Housing applicants given choice of living in high-rise apartments

National 2 minutes, 46 seconds


PUBLIC housing applicants will be given the choice of living in high-rise apartments or continue to wait for single and detached houses, the Minister of Development said.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman said every applicant in the waiting list can choose one of the two options, as the first apartment blocks at Lambak Kanan/Salambigar are expected to be completed by May next year.

“Those who still prefer single houses may have to remain in the waiting list for a long time; indeed such houses are perceived as better but we are living in a situation where sites for (single houses) may already be limited,” he told reporters during his visit to the site of the first vertical public housing project.

“We need to consider not only the needs of the current population, but also the future generation.

“We have to get used to living in this condition. This is prevalent everywhere, unless if we are prepared to live further away from the capital city areas,” he added.

Muhammad Mansur Najib Dr Hj Mohammad Yussof, the Housing Development Department engineer overseeing the vertical housing project, about 75 per cent of survey respondents liked the design of the apartments.

However, he said the figure derived from public feedback at roadshows was still not enough to convince the government to replace the existing housing scheme with the new high-rise apartment designs.

A 2010 survey for the second BSB Development Master Plan found that 95 per cent of poll respondents supported vertical housing with amenities and walkable neighbourhoods.

There will be 10 apartment blocks complete with a multi-storey car park as well as recreational and sports facilities for the first phase of the vertical housing project, a press statement from the Ministry of Development (MoD) said.

Each apartment unit is equipped with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a dining room with a kitchen and a laundry room as well as a storage room.

The apartment blocks will also be built with the “green building concept”, with features that allow tenants to save water and energy.

Costing about $55 million, the first vertical housing project in Lambak Kanan/Salambigar began last November.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi said prices of the apartments will still be subsidised by the goverment and will not be as expensive as single houses.

“We want to make sure people like the idea, and if it is well-received, we may build more of these units in the future,” he said.

“We have also identified a few areas that are suitable to build these apartment blocks and all of them are here in the capital, while single houses would be built in areas far from the city,” he added.

The minister said if tenants wish to move out from the apartments to larger houses, there may be ways for them to do so.

“This may include selling their unit or change to another housing unit, and this is already part of what we have planned in the long term,” he continued.

However, he also said the ministry would still need to get public feedback on vertical housing before they can decide to continue.

“We hope people will accept it because this is the future style of Bruneian homes with limited land, InsyaAllah,” said the minister.

The Brunei Times