| Hakim Hayat |
DEMONSTRATING the government’s continuous efforts to ensure ample and comfortable housing and high quality of life for the people, some 954 individuals from the Brunei-Muara District received land lots and house key plaques from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in a ceremony held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.
The recipients comprise 222 individuals receiving land lots under the National Housing Scheme (RPN) in Lambak Kanan, Madang and Rimba as well as the Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme (STKRJ) in Kampong Mata-Mata (Katok ‘B’) and Gadong, while 732 received new cluster and terrace houses under RPN Kampong Meragang, Tanah Jambu, Lugu as well as STKRJ in Kampong Mata-Mata (Katok ‘A’ and Katok ‘B’) and Lugu.
His Majesty was greeted on arrival at the ICC by the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong; Acting Minister of Development, Dato Paduka Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar; and the Acting Brunei-Muara District Officer, Misle bin Haji Abdul Karim.
While expressing gratitude to His Majesty on behalf of all the recipients, the Acting Brunei-Muara District Officer in his welcoming speech said that the event yesterday was a form of gift by His Majesty to the people, to ensure comfort and security and enhance their living standards.
He added that this demonstrates His Majesty’s and the Government of His Majesty’s continuous endeavour towards the welfare of the subjects by providing basic facilities and shelter for residents.
Following the ceremony, His Majesty, who takes keen interest in the progress of the country’s education system, toured three schools as part of the monarch’s itinerary of visits during the day. The monarch visited the Anggerek Desa Primary School in Mukim Berakas ‘A’, and later proceeded to the Mulaut Primary School in Mukim Sengkurong. Apart from the two primary schools, the Sengkurong Sixth Form Centre in Mukim Sengkurong, opened in 2014, was also part of His Majesty’s visit yesterday.
During his visit to the schools, the monarch spent time interacting with students, teachers and staff to learn more on the progress and developments and toured the schools’ facilities and exhibitions displaying both schools’ latest projects and achievements.
His Majesty later visited the residence of the Village Head of Kampong Tanjong Nangka, Haji Lamat bin Nawang, where he took a closer look at the village’s progress and learned more about activities that are being organised under the village’s consultative council.
Kampong Tanjong Nangka is home to over 3,200 residents in 615 houses.
The most anticipated part of His Majesty’s itinerary yesterday was the monarch’s visit to residences of housing scheme recipients in RPN Kampong Lugu to learn more about the newly built houses by speaking to the new housing scheme recipients.
During the visit, recipients whose houses were not in the schedule of His Majesty’s itinerary also had their wishes fulfilled by the caring monarch. His Majesty was seen happily accepting invitations to the houses and walked through the streets under the glaring mid-day sun with his subjects.
According to the Housing Development Department, Ministry of Development (MoD), a total of 1,000 units of cluster houses have been constructed under the RPN Kampong Lugu area and they are built to embrace a green concept, with four units in each block.
Each unit covers an area of 130 square metres with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a dining room and kitchen as well as a garage that can fit two cars.
A site for public amenities including schools, community, recreational and commercial centres have also been provisioned in the area for the convenience of its residents.
The department said in a press statement that in meeting with the housing demand in the country, it is continuously prioritising the construction of more houses under the National Development Plan (NDP) and shared that to ensure sustainable provision, the MoD has established a Housing Focus Group that evaluates new methods by comprehensively reviewing the government’s subsidy policy, requirements for applicants and also the type of housing to be built by taking into account the availability of state land.
Some of the recent efforts include the implementation of the Data Update for Housing Scheme Applicants (KSPN 2017) that runs until June this year. “This will allow MoD to map and revise existing policies in ensuring that the National Housing Scheme policies are still relevant and can be implemented for the sake of citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam,” the statement said.