Sultan praises father for nation's progress
By M K Anwar

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday lauded the efforts of His Majesty's late father, Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien, in developing the nation.

His Majesty, in a titah to commemorate the 22nd National Day, also touched on the cartoon controversy that insulted the prophet and thanked the people in the country as well as the local media for not getting involved in the row.

His Majesty said that it has been 20 years since Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien passed away and it is therefore fitting that we remember him as a Sultan who was concerned about the future of the nation.

The efforts by Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien to develop the country has no comparisons and they were made without thinking about himself or under any pressure from any parties.

"It worked out smoothly and is a proud achievement.

"Thanks to Allah, we have taken many examples from the late Al-Marhum and this has made us more established and allowed us to enjoy the (fruits of) hard work and long struggle," the Sultan added.

"The path towards generating prosperity must be continued," His Majesty advised.

It is not an easy path but one that requires the resources as well as a strong mind to make us ready to face other obstacles, said the monarch.

His Majesty said that among the obstacles is the possibility of the lack of resources.

The ruler added that in the world today, most of the people solely depend on oil and gas resources even though this is a limited resource with possibilities of it running out in the future.

In this sense, the world will face a shortage of this natural resource, which undoubtedly will affect many.

"Isn't this going to be a big catastrophe when it happens?" His Majesty asked.

It is here that the importance of cooperation and understanding comes in handy, not just when we are happy but also during difficult times, said the ruler.

This happiness can easily be achieved by hard work but disasters cannot be predicted. And for this reason, the idea of establishing a 'World Body' is paramount, said His Majesty.

"Its main aim should be to strengthen relationships among countries and not to cause disputes or separations."

Taking a verse from the Surah Al-Hujurat which reads, "O people! We created you from one man and one woman and made you into branches and tribes that you may recognise one another. Undoubtedly, the most respected among you in the sight of Allah is he who is more pious, verily, Allah is knowing."

The verse teaches humans not to fight, not to insult each other or insult the prophets or messengers of God, said His Majesty and added, undoubtedly insulting prophets and messengers of God, either verbally or in writing, is despicable and should be condemned by all even if someone has reasons like the freedom of speech or press.

"Which is more honorable and important the prophets and messengers of God who have been the saviours or the freedom of speech or press?" asked His Majesty.

"What is in this freedom if it is used to cause pain and chaos around the world?" the monarch asked.

His Majesty appreciated the people in the country as well as the local media for not getting involved in this needless controversy. The monarch expressed his gratitude to the country and the rakyat for continuing to uphold highly civilised characteristics.

With such characteristics, His Majesty noted with confidence, the nation is capable of moving forward on the right path.

His Majesty also pointed out that we also have a role, regionally or internationally, to follow the right approach, make a good effort together and also prevent and reject the undesired.

Before concluding the titah, His Majesty expressed thanks to members of the organising committee as well as other committees for the 22nd National Day celebration, and participants, people in the country including members of the public, private sector and uniformed personnel that have worked hard to make it a successful celebration. - Borneo Bulletin (23rd Feb 2006)