By Lyna Mohammad
Foreign heads of states and diplomats have extended their congratulatory messages to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, who turns 60 today.
Among them are the president, prime minister, senior minister and minister mentor of the Republic of Singapore.
President S R Nathan in his congratulatory message wished His Majesty continued good health, happiness and success. He also noted that under His Majesty's able leadership, Brunei Darussalam has enjoyed many years of peace, progress and prosperity.
His Majesty has - through his personal efforts - enabled Brunei to gain international recognition as a responsible and respected member of the international community and also enhanced Brunei's status among South East Asian nations.
"Over the years, under Your Majesty's steadfast leadership, Brunei and Singapore have laid a solid foundation for the growth and consolidation of our bilateral ties. With Your Majesty's encouragement and support there have been numerous high-level visits and institutional exchanges between our two countries."
"This spirit of co-operation in various areas has also extended beyond bilateral relations to working together to enhance our respective interests in regional and international affairs.
"I am confident our two countries will continue to build on these strong foundations to further deepen bilateral ties and the pursuit of our mutual interest in regional and global affairs," the president added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed confidence that the close friendship between the two countries will continue to grow and strengthen in the years ahead.
"Brunei Darussalam and Singapore share a warm and special relationship based on mutual trust, respect and longstanding relationship. We cooperate in diverse fields -such as defence, environment and health - and are exploring new areas of collaboration for mutual benefits."
Also extending congratulatory messages were Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
"This happy milestone gives us a special reason to reflect on and celebrate the many achievements in Brunei Darussalam under Your Majesty's wise and benevolent leadership. Today, Brunei Darussalam enjoys prosperity and stability," noted Senior Minister Goh.
He added that Brunei also enjoys a good international reputation and is widely-recognised as a responsible and valued member of Asean, APEC and the international community.
"I am confident that Brunei Darussalam will continue to prosper and progress under Your Majesty's reign."
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew noted that His Majesty celebrates the special occasion against the backdrop of the many successes enjoyed by the people of Brunei Darussalam under His Majesty's wise leadership.
He also expresses his confidence that the Sultanate will continue to thrive and prosper and that the strong and warm relations between the two countries will continue to strengthen and deepen.
Meanwhile, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung have also sent their congratulatory messages.
In it, they expressed their high appreciation of the great achievements recorded by His Majesty's government and the people of Brunei in the cause of economic development and national construction.
"Brunei's posture and prestige are increasingly raised in the region as well as the world. We are convinced that under Your Majesty's wise rule, Brunei Darussalam will continuously develop prosperously and the Bruneian people will continue to enjoy happiness with each passing day."
They also noted with great satisfaction the fine development of the multi-faceted friendly and cooperative ties between both countries.
"The recent official visit to Vietnam by HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, is a vivid reflection of the fine Vietnam-Brunei relationship, thus contributing to further strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the years to come.
"We believe that Your Majesty will continue to pay attention to and promote the fine existing relationship for the benefit of the people of our two countries, and for the interest of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the entire world as well."
Also extending a congratulatory message to His Majesty was the US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam who was acting on behalf of President George W Bush and the people of the United States of America.
"His Majesty has overseen the development of a warm and mutually productive relationship between the US and Brunei, based on our shared interest in long-term peace, stability and prosperity," said Ambassador Emil Skodon.
"The United States has great respect for the achievements recorded by Brunei Darussalam during His Majesty's reign."
The congratulatory message further stated that it is their hope and expectations that the growing partnership between the two nations will lead to even closer economic, social and political ties in the coming years.
"On the occasion of his 60th birthday, we would like to express our thanks to His Majesty for leading the way when it comes to Brunei's good relations with the US and we wish His Majesty continued health, happiness and long life," he added.
Meanwhile, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Charge d' Affaires Yahya H Al-Qahtani expressed his great appreciation on the progress that has been made in strengthening the much-valued warm and friendly relationship, growing cooperation and deep understanding that have been established between Brunei Darussalam and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
"With deepest respect I would like to present my warmest congratulation to His Majesty on the occasion of His Majesty's 60th royal birthday anniversary. May Allah the Almighty bestow on Your Majesty continued good health, happiness and prosperity.
- Borneo Bulletin
(15th July 2006)