By Liza Mohd
Tens of thousands of people flooded the Kuala Belait Municipal field yesterday morning to pay tribute to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam on the occasion of the ruler's 62nd birthday yesterday morning.
Belait is the second district to host the get-together ceremony where Belait rakyat, residents and tourists got the opportunity of a rare handshake with the monarch and the royal entourage
His Majesty arrived at the helipad near the official residence of the Belait District Officer and was greeted upon arrival by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan; Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Dewa Pahlawan Dato Paduka Awg Hj Dani; Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Home Affairs; and Belait District Officer Awg Hj Mohammad bin Hj Abd Rahman.
Accompanying His Majesty to the annual get-together with the rakyat was His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Abdul Malik and HRH Prince Abdul Mateen.
Upon arrival at the royal dais, His Majesty was greeted with the National Anthem and later, three hearty cheers of 'Daulat Kebawah Duli Tuan Patik'. This was then followed by a speech delivered by the Belait District officer Awang Haji Mohammad.
The Belait District Officer in the welcoming address said His Majesty's visit to Belait District is a memorable day and a valuable opportunity anticipated by all citizens and population of various groups in the district.
The District Officer on behalf of the citizens, residents and government servants in the district, pledged undivided loyalty to His Majesty and will continue standing firm and united under the monarch's wise leadership in the governing of the country.
He noted that under His Majesty's wise rule, the district's population and residents are blessed with a higher standard of living by benefiting through various forms of development, progress and facilities in the everyday aspects of life provided by His Majesty's government
The Belait population felt the elation of development with the recent commencement of the Brunei Methanol Company (BMC) project on February 11 this year, which is one of the mega projects in the Sungai Liang Industrial Park (SPARK) which will certainly benefit the community in terms of job opportunities, businesses, services and other downstream economic activities and spill-over.
Apart from that, in advancing community care through the private-public partnership concept, public sector involvement is gradually increasing whereby awareness to fulfil social responsibility is more comprehensible and practised among the private sector.
And the prime examples are BSP, BLNG and several other private companies which annually allocate funds for community development, whereby and soon the Seria community will benefit from the Insani Centre which is a community complex driven by BSP, the District Officer noted.
This year, to enliven the ruler's birthday celebration, about 3,000 people comprising students and all layers of 'rakyat' and communities took part in the field performance carrying the theme "Sejambak Doa Memberiga Kasih" based on a religious concept, the District Officer concluded.
Despite a drizzle after the field performance, about 30,000 enthusiastic well-wishers faithfully waited along the tents in the spirit of the celebration to deliver their birthday greetings to the monarch.
His Majesty and the royal entourage mingled with the rakyat which mainly consists of multi-cultural communities in the district, expatriates and tourists who used the rare opportunity to meet and greet the ruler in person.
His Majesty also consented to grace the Pusat Insani gallery exhibition at the vicinity of Padang Bandaran which showcased the proposed Seria community centre as part of the BSP community development project - with the cooperation from the relevant government departments in Belait District.
The Seria community centre will herald as the link that connects the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre, a proposed 24-lane bowling alley and Cineplex and Seria town itself.
The ruler and members of the royal family then joined government officers, community leaders and other invited guests for a luncheon and received "junjung ziarah" from Belait National Committee members for His Majesty's 62nd birthday celebration and invited guests, marking the end of the event.
His Majesty's attendance at the get-together ceremony in Belait yesterday marked the ruler's undivided attention, care and affection towards his people in the district.
And the Belait population proceeded to thank the monarch as they continue living in peace and prosperity in Brunei, considered as a welfare nation, and enjoy the steady infrastructure progress, facilities and benefits under the ruler's wise leadership.
Today, Brunei-Muara district is set to host the get-together and the population is geared to immerse themselves in the colour and splendour of the district's culture through the field performance.
- Borneo Bulletin
(20th July 2008)