By Lyna Mohammad
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to lead thousands of participants in Walkathon Emas 60, held in conjunction with the Sultan's upcoming 60th birthday celebration.
Accompanying the monarch yesterday in the walkathon was His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Malik.
Also present were Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials. His Majesty was greeted on arrival by Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Dato Awg Hj Adanan, in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Committee of His Majesty's 60th birthday anniversary celebrations, and other members of the committee.
His Majesty joined a warm-up session before officiating the 3.8-kilometre walkathon, which coursed through Jalan Kg Kianggeh, Jalan Subok and Jalan Residency before ending at the Taman.
His Majesty waved and smiled at people who had lined up along the course of the walkathon.
People from all walks of life throughout the nation came to the capital after the call for Subuh prayers to witness and also to take part in the 'Walkathon Emas 60'.
Some came to the capital early to get parking space while others opted to leave their cars at the Jame 'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah mosque and took a bus ride to the city.
Yesterday's event, held for the first time, involved the participation of not only officers and staff from various government agencies but also from the private sector, individuals as well as senior citizens.
Sixty-three-year-old Hj Rani Metassan who came all the way from Kuala Belait, said the participation of citizens and residents in the walkathon showed the people's support and concern towards healthly activities.
The former teacher said His Majesty is a caring monarch who is concerned about all his subjects regardless of who they are and where they come from.
Another senior citizen, Hj Ariffin Esong from Tutong said he was at the Taman as early as 6am to participate in this walkathon.
He said the walkathon was an opportunity for the citizens and residents throughout the nation to participate in a healthy activity with their beloved monarch.
Another participant from Brunei-Muara District, 70-year-old Hj Bakar Salleh, expressed his appreciation to the organising committee for organising such an event involving pensioners and youth from all four districts.
Such an event, he said, can be an aspiration to the younger generation in making this as a regular activity for a healthy future.
Sixty-six-year-old Aleh Ak Agus also expressed his delight for being able to take part in the walkathon with His Majesty.
Aleh, who lives in Kg Amo B, Temburong, said the ambiance was great and the walk with His Majesty will remain etched in his memory.
- Borneo Bulletin
(3rd July 2006)