By Zasika Musdi
Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna yesterday presented special achievement awards to eight outstanding women at the Women in Business Forum 2008 in a prestigious ceremony held at the Empire Theatre to commemorate their success in respective fields.
HRH Princess Hjh Masna presented an award to the Honourable Justice Datin Paduka Hjh Hayati Pehin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohd Salleh for being the first woman judge in Brunei.
Datin Paduka Hjh Hayati, who began her legal career with the Attorney General's Chambers as a Deputy Public Prosecutor and Legal Counsel, was the first woman to be appointed Chief Magistrate/Deputy Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, as well as Chief Registrar/Intermediate Court Judge and Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court.
On July 15, 1999, she was awarded the Most Honourable Order of the Crown of Brunei, Second Class (DPMB), which carries the title Datin Paduka.
On Jan 1, 2001, she was also appointed by as a High Court Judge of Bunei's Supreme Court - the first woman and one of the first two Bruneians to be honoured with such an appointment.
She sits in the Court of Appeal and was appointed as Judge Advocate of the RBAF courts-martial in Jan 2006. As a member of various committees, she has also presented numerous papers nationally, regionally and internationally, on issues affecting women and youths.
Datin Paduka Hjh Misli Hj Awang was awarded for being the first woman permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education from 1997 and 1999. Datin Hjh Misli started her teaching career as a lecturer in Mathematics.
Throughout her 30-year career, she has held various positions under various departments at the Ministry of Education, such as the Head of Planning Unit at the Department of Education, Director of Examination, Director of Planning under Research and Development, Director of the Department of Schools and Special Duties Officer.
She has notably received five honourable medals, and takes active involvements in NGOS, such as Bistari, Pertiwi, Brunei Women's Council and the Special Education Council.
Datin Paduka Hjh Azizah Panglima Asgar Dato Paduka Hj Abdullah was presented an award for being the first woman Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1997.
At 25, Datin Hjh Azizah assumed her career as a secondary teacher at SOAS College, then later as the Principal of STPRI in 1975, before becoming Assistant Director of Education at the ministry in 1984 after completing her Masters in Education at Birmingham University in 1981.
She made history when she was promoted as UBD's Deputy Vice Chancellor in 1997. In 1994, she made an even greater leap when she assumed her role as the Director General of Education at the Ministry of Education before being appointed as its Permanent Secretary.
She was appointed as a member of Brunei Darussalam's Public Service Commission in 2003 and holds the position until today.
She has also been the President of Brunei Darussalam Special Education Association since 1997, and is a member of various associations that include the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Brunei Malay Teachers Association.
Datin Paduka Dr Hjh Intan was awarded for being Brunei's first female doctor. She has been serving the Ministry of Health since 1981, and one of her most prominent achievements was being the first local Malay female medical doctor and the first female Head of Department at the Ministry of Health. She is also the recipient of a number of honorary state medals.
Lt Col Hjh Hasimah Hj Abu Bakar, Deputy Commandment of Support and Services as the Ministry of Defence, was awarded for being the first female high-ranking officer in the military.
She enlisted in the military in 1984 as a recruit at 20 and was appointed as Captain in 1992 and a Major in 1995 after holding the Second Lieutenant and Lieutenant positions.
In recognition of her dedication and leadership qualities, Hjh Hasimah was awarded the title of Lieutenant Colonel in 2006, making her the first woman in Brunei to be conferred such a rank in the military.
Hjh Rosmawatty Hj Abd Momin was awarded for being the first female to hold a Director position at Brunei Shell Petroleum. She joined BSP in Nov 1992, has worked both onshore and offshore to improve the production developments of oil and gas, and has progressed through BSP by holding various senior technical positions -one of which was the notable Asset Manager of the West Unit.
She was also one the first Bruneian woman manager to assume this position at BSP and the Shell Group on the Asia-Pacific Region. On May 2 this year, she also became BSP's Asset Director - the first female member to join the ranks of its senior leadership team.
Royal Brunei Airlines' First Officer Sariana Nordin, 32, was awarded for being the first female pilot in Brunei. She started her flight training in 1999 in Parafield Adelaide, Australia, and has about 1,900 hours of flying time under her belt.
She gained her Frozen Airline Transport Pilot License/Commercial Pilots License in 2004 and started flying commer-cially in Liverpool, UK, and the Isle of Man from 2004 to 2006. In Sept 2006, she started on a B767 conversion training with RBA and has been flying the Boeing 767-300 ever since.
Last but not least is Norhayati Abu Bakar, who was awarded for being the first woman explorer in Brunei. Her achievements include being the first Bruneian to travel across 13 countries or 21,000km from Europe, Middle East to North Africa in a 4WD in 1999.
In 2001, she led a team of five Bruneian women to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, thus making them the first Asian women team to successfully climb the world's highest volcanic mountain.
Her latest conquest was a 13-month expedition with her husband in their 4WD across 37 countries, covering over 52,000km from South Africa to Europe, Middle East to Asia and returning to Brunei in May 2008.
She is an entrepreneur who has established DDL Tours Company Sdn Bhd since 1990 and is also the Secretary of Brunei's Women Business Council, as well as the Secretary of Information for Brunei Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Borneo Bulletin
(20th August 2008)