Brunei Darussalam’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.
His Majesty had envisioned a state whereby every one of his subjects could enjoy access to basic amenities. Since the mid-1970s, the National Housing Programme, through the National Housing Scheme (RPN) and the Landless Indigenous Citizens Housing Scheme – known locally as Skim Tanah Kurnia Rakyat Jati (STKRJ) – has been tending to the housing needs of the nation. STKRJ is administered by the Public Works Department while the RPN is handled by the Housing Development Department of the Ministry of Development.
As Brunei’s population grows, so does its housing needs. The Housing Development 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.
The Public Works Department’s plan for STKRJ allows its residents to purchase the houses at a subsidised cost through monthly payments for a period of 20 to 30 years.
Alongside the Housing Development Department and the Public Works Department is the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB). From 2009 to 2011, the BEDB constructed 2,000 terrace and semi-detached 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. The Government of His Majesty has continuously provided free healthcare for its citizens with government hospitals and healthcare centres peppered throughout the nation. When consulting practitioners, receiving medication or obtaining a complete check-up at any government hospital or healthcare centres, citizens are only required to pay BND1.
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. In the field of 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. The country has six public higher education institutions with Universiti Brunei Darussalam being the oldest and having the largest number of enrolment. There are private higher education institutions throughout the country.
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