More houses for masses
By Azlan Othman

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to award more land lots, house keys and land grants to eligible recipients in Brunei-Muara District.

The land titles are under the landless scheme for indigenous people in Kg. Lambak Kiri while house keys are for the landless scheme in Kg. Tungku (Katok 'A'), Kg. Mata-Mata (Katok 'B'), Kg. Rimba, semi-detached houses in Kg. Rimba, houses developed by developers under the landless scheme in Tungku (Katok 'A'), Kg. Rimba and Kg. Madang and land grants under the grant scheme for houses built on temporary occupied land (TOL) in Brunei-Muara District.

The benevolent ruler awarded land and keys to 121 recipients yesterday. The Housing Development Department said from 1984 to 2005, the number of applicants for the landless scheme has reached 18,276. However, the scheme has only allocated 2,755 houses and four land lots until December last year.

Meanwhile, the total number of applicants who are still on the waiting list under the landless scheme till December last year stands at 2,214.

His Majesty presented 16 land lots under the landless scheme in Lambak Kiri and 24 keys to 'E' type houses under a similar scheme in Kg. Tungku (Katok 'A'), 15 'E' type house keys in Kg. Mata-Mata (Katok 'B') and one 'C' type house in Kg. Rimba.

Twenty-seven recipients received keys to semi-detached houses in Kg. Rimba while for houses built by developers under the landless scheme for Tungku (Katok 'A') one recipient received in Kg. Rimba, another one in Kg. Madang and two in Kg. Tungku (Katok 'A'). Another 34 were awarded with land titles under TOL scheme.

The ceremony was held at Kg. Kapok Primary School in Muara where the monarch was greeted upon arrival by Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan; Minister of Development, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Abdullah; Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Dr. Awg Hj Ahmad and other cabinet ministers and senior government officers.

The Brunei-Muara District Officer, Dato Paduka Hj Yussop Bakar, said the awarding of land grants and keys would bring cheer to the citizens after the recent announcement of accelerated increments to lower-ranked officers and staff in the government sector.

He added that the awarding of land grants and keys helps realise the dream of the citizens to own a piece of land and own a house, which is invaluable to them.

The Housing Development Department said it aims to provide basic facilities like housing which is one of the top priorities in the country's development. The award of safe, quality and affordable houses to the citizens comes under the national housing scheme and landless scheme for indigenous people.

After the ceremony, His Majesty toured Kg. Kapok Primary School. It has 23 teachers, 10 school staff and 285 students. Among the facilities available are RELA room to assist weaker students in different subjects, a computer room and a sick bay. Last year, primary six students at the school achieved 87.5% in the PSR examination compared to 66.67% in 2004 and 94.44% in 2003.

His Majesty later visited the residence of acting village head of Kg. Kapok, the Meragang Aquaculture Development Centre, the Seiwa Corp. Sdn Bhd Hatchery Centre and the Youth Development Centre of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

The ruler also toured the TIBA Cooperative filling station in Kg. Salambigar, visited the residence of the village leader of Kg. Sungai Hanching/Salambigar and houses of some of the recipients in Kg. Rimba and Kg. Tungku (Katok 'A').

His Majesty also visited Interline (B) Sdn Bhd and Setia Motors Sdn Bhd, the dealer for Hyundai, at the Beribi II light industrial complex. - Borneo Bulletin (16th August 2006)