Sultan at YSHHB Raya ceremony
By Lyna Mohamad & James Kon

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to attend the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation's Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations at the International Convention Centre, Berakas.

Accompanying the Sultan were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.

Also in attendance were Pengiran-Pengiran Cheteria, ministers, deputy ministers, LEGCO members, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries as well as officers from both government and private sectors involved in running the foundation's projects and activities.

With consent from His Majesty, the foundation invited over 1,200 students throughout the country to participate in this year's ceremony, in the hopes of exposing them to events that can promote the spirit of monarchy and sovereignty.

On arrival at the International Convention Centre, His Majesty and other members of the royal family were greeted by chairman of the foundation's board of directors Pehin Dato Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin and other board members.

Meanwhile, State Mufti Pehin Dato Awang Haji Abdul Aziz recited a doa selamat at the Plenary Hall to mark the start of the Raya celebrations, which saw His Majesty deliver a titah.

Earlier, Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin, in his speech, said several social bodies have come forward to establish cooperation with the foundation, and in responding to His Majesty's titah, to take new initiatives in social services, particularly when it comes to assisting the poor and needy.

The ceremony continued with a "santap" for members of the royal family and refreshments for invited guests, while they were entertained by a series of stage performances.

About 150 students took part in the performances including singing, choir and drama, which were made extra special with the participation of the Sultan's granddaughters, YAM Pengiran Anak Raheemah Sanaul Bolkiah and YAM Pengiran Anak Hariisah Widadul Bolqiah.

After the santap, His Majesty and other members of the royal family visited an exhibition, held in conjunction with the Raya ceremony.

Among the displayed items were the ceremony participants' projects and activities as well as the achievements of students from various schools and colleges.

Also taking part in the exhibition were Prince Abdul Mateen, representing Jerudong International School and YAM Pengiran Anak Raheemah Sanaul Bolkiah, representing Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah School.

Other participants including those from Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Tahfiz Al-Quran Institute, Kiarong Religious School, Islamic Education Department, Pengiran Anak Puteri Hafeezah Sururul Bolkiah, Pengiran Anak Puteri Azeemah Nikmatul Bolkiah, and Penanjong Tutong Religious School.

Also displaying their exhibits were schools and colleges that participated in the Brunei Association of Science Education, eXPLOMATHS, Mathematics and Science Olympiad, Robot Technology, Prynsa, Inforama, anti-drugs competitions, Asean Skills competitions, Bridging Minds, Reading Carnival, OCRS, students exchange programmes, and UBD's Involvement Abroad and Sports School.

Uniform bodies such as the Co-Curriculum Education Department, Laksamana College of Business, International Graduate Studies College, Best of ISB, Achievement of Chung Hwa Middle School, Intervention Programme of Volunteers Units of YSHHB, Alat Bantu Mengajar Programme, and Special Olympics Brunei were also among the long list of participants at the exhibition.

Meanwhile, some of the highlights of yesterday's ceremony were the "Junjung Ziarah" and a get-together session between His Majesty and the participants. - Borneo Bulletin (15th Nov 2006)