Fire victims get financial aid


A TOTAL of $24, 200 was donated by His Majesty's government through the Community Development Department yesterday, to seven individuals whose houses were affected by fire outbreaks at various areas earlier this year.

Present to hand over the financial aid was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah, at an event held at the ministry.

"This is the policy of His Majesty's government, where there is an allocation of funds to help people in dire need and who are suffering from mishaps such as fire incidents," he told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the handover ceremony.

The minister said the ministry is always willing to provide the fire victims a place to stay while they undertake repair works at their respective houses.

"We have already offered them a place to stay, but they all said they are comfortable to stay with their relatives," he said.

Pehin Dato Hj Hazair added he was pleased that they chose to stay with their families and encouraged that as it promoted a "close-knit society."

"This is a good example where we are a close society, and that relations of families are still very cordial and harmonious. This is what we are talking about when we say filial piety," he said.

However, the minister emphasised that although the government was encouraging filial piety, they were also ready to assist such victims if they needed it. "The government is always ready to help if there was a need to intervene. This does not mean we are 'hands-off'."

Pehin Dato Hj Hazair also urged non-government organisations (NGOs) and the private sector to help people in need.

"I have been telling my officers not to stop helping within our jurisdiction, but look to the NGOs and the private sector. We should not stop helping people and try to get them out of hardships. I am very moved and encouraged that many participants in the private sector and NGOs have come to me and offered help where necessary. This is how our people in Brunei are very caring, mindful and ready to help".

Hj Yusof Samsudin, 77, was one of the fire victims' whose house was destroyed on March 8 at Kg Setia 'B'.

After receiving $8, 800 from the ministry, he said that he was "very happy" as without the aid, it would take him a long time to start repair works. "I do not have any clothes left because of the fire, and what I am wearing today is all the clothes I have," he said and thanked His Majesty's government. The Brunei Times

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