this country, and this is reflected in the high ranking of Brunei Darussalam stated in the Human Development Index.
The Department of Housing Development has allocated 20,250 houses for qualified applicants under the National Housing Scheme, he said, adding that His Majesty’s Government through the department will continue to provide more houses for citizens up until 2017 when 1,000 cluster houses and 300 apartments will be constructed.
The Ministry of Development will also be looking to produce more houses through Public-Private-Partnership to lessen the government’s burden, while also providing houses that are sustainable.
All these are in line with His Majesty’s titah, which was delivered on July 15, 2012 to mark His Majesty’s 66th birthday celebration.
The minister further assured that the Ministry of Development through the Department of Housing Development and other relevant agencies under it will continue to elevate and enhance the quality of life at national housing schemes and other housing areas for the welfare of the citizens and residents of this country.
Awang Mohammad Nazri bin Mohammad Yusof, the Acting Director of Housing Development, meanwhile, said the aim of the government in providing comprehensive national housing schemes is to guarantee the welfare, well-being and harmony of the citizens in line with Brunei Vision 2035.
The World Habitat Day 2014 themed “Voices from Slums” was chosen by the United Nations to give an opportunity to residents of slums to share their views and ideas on how to enhance their way of life.
The issue of slums remains an area of concern, and as such, the settlement of humans with adequate, high quality facilities, and comfort are important in solving the problem of slums.
In this context, it can be said that Brunei has been successful in providing comfortable housing for its citizens – which has been highlighted at the week-long housing exhibition at The Airport Mall themed “Future Houses for Citizens”, which introduces new designs for future national housing schemes.
The exhibition, which is ongoing, will end on October 21. It is open from 9am to 9pm.