Best Raya gift for subjects
By Liza Mohd

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday presented the best Hari Raya gifts 187 Bruneians could have asked for as the ruler awarded them with cost-effective homes and land grants.

Over 180 fortunate citizens in Belait District were awarded with land grants under the Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) Scheme for Belait District and house keys under the Kampong Lumut/Liang National Housing Scheme by His Majesty in a presentation ceremony at the multi-purpose hall of Liang Lumut Recreational Club.

The ceremony yesterday was a continuation of the presentation of keys, which took place in February this year when the monarch presented 62 keys to recipients under the same housing scheme.

His Majesty was greeted on arrival yesterday by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman; Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi bin Hj Osman and the Belait District Officer Awg Matusin bin Orang Kaya Sura Haji Tuba.

The District Officer in his welcoming speech said a total of 116 citizens are being awarded keys under the Kampong Lumut/Liang National Housing Scheme - 25 are recipients of deluxe type houses while 91 are recipients of standard type houses.

Meanwhile 71 citizens are being awarded land grants under the Temporary Occupation Licence where 32 recipients are residents from Mukim Kuala Belait, five recipients from Mukim Seria, 11 recipients from Mukim Bukit Sawat and five recipients from Mukim Labi in the district.

The awarding of houses and land grants to the citizens are truly blessed as the presentation coincides with the upcoming Ramadhan and Syawal month. This further allows recipients under the housing scheme to spend the Hari Raya celebrations at their new home.

The District Officer concluded that the presence of His Majesty at the awarding ceremony showed the ruler's concern, care and affection towards his subjects.

After the presentation of house keys and land grants, the ruler was brought to visit the houses of five recipients under the housing scheme and four recipients of land grants in Kampong Lumut and Sungai Liang.

At the presentation ceremony yesterday, one of the recipients was 67-year-old Haji Kaderi bin Haji Junaidi who came on his son's behalf to receive the award from His Majesty. He said his son and his dependents have waited for the land grant in Kampong Sungai Teraban for over 10 years.

Despite the long wait, Haji Kaderi and his son expressed appreciation to His Majesty for the award as it gave them the opportunity to own a land and build their home.

"We are aware of the staggering rise in land prices, particularly in Belait District. Therefore we are most grateful to the government for giving us an opportunity to own a piece of land in Kampong Sungai Teraban," said Haji Kaderi.

A total of 2,155 houses are to be built under the Kg Lumut/Sungai Liang National Housing Scheme, which began in the year 2000. Phase Three involves the building of 490 units of basic 120-square-metre detached houses in two designated areas - H7 and H8 - at the site and is slated for completion within two years.

The standard type houses are 145.6 square metre two-storey homes estimated to cost $83,000 each, while the deluxe type houses, also a two-storey structure, has a slightly larger dimension of approximately 151.6 square metres, estimated to cost at $89,000.

The Director General of Public Works Department Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar said the housing area comes with proper infrastructure such as roads, drainage, sewerage and others for the comfort of residents.

When asked about the provision of water to the growing population in the mukim, Haji Suhaimi assured that the residents will have proper and adequate water supply to their area in view of the new Sungai Liang water treatment plant in Kampong Agis-Agis, which is able to channel more than enough water supply to the concerned residents as well as residents within the interior areas of Mukim Labi.

It is understood that incidents of cable theft last year was the reason behind the delay in awarding house keys to some of the identified recipients early this year.

Initially, 177 residents were supposed to receive keys to their new homes early February this year. But the cable theft, which damaged the transformers, disrupted electricity supply to most of the new houses.

Regardless of the setback, the recipients expressed their gratitude to Allah the Almighty and the ruler for providing shelter for their dependents, in addition to spending the Hari Raya celebrations at their new houses.

Under Phase One and Phase Two of the Kg Lumut/Sungai Liang National Housing Scheme, 294 houses were built and a total of 164 land lots granted to eligible citizens.

Phase Three also involves a separate construction of 180 terrace homes in the H9 area, while under Phase Five of the project, a further 824 terrace houses will be constructed at H10, H11 and H12.

Another active housing project in the Belait District involves the construction of 2,000 cost-effective houses near the Kg Mumong roundabout. The B$289-million pilot project run by the BEBD is due for completion sometime in April next year.

In addition, land at Lorong Tiga Selatan Seria and Kampong Mumong has also been cleared for yet another housing development project in the district aimed at reducing the list of applicants waiting for houses in the district. - Borneo Bulletin (10th August 2010)