The country’s welfare system is administered by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di- Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. Significant subsidies have been made for Bruneian residents, especially in the areas of housing, healthcare and education.
Since the mid-1970s, the National Housing Programme has been tending to the housing needs of the nation through the National Housing Scheme (RPN) and the Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme (STKRJ).
STKRJ is administered by the Public Works Department (JKR). The plan allows residents to purchase houses at a subsidised cost through monthly payments for a period of 20 to 30 years.
The Housing Development Department of the Ministry of Development is responsible for the RPN. The department regularly revises and develops housing policies to efficiently meet the needs of the population while still maintaining feasibility and sustainability in the long run.
Alongside the Housing Development Department and the JKR is the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB). From 2009 to 2011, the BEDB constructed 2,000 terrace and semidetached houses on a 150-hectare plot of land in Kampong Pandan, Kuala Belait. The BEDB was also responsible for two housing projects under the 10th National Development Plan involving 1,400 houses at Kampong Panchor, Mengkubau and 1,500 houses at Kampong Bukit Beruang, Tutong. Both projects reached completion in May 2014 and took four years to accomplish.
In addition to its housing and welfare assistance, the Government of His Majesty also provides 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. In 2015, the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital saw an upgrade to its Women and Children Unit with a new BND69 million building unveiled to better meet demands.
With regards to education, 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.
In 2020, the National Welfare System (SKN) was launched as a collection of a number 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 ensuing that assistance is extended to individuals in need.
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