People rejoice 40 years of monarchy
By James Kon & Azaraimy HH

As the nation marks forty years of benevolent rule under the Caring Monarch, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam this week, the citizens and the residents expressed their joy and gratitude for the fruits the four decades have borne.

This kingdom which truly is an abode of peace, generousity and care where the Sultan is, indeed, the king of the people (or Sultan Yang Berjiwa Rakyat) is how some of the members of the public responded in their interviews with this newspaper yesterday.

They spoke highly of His Majesty's 40-year reign that saw tremendous development and rapid progress alongside the pouring of generosity and care to the people through a multitude of welfare facilities, free education and health among others, which are unique to the sultanate.

Awang Hussain bin Hj Ibrahim, who works at Brunei Shell in Belait, said for the past 40 years, His Majesty had been a caring monarch who was always comfortable mingling with the Rakyat.

"There is always a friendly smile on his face and looks happy when mingling with his subjects. Our monarch has shown how to be one with his people," he added.

Hussain, who is from Belait, was buttonholed by our reporters at Gadong Ramadhan Market yesterday. He had a spontaneous answer when asked about His Majesty's 40-year reign.

He said, Brunei had much to thank His Majesty for the country's peace and prosperity. During his reign, His Majesty emphasised on development and progress for the sake of the people, for their education, advancement and comfort.

Brunei has achieved rapid modernisation and progress, he said, adding that these are all for the benefit of the people. He said the Sultan has always thought about the people - this is why we see any planned developments are for the future and comfort of the people.

"For several months we have tried to get our roadway that gets affected by torrential rain fixed. Just recently when we asked the officials, they immediately took care of it. So, there are a lot of changes like this in Brunei, thanks to His Majesty's leadership," he said.

He said His Majesty's Titah always touches an issues that affect the people and the working of the government that covers the comforts of the people.

He wished His Majesty continuing good health. Although His Majesty may possibly not know his subjects individually, he has touched everyone's life with his caring leadership, he added.

Hj Ibrahim bin Hj Razak, 66, a fish seller at Pasar Ikan Gadong, told the Bulletin that His Majesty's reign is decidedly different.

"Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah has shown that caring and generosity is his main style while improving the progress and development which was pioneered by his father," he said.

He said under His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei has seen rapid changes in economy, social progress, religious affairs, education development, medical and healthcare expansion, defence, communication and also in mass media.

He said he is thankful for His Majesty especially because the senior citizens, too, are well taken care of under his leadership. He cited the provision of the old age allowance given by the government of His Majesty.

Noraini bte Hj Jaafar, a small scale trader at the Gadong Market, said she loved His Majesty not only because His Majesty had proven himself time and again to be a good leader but had also shown that he is the King of the people and for the people.

Time and again, His Majesty in his Titah always touched on matters that ensure welfare and comforts of the people.

"For the last 40 years of his reign, he had shown that the people are the closest to his heart and for this we love him irrevocably. I wish him good health and pray for another 40 years of golden reign."

Meanwhile, Shirley Liew of Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB was hopeful that His Majesty will continue ruling Brunei Darussalam for many more years to come."

According to this form one student, "His Majesty is a good king and he really look after the people of the country."

She added, "Our Sultan is different from other rulers, because the caring monarch personally looks after the people's welfare through visits and surprise spot checks."

In conjunction with 40th anniversary of His Majesty accession to the throne, she wished His Majesty's continued good health. - Borneo Bulletin (4th Oct 2007)