Sultan presents house keys
Hakim Hayat, Khal Baharulalam, Syafiq Affendy, Izah Azahari & Abdul Hakiim Yaakof

IT WAS a momentous day for the residents of Belait District as His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam met with many of his delighted subjects who are now proud recipients of new houses under the National Housing Scheme.

Part of the ruler’s busy itinerary at the country’s oil district was visits to two schools and the residence of Kampung Lumut I’s Village Head.

After touring several houses and speaking to housing scheme recipients in the Lumut/Sungai Liang area yesterday, the Borneo Bulletin asked the monarch about the new houses.

His Majesty expressed his satisfaction and said he was happy with them.

“The people I have seen so far looked very happy with their houses. It is looking good and there have been improvements,” His Majesty said, adding that there is still room for improvement in future housing schemes.

Earlier in the morning, His Majesty, seen clad in military uniform, consented to formally present house key plaques to 666 recipients under the National Housing Scheme in Lumut/Sungai Liang and Lorong Tengah Seria at Pusat Insani Hall in Seria.

Of the 666 recipients, 584 have been granted with terrace houses under the Lumut/Sungai Liang National Housing Scheme, while under the Lorong Tengah Seria National Housing Scheme, 10 recipients have been awarded semi-detached houses while another 72 recipients were awarded terrace houses.

While thanking His Majesty on behalf of all the recipients, the Belait District Officer, Awang Haji Haris bin Othman, in his welcoming speech said that the gift awarded by His Majesty to the people was to “ensure comfort and security and improve their living standards”.

He added that this demonstrates His Majesty and the Government of His Majesty’s continuous endeavour towards the welfare of the subjects. A ‘Doa Selamat’ was later read by the Belait Syariah Subordinate Court Judge to bless the occasion.

Following the house key plaque presentation ceremony, His Majesty visited Pengiran Anak Puteri Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Secondary School in Kg Sungai Tali, Lumut. The government school opened in May 1994 and currently accommodates 801 students and 101 teaching staff.

After spending almost two hours at the secondary school, His Majesty went to another government school nearby, Sungai Tali Lumut II Primary School in Jalan Balingkawang. The school, which opened in August 2000, currently accommodates 464 students and has 36 teaching staff.

During his visit to both 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 consented to visit several terrace house recipients at Jalan Pakis of the Lumut/Sungai Liang National Housing Scheme including those of Awang Muhammad Nizamuddin bin Muhammad Fadillah, Awang Haji Adiaziziddin bin Hj Mohd Salleh and Awang Abdel Al-Muhaymin bin Haji Abdul Halim.

During the visit to the National Housing Scheme, the recipients whose houses were not in the schedule of His Majesty’s visit 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 180 terrace houses have been built at the National Housing Scheme area. Each terrace house covers an area of 148.2 metre square and is built on a 0.07 acre of land.

His Majesty’s last stop before ending the day’s programme with a luncheon was the residence of Kampung Lumut I Village Head, Yang Berhormat Awang Haji Mohd Shafiee bin Ahmad. At the residence, His Majesty toured an exhibition featuring the village’s products such as local handicrafts, food items and fruits.

According to the Housing Development Department, in meeting with the housing demands of the country, they continuously prioritise the construction of more houses under the 10th National Development Plan (NDP). “We will continuously provide sustainable and affordable housing in line with the NDP’s objective to improve the people’s standard of living.” - Borneo Bulletin (27 November 2013)