68 per cent of applicants already received houses
Siti Hajar

AS THE country’s population steadily increases, the need for more houses has become among the government’s main priority with local authorities looking to accelerate the process of fulfilling requests made by the people to be provided with this basic need.

An initiative that has spanned 60 years that was spearheaded by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Brunei Darussalam’s National Housing Scheme first took shape in 1952 that witnessed the first migration project of Kampong Ayer inhabitants onto land. Since then, the pace to house Bruneians has picked up significantly and the government still has plans to do more.

In his speech yesterday at the opening of the 60th Anniversary of the National Housing Scheme Celebration held in BRIDEX, Jerudong, the Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, stated that a total of 6,258 houses will be made available throughout the Sultanate by the year 2014.

The figure, he said, will bring the total number of applicants who have received homes to 68 per cent since the year 1970 that recorded a total of 37,974 applications, making the total number of houses that have been built since then to 26,158 from 19,900.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office officiated the event.

HRH was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik.

The event began with a mass recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah followed with the Doa Selamat led by Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Awang Haji Yahya bin Haji Ibrahim.

As a symbolic gesture to commemorate the ceremony, HRH the Crown Prince inserted a rectangular plaque into a capsule signifying the Housing Development Department’s (HDD) direction in implementing the Sultanate’s housing programme as a means to intensify the production of homes to meet the country’s needs in line with the country’s Vision 2035 in ensuring that the people’s welfare is continuously secured.

The event was further enlivened with a choir performance entitled ‘Rumahku Syurga Impianku’ that was composed by Pehin Orang Kaya Putra Maharaja Dato Awang Haji Abdul Ghani bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Dewa Dato Paduka Haji Abd Rahim, performed by staff under the department.

During HRH’s first leg of the exhibition tour showcasing the history of the country’s housing scheme along with the latest housing products available in the local and international market, HRH consented to launch the ‘Tiang Sari’ book produced by the HDD especially for the 60th anniversary.

The book, named after the initial foundation that is laid when constructing a home and is synonymous to the department’s national mission, tells the history of the housing scheme dating back to the 1950’s as well as the accomplishments that have been met since then, house designs that have evolved over the years and so on.

To be held over the next four days until Friday, members of the public are encouraged to visit the housing history gallery and interact with exhibitors to obtain a better understanding of the current issues in the government’s housing plans for the people. - Borneo Bulletin (2 April 2013)