Sultan announces pension rate hike
By M K Anwar & Za'im Zaini

The ceremony to commemorate the revelation of Al-Quran or Nuzul Al-Quran has brought blessings for the people of the country, in particular the elderly as His Majesty's government ensures their welfare is taken care of.

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam announced an increase in the rate of pension given under the Old Age and Disability Act during the function last night.

His Majesty said this in his titah during the ceremony at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

His Majesty was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Religious Affairs.

Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.

In the titah, His Majesty said al-Quran is a revelation from Allah and it contains many teachings and is rich in knowledge.

Allah the Almighty blessed Prophet Adam with knowledge that made him respectable among the angels and later was given the task to become Allah's caliph.

"This is the greatness of knowledge," His Majesty said.

As with Prophet Adam having knowledge so does his generation. "Our children must be knowledgeable because only with knowledge will our lives shine and develop. Those without knowledge just wither away," the monarch said.

Realising the importance of knowledge, His Majesty said, the government has provided different facilities and encourages all to obtain success at the highest level.

"Choose the appropriate field that is suitable based on your talent and abilities," advised His Majesty and added, "Improve the quality with better training and by performing good deeds."

On the holy book, His Majesty said al-Quran is Allah's gift that enlightens everyone. "Those who read, memorise and follow its teachings will be enlightened. And it will come to those who have a clean heart and soul."

For this reason, we as Muslims must have these characteristics, added the ruler.

The participants of the competition, His Majesty said, must have good characteristics and their memorisation will be better if they adhere to the proper way such as eating halal food.

"And most importantly have good intentions," His Majesty added.

This is the pinnacle of all our work. We must not have any bad intentions against anyone even though they may harbour such intentions against us.

"Our religion has asked us to repay bad intentions with goodness with the hope it will cure all things evil," said His Majesty.

If we adhere to this principle, Insyaallah we will be loved by Allah the Almighty as stated in the Quran which says, "Undoubtedly Allah loves those who like to do good deeds."

"We in Brunei have seen the continuing blessings from Allah the Almighty. We have enjoyed this for so long, in the security and prosperity of the nation," said the Sultan.

The monarch said all these are blessings from doing good deeds at all levels, especially among our elders. They are remembered and will continue to be remembered because they have contributed greatly to our nation.

In remembering their services and as a gesture that we are not forgetting them, the Old Pension Scheme has already been introduced.

The country will not feel the pinch in giving out this pension and instead has received the blessings that have strengthened our nation, said the monarch.

Because of this and as a mark of appreciation, His Majesty announced an increase in the rate of Old Pension Scheme and other allowances paid under the Old Age and Disability Act.

This increase has taken effect from October 1, 2006 and further details will be announced in a Prime Minister's Office memo that will be circulated shortly, said His Majesty.

The ceremony last night also saw the presentation of prizes and souvenirs to the participants of the Memorisation of Al-Quran Verses and Selected Surahs Competition held recently. - Borneo Bulletin (10th October 2006)