Nation flourishes under Sultan's leadership
By Azlan Othman

Religious authorities yesterday underscored the nation's development in the religious, economic, health, education and social fields during the 40-year reign of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. The 40th anniversary of His Majesty's accession to the throne was commemorated yesterday.

"We are thankful to Allah that in the era of globalisation, which is full of competition and turbulence, the sovereignty of the nation continues to be upheld and (the nation) prospers under the guidance of His Majesty, who shows his concern for the well-being, harmony and prosperity of the nation.

"His Majesty emphasises the teachings of Islam and Allah's law in shaping the policies in administration, management and law in accordance with the teachings of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jema'ah.

"Under the leadership of His Majesty, the nation regained its sovereignty, is free from foreign intervention and sets its own direction as a nation. This is the leadership that we have been blessed with by Allah."

The Imams said it is because of the leadership of His Majesty the nation is known throughout the world and respected.

His leadership includes his caring attitude towards the people such as when His Majesty takes a closer look at the progress of ongoing government projects.

"His Majesty ascended to the throne 40 years ago. Since 1967, the nation has achieved various changes to uplift its status and be on par to compete with the developed countries.

"Brunei is known as an Islamic nation that is peaceful with stable politics and a strong economy. It attracts the attention of foreign nations to the way the Islamic affairs have developed in the country, which sets an example to others.

"For example, in the religious field, there were only three religious degree holders in 1967. Today. there are 500 Bruneians who have graduated from higher religious institutions and are working in various sectors.

"In addition, vast educational institutions and secondary schools were built and the education is free, giving the nation one of the highest literacy rates.

"The educational development has been boosted by the establishment of an Islamic institution, Sultan Sharif Ali Islamic University, and the upgrading of the Seri Begawan Religious Teachers College to a college university. In addition, Universiti Brunei Darussalam has produced over 10,728 graduates since its establishment.

"In the field of health, the nation has produced 180 local doctors who are working in both government and private sectors. This uplifts the nation and drives the country forward in the ever-changing world.

"As citizens and residents, we may not be able to pay back all the contributions made by His Majesty. Let us pray and may Allah reward the monarch," the Imams said. - Borneo Bulletin (6th Oct 2007)