His Majesty at National Youth Day celebration
By Lyna Mohamad & Azrol Azmi

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to grace the National Youth Day 2007 yesterday at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah Sports Complex in Berakas. Accompanying His Majesty were HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and HRH Prince Hj 'Abdul 'Azim and other members of the royal family.

Upon their arrival at the Indoor Stadium, His Majesty and other members of the royal family were greeted by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Awg Hj Mohammad bin Hj Daud.

The event began with the recitation of surah al-Fatihah and a doa, followed by a welcoming speech by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in his capacity as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the National Youth Day celebration, entitled "Iltizam Belia Memperkasa Keupayaan Bangsa" (Youth Commitment Empowers Nation's Capabilities).

In the minister's speech, he noted that efforts in collecting information for the Youth Development Index, which measures the achievement of youth programmes, are currently being implemented with the cooperation of parties handling youth affairs.

The efforts need to be executed in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that have been agreed upon at the Commonwealth Youth Ministers' Meeting, he added.

He also disclosed that the Diploma in Youth Development Work programme is currently being carried out by Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) with cooperation from the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP). The programme aims to increase knowledge, capacity and service quality among youth employees.

After His Majesty delivered his titah, the pledge of Youth Oath was read out.

The monarch then consented to watch a showcase of performances presented by youths.

Prior to viewing an exhibition at yesterday's event, His Majesty consented to present various youth awards - Anugerah Pemimpin Belia Berjasa (Meritorious Youth Leader Award), Anugerah Khidmat Belia (Youth Service Award) and Anugerah Persatuan Belia (Youth Association Award) - to 11 recipients.

Leading the list of awardees were Dato Paduka Hj Yaakub Hj Ahmad, Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Raja Dato Seri Paduka Hj Awg Mohd Ali Hj Awg Mohd Daud, Datin Hjh Masni Hj Mohd Ali and Datin Hjh Edah Hj Mohd Noor for the Anugerah Pemimpin Belia Berjasa.

Meanwhile, the recipients of the Anugerah Khidmat Belia were Awg Ahanapi Hj Mahali and Dyg Hjh Hafsah Hj Awg Abd Halim.

His Majesty also consented to present the Anugerah Persatuan Belia to five youth associations, namely Persatuan Melayu Keriam (PESAKA), Persatuan Membasmi Dadah (BASMIDA), Persatuan PERTIWI, Persatuan Tiga Kampong Bersatu (TIBA) and Persatuan Kampong Tanjong Maya (PERTAMA).

Dato Paduka Hj Yaakub was awarded for his strong efforts and activeness as a leader in the youth movement in the Sultanate. To date, as the founder of TIBA Association, he continues to hold the post of TIBA President since 1965. Able to shoulder the leadership responsibilities entrusted to him, he became a mentor to the younger generation.

He is also active in the Brunei Youth Council and was the General Secretary in 1965. During his time with the council, he was also involved in various youth activities at international levels.

An active leader in women's development and youth movement in the country, Datin Hjh Masni holds the post of President of BASMIDA. Under her strong leadership and strong cooperation from its members, the association is able to coordinate and conduct various activities such as counselling and has motivated ex-drug addicts in participating in drug abuse preventive and treatment programmes.

She has successfully introduced BASMIDA internationally through her participation in presenting several working papers related to drug abuse, efforts in involving ex-drug addicts in the field of economy and succeeded in translating a guideline book on "Understanding Drug Addiction from the Islamic Perspective - A Guidebook" into the Malay language that received encouraging response from the Secretary General of the Colombo Plan.

Datin Hjh Edah, another active youth leader, is the founder of and currently the President of BISTARI since 1988, Founding Member of the Women Council of Brunei Darussalam. Between 1984-1987 she was the adviser of BISTARI.

She is also the founder of the AIDS Council Negara Brunei Darussalam and has established 'Kelab Penyinar' under the council that saw the involvement of youths implementing and increasing awareness and knowledge on AIDS activities. As a mentor in various associations, she encourages youths to directly get involved in management of associations, particularly in implementing the objectives of the AIDS Council and 'Kelab Penyinar'.

Another youth mentor is Pehin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Awg Mohd Ali, President of the Scouts Association in Brunei.

A scout member since the age of seven and under his strong leadership and strong cooperation with scout members, the Scouts Association has developed by carrying out scout activities that are beneficial to its members, which comprise of youths. Throughout his period with the association, he has participated in various scouting conferences and jamborees, regionally and internationally.

He was also awarded several medals such as Merit Medal (England) and RAKIS Medal for his deeds on the scout movement.

Dyg Hjh Hafsah, meanwhile, as Chief Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam Girl Guides Association, has actively provided assistance and cooperation in executing youth activities. She also holds an important designation in the girl guides, amongst all, Communication and International Commissioner and is also the Coordinator for the Humanitarian and National Disaster Fund.

Lastly, awardee Awg Ahanapi, President of PESAKA, has been actively involved in organising various youth activities for its members and youth community. He is also committed to various committees such as Board of Directors of Koperasi Kg Keriam and Majlis Perundingan Mukim Keriam Tutong.

Previously the president of BERSATU, an association of ex-participants of the Southeast Asia Youth Ship programme, Awg Ahanapi is currently the Vice President of BERSATU (International Section). Under his leadership, BERSATU is known regionally and internationally. - Borneo Bulletin (2nd August 2007)