Significant subsidies have been made for Bruneian residents, especially in the areas of housing, healthcare and education. Until 2022, over 30,000 houses have been constructed under the National Housing Scheme (RPN) and Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme (STKRJ), with over 29,000 having been awarded to recipients. Through the 11th National Development Plan (RKN 11), two projects are being carried out: RPN Kampong Lugu phase 2 and RPN Kampong Tanah Jambu phase 7a. The first project involves 1,000 units of terrace houses and is currently under construction, expected to complete in August 2023. The second project involves 950 units of terrace houses and will begin construction mid-2023, expected to complete by January 2025.
Among the requirements to apply for housing is for applicants to be aged 18 and above. However, applications are also subject to other conditions such as their income. Priority is given to RPN applicants who are married and have dependents. In efforts to reduce total dependence on the government, the Housing Development Department is also exploring alternatives such as analysing alternative financing through public-private partnership or sukuk, a proposal for a developer’s scheme, or the optimisation of abandoned or empty houses.
The National Welfare System (SKN) is a collection of welfare schemes under one system for the public to apply for assistance from various agencies such as the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB), Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and others. A centralised database was built allowing detailed analysis of poverty gap ensuring that assistance is extended to individuals in need.
SKN is open to all citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam. Applications submitted through SKN will be processed by the relevant agencies and further investigation will be conducted to assess if the applicant is eligible to receive assistance.
Announced in May 2022, the National Retirement Scheme (SPK) is a new scheme initiated by the government through the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) and the Employees Trust Fund (TAP). The new scheme will replace TAP and Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP) schemes, aimed at strengthening the social welfare of TAP members at retirement by taking into consideration the economic challenges and other factors. Under SPK, the contribution from employee’s salary will be deposited to member’s account while contributions from employers will be collected under Retirement Account.
In addition to its housing and welfare assistance, Bruneians are also provided with free healthcare. Citizens are only required to pay BND1 when consulting practitioners, receiving medication or obtaining a complete check-up at any government hospital or healthcare centres.
On the education front, the government provides free enrolment to all citizens at government schools nationwide. Students who wish to continue their education also have the opportunity to do so through scholarships either locally or abroad.
Copyright 1993 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook All rights reserved.