| Rokiah Mahmud |
THE Ministry of Development (MoD) has several action plans in place to address the issue of abandoned government buildings.
It has identified around 1,526 units of vacant government buildings such as flats, houses and barracks, including old buildings that need to be repaired and upgraded as well as buildings that can still be occupied, said Minister of Development Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar at the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting.
He was responding to the question from LegCo member Yang Berhormat Siti Rozaimeriyanty binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Abdul Rahman on what actions have been taken by the government to address the issue of abandoned government assets.
“Efforts are being made to align the government housing assistance programme with several relevant government agencies through cost-cutting and cost-effective actions,” the minister said.
“As part of these efforts, the Housing Focus Group (HFC) has been considering suggestions to carry out repair works and handing over the buildings to the relevant agencies through several action plans.”
He pointed out that the first step is to repair and hand over vacant government buildings to the Community Development Department (JAPEM), the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and the District Offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and expedite the provision of housing assistance to those in need.
Examples of such assistance, the minister added, include the handing over of 32 units of flats in Kampong Sungai Akar to JAPEM, and the handing over of 200 units of vacant flats belonging to the government identified under the housing assistance programme to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The latter 200 flats are meant to temporarily house Kampong Ayer residents affected by the Kampong Ayer revitalisation project.
“Some of the vacant units have also been handed over to the MUIB to provide to the poor and destitute to be used as ‘transit shelter’ while they await the completion of their permanent houses, constructed using Zakat (tithe) collections,” the minister pointed out.