More houses for masses
By Azlan Othman, Malik Hashim & Yusrin Junaidi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday presented more house keys and land lots to 85 eligible recipients residing in Perpindahan Lambak Kanan National Housing Scheme and Kg Lumapas 'A' Landless Scheme.

His Majesty presented the house keys and land lots and also visited over a dozen houses of successful recipients, village chiefs of Kg Lupak Luas/ Tarab Bau; Wasan; Kg Mulaut and Kg Jerudong.

The caring monarch also visited local industries including Hikmah Enterprise, specialising in woven fabric; Hua Ho agricultural farm; Tasamul filling station and cooperative; Kg Parit Recreational Park and community hall; Makro Jaya Sdn Bhd departmental store and HSBC in Jerudong before ending his visit with a 'santap'. The ceremony was held at the hall of Sayyidina Umar Al-Khattab Secondary School in Kg Lupas Luas, Mukim Lumapas.

Twelve recipients comprising government officers under division II were awarded land lots. The offer was given way back in 1985 and now extended to civil servants under division III, IV and V. They built their houses utilising government housing loans.

Another 73 recipients received their 'D' type house keys. The benevolent ruler also toured their houses in Jln Kilugus in Kg Lumapas.

The 101.73 sq mt house costs $60,000, has a living and dining room, kitchen, a master bedroom, two bedrooms, a bathroom, veranda and a foyer.

The construction in Jln Kilugus began on July 30, 2005 and was completed on January 29, 2008 at the cost of $6,633,787.75. The project is situated about 23km from the capital and covers an area of 23 hectares. The project is split into two packages.

The Housing Development Department said until December last year, some 6,056 houses and 1,694 land lots have been allocated to National Housing Scheme applicants while under the Landless Scheme, some 3,413 houses have been allocated.

To cope with the increasing demand for houses annually, the Ministry of Development under the Housing Development Department and Development Department of the Public Works Department are planning to build more than 12,000 houses to be completed under the National Housing Scheme and Landless Scheme under the 2007-2012 National Development Plan.

Under the Landless Scheme project of the eighth National Development Plan, over 1,400 land lots and 530 houses have been built, while under the 2007-2012 National Development Plan, 2,263 houses will be built by the Development Department of the Public Works Department.

His Majesty toured the secondary school and viewed several performances by the students including physical exercise, martial arts and army cadets. The $22 million school was built in 1992 and completed a year later. Presently, it has over 120 teaching staff and has more than 1,300 students.

At the house of Kg Mulaut village head, Hj Mohd Jait bin Hitam, His Majesty was briefed on Damuan catchment flood mitigation measures highlighting the objectives of the proposals like isolating the Ban area from Sengkurong and Pilohong rivers so that the site is not affected by upstream flow from Sengkurong and Tampoi rivers; to minimise the impact of tidal ingress on the Ban area; to minimise the impact of ingress of flood water from Damuan river; to provide adequate storage capacity in the Ban area; and a drainage system which discharges directly into Damuan river.

Kg Mulaut and the surrounding Ban areas were badly affected during the recent floods. His Majesty was also briefed on the Damuan catchment flood assessment. The site is extremely prone to flooding.

The key causes of flooding include low-lying ground, fast rate of development in the site which has dramatically decreased the storage capacity and increasing run off, ingress of high tide from Brunei river through Damuan, Sengkurong and Pilohong rivers into the urban drainage network in the area, and flow from upstream Sengkurong and Tampoi rivers entering the area through the urban drainage channels. - Borneo Bulletin (20th Feb 2009)