By Liza Mohd & Kartika Rahman
Thousands of people turned Taman Jubli Perak Kuala Belait into an explosion of colours yesterday morning to pay tribute to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in conjunction with the ruler's 61st birthday this year.
Belait is the third district to host the get-together ceremony where the district's population, citizens, residents and tourists, got the rare opportunity of a handshake with the monarch.
His Majesty arrived at the helipad near the official residence of the Belait District Officer and was greeted upon arrival by Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan, Minister of Home Affairs; Pehin Dato Paduka Awg Haji Dani, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs; Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs; and Belait District Officer Awg Haji Mohammad bin Haji Abd Rahman.
Accompanying His Majesty to the event was His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Azim, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.
Upon arrival at the royal dais, His Majesty was greeted with the National Anthem and later three cheers of 'Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik'. This was followed by a speech delivered by the Belait District Officer Awang Haji Mohammad.
The Belait District Officer hailed His Majesty's visit to Belait District as a historical day and a valuable opportunity looked forward upon by citizens and the population of various groups in the district. The District Officer on behalf of the citizens, residents and government servants in the district also pledged undivided loyalty to His Majesty during his welcoming address.
He noted that under His Majesty's wise rule, the district's population and residents' standard of living continues to increase annually, benefiting from various forms of development, progress and facilities in all aspects such as social, economy, religious, health, communication, education and others, focusing not only on the town or surrounding areas but also remote and isolated parts.
He said this year about 3,000 people were performing at the get-together, comprising people from all levels in the district and this year's performance carries the title "Nostalgia Seni Klasik Silam" or "Classic Nostalgic Arts of Yesteryear". The performance reflects the beauty of diverse cultures and the strengths of people in Brunei to develop themselves and the nation.
After watching the field performance, His Majesty and the royal entourage mingled with at least 30,000 enthusiastic well-wishers who waited along the tents to deliver birthday greetings to the monarch.
His Majesty also viewed an exhibition featuring historical photographs of the district's achievements in propelling the social and economic growth of Brunei in general and further demonstrates the unity of His Majesty's subjects in the district towards building the future of his beloved country.
The Sultan and members of the royal family then joined government officers, community leaders and other invited guests in a luncheon and received "junjung ziarah" from Belait National Committee members for His Majesty's 61st birthday celebration and invited guests, marking the end of the ceremony.
His Majesty's presence at the get-together ceremony in Belait yesterday marked the ruler's undivided attention, care and affection towards the population and residents in the district. Today, Brunei-Muara District is set to host the get-together ceremony.
- Borneo Bulletin
(22nd July 2007)