Welcome to my private journal generally on Brunei issues. Any opinions expressed are in my personal capacity. All rights to the articles are reserved.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Housing Woes

Sometimes I feel like kicking and knocking some heads together. Just because you are old, you think you are wise. The other day when we did the rounds after handing the keys, you would think these 'old' people would be grateful to the government. No siree...

Each of those recipients received a house for $41,000. It's a terrace house because Brunei, believe it or not is running out of land. So the land is around 0.12 instead of the old 0.25 acres which the government gave out in Lambak Kanan in 1980s or even the 2 acres that was given out in the 1950s to Bunut. Nevertheless those recipents do not have to pay for all the infrastructure - the water, the electricity, the roads, the sewerage, the road lighting etc which if divided equally would cost each of those recipients about $100,000 each. So the house that those people get is worth $140,000. But they only have to pay the cost of the house and nothing else. And they get 30 years to pay for it which if you work it out is worth almost nothing.

What are the things they complain about? These are real answers. The house is too small. I am retiring next year, who will pay for my house. The government does not provide us with a flagpole or a flag. The government does not cut the grass in front of my house often enough. The government does not clean my longkang. The government does not ...

What do our people want? For the government to spoon feed them? The government has taken care of building the house, take away their sewage, cut their grass and they still complain. My driver pays $500 a month to rent a small house and I can assure you he would like to trade places with those people anytime. And I can assure you I can find another 16,000 people on the list who would give an arm and a leg to receive those houses.