Over 42,000 visit Istana
By Yusrin Junaidi, Malek Hashim and Syafiq Affendy

Over forty two thousand people took the opportunity of the first day of the Istana open house to greet His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam as well as other members of the Royal family.

A unique event which in its own right has become a culture during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations in the country, Istana Nurul Iman is open for three days for the people to greet the Royal family.

Yesterday's first day Hari Raya open house at the Istana recorded 19,336 visitors comprising different walks of life offering greetings to His Majesty.

Meanwhile in the afternoon session, 22,813 people were recorded totalling 42,149 visitors on the first day itself.

Present at the Istana Nurul Iman open house was HRH Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Prince 'Abdul Mateen and other members of the Royal family.

Meanwhile in a separate venue, female guests had the opportunity to greet Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar and HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

Among other members of the Royal family present were Her Royal Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah and HRH Princess Hjh Masna.

Last year's Istana open house saw more than 95,000 visitors thronging the Istana to meet and greet His Majesty and other members of the Royal family.

Tourists coming to the country during the three days normally take this opportunity to enter the grand Istana Nurul Iman to meet and convey greetings to His Majesty.

For many foreigners, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and presents them with another uniqueness to the Brunei monarchy and also culture of the country.

The Istana Nurul Iman will be holding its Hari Raya Open House until Sunday, October 5. - Borneo Bulletin (4th Oct 2008)