‘National housing scheme is only for Bruneians’

National 1 minute, 39 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Only Brunei citizens are eligible for government-subsidised housing, the development minister said yesterday, adding that the proposal to extend eligibility to permanent residents will be examined by the Housing Focus Group.

“At present, the National Housing Scheme (RPN) is only for the citizens of His Majesty the Sultan, namely those who are holding yellow identity cards,” Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Bahrin Abdullah said during a meeting of the 12th Legislative Council (LegCo).

“Therefore, permanent residents can’t be considered at this time.”

The minister was responding to a question raised by LegCo member YB Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad, who said the rising number of permanent residents in Temburong district were in need of affordable housing.

He added that the national Housing Focus Group would examine the matter further.

The focus group was established recently to tackle the lengthy delays in granting government housing, with the average waiting time around 15 years.

YB Dato Hj Bahrin said the Ministry of Development’s target is to reduce that waiting time to five years.

According to previous reports, the Housing Development Department said there were more than 10,000 housing applicants in Brunei-Muara alone. To date, the government has built more than 27,000 houses for citizens across the country.

With only five per cent of Brunei’s land area available for development, the ministry has said that it will no longer be feasible to develop large swathes of land for housing schemes and that developing land for agricultural and industrial use must be considered as well.

More than half of Brunei’s land area (57 per cent), which contains virgin rainforest, is protected under the Heart of Borneo conservation initiative.

The government is also moving toward high-rise housing, with 2,500 apartment units planned for Lumapas, 420 units in Lambak Kanan and another vertical housing site eyed in Lugu.

The development minister said the Housing Focus Group will come up with appropriate recommendations to meet Brunei’s housing needs, including future design and construction quality.

The Brunei Times