Panaga RPN seeks more grassroots reps

National 1 minute, 42 seconds

BELAIT

PANAGA’S National Housing Scheme (RPN) of 2,000 homes is in need of more grassroots representatives after four of the six focal points appointed to the area dropped out.

The Penghulu of Seria, Hj Jamail Hj Linap, is encouraging interested residents to come forward to the Mukim Consultative Council (MPM) to help discharge some of the MPM’s duties in assisting residents with their issues and enquiries.

Residents of the housing scheme, referred to as Panaga 2000 by the local community, initially elected six focal points back in December 2014 to represent each of their five roads – Teripas, Kalajiau, Keruak, Parak and Puragam.

Hj Jamail said a number of factors led to focal points dropping out. Some moved out of the area while others felt the post was too burdensome and lost interest.

Hj Hassan Tuah and Zaleha Lahap are the remaining focal points whose duties involve conducting neighbourhood watch patrols with the police and recording the issues of residents to be forwarded to Seria’s MPM.

“We need more willing residents to come forward to assist the two focal points. However, if residents are interested in being focal points, the MPM will have to call for an election for the community to vote them in,” said the penghulu.

Despite having a population that at least meets, if not exceeds, the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MoHA) existing guidelines for villages in Brunei to have 3,000 to 5,000 residents, Panaga 2000 has struggled to come up with a qualified village head candidate, effectively preventing the formation of a consultative committee to oversee the area.

Part of the reason behind the lack of qualified candidates is the stricter academic requirement of two GCE O-Levels for village heads imposed by the Service Scheme for Penghulu and Ketua Kampung 2013 approved last May by the previous MoHA minister.

According to the Belait District Office, two out of the three recent applicants for RPN Panaga failed on academic grounds while the third candidate didn’t fit the prescribed age bracket of 45 to 55 for village heads seeking their first term.

The Brunei Times