Royalty at Yayasan Raya celebration
By Za'im Zaini & Lyna Mohamad

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to attend the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation Hari Raya celebration at the Plenary Hall of ICC, Berakas.

Accompanying His Majesty 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 and HRH Prince Abdul Malik.

His Majesty and the royal entourage were greeted upon arrival by Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Awg Hj Mohd Zain Haji Serudin, Minister of Religious Affairs; Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Awg Hj Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Othman, Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs cum Chairman of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Board of Directors and Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, State Mufti.

The event began with the recital of doa selamat by the State Mufti.

This was followed by a welcoming remark from the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs cum Chairman of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Board of Directors, who said, "This year's Hari Raya celebration sees participation from successful people that are considered to be achievers in certain fields, which comprise locals that have received awards and appreciation for their successful achievements."

The foundation also showcased participants from non-government agencies that are characterised as the grass root association that acclaims to have contributed to the public through their social services.

The Vice Chancellor of UBD, Dato Paduka Dr Awang Haji Ismail bin Haji Duraman, a representative of the less than 1,000 participants comprising academicians and officers from the higher learning institution and training centres, expressed his gratitude to His Majesty for his presence.

The celebration saw the participation of students from primary to tertiary levels as well as teachers who are selected for their academic, co-curriculum achievement and participation in schools', colleges' and institutions' projects and programmes.

The purpose of choosing scholars as participants this year is to expose them to the aspirations of His Majesty the Sultan on the field of knowledge and education sector with focus on their role and potential in developing the sector for the importance of the nation's future.

Apart from that, the selection of participants shows the foundation's commitment to the importance of knowledge and education, as education is one of the five main objectives for the establishment of the foundation.

This year's Raya celebration was significant because it was also the foundation's 15th Anniversary. It was also more significant to all in the nation as this is the 40th Anniversary of His Majesty's reign.

The foundation has enhanced its ties with a number of higher learning and training institutions as well as scholars in a number of social and educational programmes. Among them is a research on the level of poverty by researchers from UBD a few years ago.

It has also worked with UBD in making the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Memorial Lecture a success. The programme similar to the Sultan's Scholar Scheme is a precise method of appreciating knowledge and stimulating the desire to achieve as well as to have command over knowledge with success.

His Majesty the Sultan has placed the nation in a comfortable position as a member of a responsible international community.

The special traits of His Majesty's leadership in caring for the people is regarded highly by the people in the country and referred to kindly by all outside Brunei. Towards the end of the event, His Majesty and the royal entourage consented to receive greetings from the participants.

His Majesty also posed for group photos with some of the participants. - Borneo Bulletin (24th Oct 2007)