Royal concern on welfare of students
By M K Anwar

A week after a surprise visit to the Pg Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Nursing College, His Majesty yesterday made another unscheduled visit to three educational institutions in the Tutong District. Besides the schools, His Majesty also visited two other government facilities located in the district.

His Majesty first went to the Tutong District Office at about 9am and was greeted upon arrival by the Assistant Tutong District Officer, Awg Wardi bin Hj Mohammad Ali.

His Majesty then proceeded to the Keriam Primary School, located 6km from Pekan Tutong, where His Majesty toured the classes and other facilities. The school was said to have started in 1939 when a temporary structure was built by those living in Kg Keriam using raw materials from the jungle.

Hjh Safiah Dzulkifle, a senior teacher, briefed His Majesty on some of the facilities at the school. His Majesty visited most of the classes, canteen and the main hall of the school and spoke to teachers, staff and students along the way.

From the Keriam Primary School, His Majesty then drove to the Bukit Panggal Primary School. Along the way, His Majesty visited the 'Balai Raya' or Community Hall of Kg Keriam and later inspected the businesses located nearby.

His Majesty's next stop was at the Bukit Panggal Primary School. Here the monarch inspected the classes, surrounding areas and other facilities that are provided for the students.

Later, the Sultan visited the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources' Resource Centre and Standards in Kg Sinaut. The centre was established in 1997 and is aimed at providing facilities and expertise for facilitating the growth of SMEs by providing quality and effective assistance.

Two of the centre's Project Officers briefed His Majesty on the ongoing projects being implemented by the centre. His Majesty toured most of the buildings including the library, multi-purpose hall and labs.

The caring ruler also reminded staff to properly maintain the area especially after discovering that some of the water taps in a lab could not be turned off. His Majesty reminded of the wastage and rise in water bills if it remained unattended.

One of the projects that is currently ongoing at the centre was also visited by His Majesty.

The Sinaut Primary School was next on His Majesty's itinerary. It showed His Majesty's concern on the well being of students in the country. The monarch inspected the conditions at the school and its classes. The school that was established in 1938 has more than 190 students and 34 teaching staff.

A flat meant for teachers located next to the school also caught His Majesty's attention. The Sultan visited the area and found the flat was in a very poor condition. According to teachers, the flat was meant for some of them to stay but in view of its dilapidating condition, no one wanted to live there. They said many would want to stay there if conditions were improved.

The rooms are totally unfit for people to stay. Doors have been vandalised, most of the stairs' guard railings have fallen off and windows have been smashed after the relevant authority seems to have 'forgotten' about the property. The condition of the flat drew questions from His Majesty.

His Majesty then proceeded to the Maraburong Prison. This prison is one of the government projects implemented under the 7th National Development Plan. The keys to the Maraburong Prison were officially handed over to the Prison Department in August 2001.

Inmates at this prison are mainly drug offenders, criminals and immigration offenders. Maraburong is the country's second prison, which boasts modern and high-tech facilities.

His Majesty toured the prison including cells and dormitory. The Acting Officer in Charge of Maraburong Prison, Aliakbar bin Hj Ludin, briefed His Majesty.

The final stop of His Majesty was the Prison Department Housing Flat in Kg Kupang where the monarch toured the flats provided for staff and officers of the Prison Department. - Borneo Bulletin (14th Apr 2005)