Crown Prince awards Aceh volunteers
By Lyna Mohamad

His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Pg Muda Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah yesterday consented to award certificates of appreciation to many volunteers of the Tsunami Aid for Aceh project, during a special ceremony held at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

Accompanying the Crown Prince to the 'Thanksgiving and Appreciation Ceremony for Volunteers and Donors of the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation Humanitarian Aid Initiative for Aceh Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster Victims' was His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik.

Among the 266 recipients of the certificate of appreciation were Borneo Bulletin journalist MK Anwar and Media Permata reporter Yusri Hj Tuah.

Prior to the certificate presentation, the Crown Prince delivered a speech in which he highlighted the encouraging response and efforts undertaken by various organisations towards aid collection.

The Crown Prince noted that such actions were indicative of the honourable attitude of the community and nation, which deserves to be maintained and developed.

The Crown Prince also highlighted the Aceh mission which has provided valuable experience in the building of minds, planning, coordination and implementation.

His Royal Highness expressed hope that such experience will benefit the foundation - in expanding the voluntary spirit - as there are challenges that lie ahead.

The Crown Prince believes the foundation will make efforts to hold strategic cooperation with the community as well as government and non-government agencies in the country.

Organised by the foundation, the thanksgiving ceremony was held to mark the completion of Phase 1 of the initiative. This involved the ferrying of medical teams and distribution of aid items to victims, between Jan 14 and Feb 7.

The event also served as an appreciation ceremony for the volunteers who contributed their services and played a role in rendering the mission a success. Among them were medical personnel from both the Ministry of Health and Royal Brunei Armed Forces, other RBAF personnel, several personnel from the foundation as well as RBA, registered volunteers and media personnel.

Appreciation was also extended to the donors who have generously contributed in the form of funds and materials.

To date the foundation has collected B$770,879.88, part of which has already been used to finance Phase 1 of the initiative. The remainder will be used to fund Phase 2.

Meanwhile, contributions in the form of materials - such as clothes - have totalled up to 30 tonnes, which have also been distributed to the tsunami victims in Aceh.

The ceremony began with an Al-Fatihah recital, followed by a welcoming speech by Chairman of the Foundation Pehin Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Othman.

The Crown Prince then consented to present the certificates, with Pehin Colonel (L) Dato Paduka Awg Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar from the Ministry of Defence leading the long list of recipients.

Also present at the event were Pengiran-Pengiran Cheteria, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretaries. - Borneo Bulletin